As I take off on my early morning walk, the taxi motorcycle man -- Nyugen -- zoooms by me, intent on picking up his next customer. Across the little soi (street), my neighbor-vendor pours oil into a frying pan and soon the aroma of chicken frying in sizzling oil fills the air. I walk past the little vegetable store where the old man is getting lettuce, cilantro, and other such veggies prepared for the day. I notice the fruit lady's shop is closed and gated, a sure sign she's away for the week. Just before I reach the 5-story apartment building, I see two ladies squatting on the ground, having just given to the monk his morning offering.
Reaching the bridge that crosses over the khlong, I hear the chanting of the monk and see three people kneeling with bowed heads. The wheels of the monk's cart clatter on the pavement as his helper dutifully receives the food offerings. I pass by, always aware that the spiritual battle is never far away. I get to the gate that leads into the subdivision and smile as the four guards say "Sawadekap" in swift unison.
The rain storm from the night before brought down many branches and flower blooms. Three stray dogs roam around, the one with a limp casting me a wary eye. I steadily walk past the largest house in the subdivision, wondering anew when the pile of bricks is going to be cleaned up. The sound of a car breaks through these thoughts and a business lady on a bike quickly passes by. All along the way I hear the buzzing of insects and the chirping of birds. A cat cries out with a mournful cry while a pack of stray dogs snarl at one another.
As I approach a bend in the road, I glance to my right and see a beautiful house situated on a well-kept lawn. The carport is filled with expensive cars and the security gate stands ever watchful of intruders. The guard dog must be used to me, for he only growls rather than barking. I chuckle to myself as a I see a rooster strut across the manicured lawn. The rooster crows, albeit a little late for the sun has been up for some time and the soi has been abuzz with flurried activity.
I return home to my blue house on the soi and realize once again I'm grateful to the Lord for placing me in Thailand...