2014 | The Retrospective

Koh Samui sunrise
Koh Samui sunrise, 4th December 2014

 

This year, in no particular order:

  • I wrote a few pieces I was happy with.
  • I learnt how to swim.
  • Our family lost two patriarchs. The spaces they’ve left behind are canyons.
  • I was pregnant for a little while. I was sad about losing the person I could have become but thankful that hope survives.
  • I graduated with an MA in Creative Writing from Rhodes University.
  • A short story I wrote won the 2014 Writivism award in Uganda.
  • I’m beginning to feel a bit like I know what I’m doing.
  • We traveled (and are still travelling) through Southeast Asia. Here be the instagrams.
  • I have seen some really beautiful things.
  • There were two months out of this year where I kind of just plodded along.
  • I dyed my hair a shade of blond.
  • I lost weight and picked it all up again during those two months of non-presence. But I’m okay with that. Health is still the end goal.
  • I sold the car I’ve been driving ever since I got my license.
  • I am better at accepting criticism.
  • I have found the book I want to write.

The Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Mostly frequented by vistors on day-tour packages, the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market is blighted by a proliferation of tourist tack and dust-catchers.

Despite it not being the authentic experience one hankers for as a traveller (and really, what can remain authentic when every single sightseer wants off the beaten path?), there still are beautiful moments floating along the canals.

IMG_2443

IMG_2441

IMG_2431

A scene that stays with me is the one where a Buddhist monk paddles through the market, collecting food alms from the stall-owners. He stops at a stall where a woman and her little boy kneel with folded palms while the monk makes a blessing. It is a tender instance of pure faith suspending the banal bargaining for magnets and elephant-shaped keyrings.

There were so many other pictures to be made but I forgot to pack a spare battery for my camera. I shot the following images with my phone.

2014-11-29-10.16.26

2014-11-29-10.17.10

2014-11-29-10.17.26

Sawatdee kha Bangkok

Walk along an artery like Sukhumvit Road; the Skytrain omnipresent above your head, the buildings striking up and down  like piano hammers. Ignore the city’s supra-urban excesses, its love for sale, its hovering haze. Look for its ghost houses, the intricacies of its worship, the sensitivity of its wai, its beguilingly balanced cuisine. And it will not be the city imposing its will upon you, but you soaking up its humid vitality until even your hair coils into springs.

IMG_2565

IMG_2564

IMG_2559

IMG_2557

IMG_2484

IMG_2464

IMG_2561

IMG_2455

Jumuah in Bangkok
Jumuah in Bangkok

IMG_2393

Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Chatuchak Weekend Market
Jim Thompson House
Traditional silk extraction demo at the Jim Thompson House
Jim Thompson House
Raw silk at the Jim Thompson House

IMG_2115

IMG_2121

IMG_2128

The Grand Palace and Wat Pho

IMG_2140
A school excursion to The Grand Palace

IMG_2144

IMG_2146

IMG_2154

IMG_2160

IMG_2161

IMG_2163

IMG_2175

IMG_2210

IMG_2197

IMG_2202

IMG_2207

IMG_2230

IMG_2224

IMG_2216

IMG_2215

IMG_2237

IMG_2248

IMG_2252

IMG_2255

IMG_2260

IMG_2263

IMG_2269

IMG_2282

IMG_2298

IMG_2334

IMG_2357

IMG_2315

IMG_2316

IMG_2317

IMG_2326