FINDING BUDDHA, GETTING LOST
One day I really went exploring. I went down a road I noticed running home from the zoo. Ten minutes into the run, I stumbled upon this Buddha statue. I took some photos (with my iPod, which is why the pictures all these picture are so crummy) and as I made my way onward, I realized this was the backside of a temple my cousin had taken me to. I’d just never seen the Buddha statue.
Now I had a vague idea of where I was. I made my way around a small pond and lo and behold it’s the same pond we’ve been getting water for the farm from! Now I had a much better idea where I was, but that would change soon enough.
I found some really awesome trails made not by runners, but people walking and riding motorbikes. (They ride those things EVERYWHERE.) The trail just seemed to keep going, and even better, it was uphill. Wherever the trail split off, I tried my damnedest to remember where I’d went. I encountered a few people foraging for food, and one guy with a really long, skinny rifle. I think he was hunting birds.
After following the trails for at least an hour, my water supply told me it would be wise to head back home. Attempting to make my way back out, I got myself all turned around and lost. I tried to conjure up some hunter tracking skills looking for my footprints, but couldn’t conjure any results.
I remembered the find-your-way-back GPS function on my Garmin. I had no idea how to use it, but I sort of figured it out. However, I think it just tells you how to backtrack, without regard for where you are in relation to the start/finish, and there was no way I was going to re-run the entire distance. So it may have been more dumb luck than anything, but I did somehow get un-lost.
I was pretty stoked about discovering these trails, and even more stoked about finding my way back home. When I unpacked my Camelback, I saw it was one pull away from completely empty.
THE LONGEST RUN AND GETTING LOST AGAIN
My longest run was 12.3 miles, but it was an awesome 12.3.
I started down another road I’d passed by several times. Going down the dirt road, it came to a T. I went left and saw a trail leading into the woods. After a few minutes, I came upon a pond I’d never seen before. I sat down on the bank. There were some other people there: two kids playing in the water and some guys hanging out on their motorbikes, smoking- which would seem to be the national past time for Thai men.
I sat and relaxed for a spell, watching the kids have fun splashing around in the water. I would love to come back and take a dip here. I’m sure the neighborhood kids would too. I knew I was relatively close to the house, so I was surprised no one had ever taken me here or even told me about it. Are ponds are boring?
Not wanting to get too relaxed, I took off looking for the road the smoking motorbike guys rode in on. Once I found it, I followed it. It ran along side the boundary fence of the zoo. Then into more farming territory. I passed a small hut which appeared to be abandoned.
Up the road, a dog barked and started toward me. Luckily it’s owner, a guy I recognized from the neighborhood, appeared and called the dog off. I thanked him and continued on. I came to a point where I wasn’t sure where to run. I noticed some footprints in the sand [my delayed hunter tracker skills!] and decided to follow them. They took me by a tree farm and then I took a short exploratory detour into the trees. My anal retentive nature loved the orderliness of the trees in rows and had to document it. It’s nowhere near as cool as the real thing.
Again following the footprints, the farmland gave way to a road which offered a small dose of relief. I thought I knew the road, but decided I didn’t. I could flag someone down and ask for directions or a ride if I needed to. Unsure which way to go, I spotted a temple in the distance and decided to go check it out. I saw a truck in the distance heading toward me; I thought it was my Uncle. I kept running, waiting for the truck to pass me, expecting to hear a honk any moment.
The truck passed, it wasn’t my Uncle.
I wasn’t in the mood, so I didn’t enter the temple, as I figured taking a few photos was enough excitement. I’ve come to realize these small temples are pretty common, so no big deal. I continued on, and heard prayer chanting coming from… somewhere. I stopped and listened, trying to determine the source. I thought it might be a function related to the temple.
It would be cool to witness whatever ritual was going on. I headed down the street and entered a residential area. I heard the prayer chant growing louder and louder and then I found it – coming from a loudspeaker. It was a recording.
Slightly amused, I continued through the neighborhood. The garbage was being collected. They still did it the old fashioned way, the poor saps have to pick up each bin by hand. Those guys must be pretty strong. That has got to be a hell of a workout. Hmmm….
Along the way, I did a little garbage collecting of my own. I make collaged postcards using “trash”or “litter,” however you call it. I told my running group that I would send one to whoever wanted one. ( I made about 10 for the group. ) As I ran through the neighborhood, I found some interesting wrappers and assorted trash. I stuffed them into my Camelback. With limited space, I had to be choosy about what trash to pickup. (How ridiculous does that sound?!)
I ran by some people in the neighborhood, and they all gave me that WTF look. I passed one guy and he just smiled. Then there were two seriously pissed off dogs. I turned around and started walking the other way. The guy I’d just passed had also turned around and was walking back toward me; they were his dogs. I guess he knew the dogs wouldn’t like me.
I tried my best to ask him how to get to Moo 9 (our neighborhood). He hollered at some lady laying in a hammock, I assume he was asking her where Moo 9 was. She said something and then he said something to me. I didn’t understand either of them but then he pointed. The pointing was enough for me. That and corraling his dogs. Off I went, with only the vaguest notion of where I was going.
I turned the corner and saw train tracks. The tracks were a welcome sight because they would lead me to the train station, which is very close to the house… If I just knew which direction the train station was. I had a 50/50 chance of guessing right. I immediately gave up on the tracks and just ran. I ran under a small bridge and was back in a another residential area.
Things were seeming pretty hopeless, until I came to this sign. I’d never been so happy to see a road sign. I still didn’t know where I was, but this was concrete proof I was headed in the right direction. I kept running and eventually figured out where I was. I was flooded with relief once I knew exactly where I was. And i was absolutely thrilled about getting lost, and finding my way.
Tired, sweaty, and hungry, I stopped by one of the roadside restaurants near the house. I had eaten there yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. I told the lady that I would be back for more. She was happy to see me, and quite amused by my running get-up, and the fact that I had just been running. I mean, who does that? I know that’s what she was thinking.
The food was, whether by virtue of hunger or otherwise, absolutely marvelous. Soup never tasted so good. I almost ordered a second bowl, but didn’t have enough cash on me. I walked the rest of the way home, content with another awesome run.