97. The Long Awaited Return

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It’s not to say that we are not thoroughly grateful to all those who have hosted us, but we are feeling restless and through with WWOOFing… For the moment. One lesson I will take with me from this travel, is that no matter how exciting and exotic something seems from your mundane spot in the sofa, back in what, at the time, feels like a standstill in your life, there comes a time when travel begins to feel like routine. Where you no longer feel the need to explore and immerse yourself in the local culture. The past week has been… how do I put this? Strangely existential – maybe you can even say it was an out of body experience. It was boredom at its most powerful, intense and unrelenting self. It was the feeling uselessness and incompetence. Had it something to do with our generations almost inherent need for the world wide web? I wouldn’t put it past us.

With our host gone to Bangkok, and the three of us left to our own devices along with the parents, we had no way of knowing, well, anything. I would be pressed to say that I knew where we were on a map – you know, for my own good sanity. But that would have been a lie. In our minds we were in the middle of nowhere . The fact that there was a Tesco less than 20 minutes away, was unknown to us. So there we lay, under the mosquito net, atop a worn down mat on the hard, wood floor. Boredom had surpassed the point of restlessness and reached a stage of complacence and resignation. Our minds were wandering through the dusty streets of Maputo, humming as we cut open a ripe avocado in the privacy of our own kitchen, and yet they were as blank as the unblemished skin of our tummies and upper thighs – we now suffer from serious farmer tans.

Louise says to me: I have forgotten how to think.

I laugh hysterically at the slightest inkling of mental stimulation and return to my third book.

By this time our lives existed only in the future tense. We became engineers, we created a product line of organic fruit curd with various fitting spices and aromas, we planned and initiated a photo exhibition in Lind. Am I being melodramatic yet? Well, you try being confined to a two meter squared piece of floor for six days. It only deserves a little bit of melodramatic description.

Our host, Rae, arrives home a day later than expected, and things get a little more interesting. After lunch we finally get beyond the border of the little dirt road. Rae drives us to a permaculture meeting. Here we actually recognise people from the Thai Permaculture Convergence… 6 weeks and we have a little network in Thailand! What a sense of community there is among these passionate people. As Rae is in his meeting, we wander around the area, which is something of a little forest with fruit trees, snakes and children running about. Rae manages to really fatten us up on this day, with all kinds of Thai snacks and goodies. We eat something, which can only be described as spiky candyfloss wrapped in a green (pandan) pancake. Naturally, these little pieces of heaven are shared with the resident cats and greedy dog.

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The finished result of our master brick building

With our stomachs full we finally get a chance to learn how to make Rae’s all natural, organic and handmade soap – which is soon to begin its trip to little Denmark! We learnt how simple it is to produce your own liquid soap from any choice of oils – a knowledge, which will certainly be put to use at home. However easy the process is, it is also long and tedious. I learnt this first hand. With the oil, water and potassium hydroxide placed on a hotplate, Rae looks up at the three of us – who stand, sweaty and sticky, in a ring around him, intrigued by the process. He asks which of us would like to do the mixing. When there is no answer and a somewhat awkward silence filled the room, so I piped up. The next hour was spent sitting on the floor stirring a bowl of oil and watching as nothing happened. Nothing changed. Meanwhile, the other two were in the kitchen helping Rae with the food. Ironic how Louise was the one who was so excited about the soap and I about the food.

The next day was spent waiting. We were set to leave for Bangkok on at 12 pm. But, as I expected, we were not in the car until one. From there we had to go get lunch, which was a sweat-inducing experience. By three we were on our way to Bangkok, which of course took its sweet time because of the new years traffic. Today will be spent with Louise getting a massage, and spending our remaining Thai Baht on mango sticky rice and other necessities.

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//Niamh

 

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