No, I didn't go to Africa or India, where one could argue life is at its rawest, but I saw some shit. Walking around Thailand and Indonesia with my eyes peeled back definitely turned the knife in my heart a couple times over. It's easy to be complacent and feel that life has been unfair to you from behind your shiny new iSomething, but when you hear that roughly 1/6th of the World lives in poverty and has nothing, I really mean nothing.
On the streets of Bangkok and along the river you will find people who hope to sell pretty much anything they can find. Tattered stuffed animals, tarnished useless gadgets and all the flashy tourist tricks that will get anyone's attention for a few seconds. Floating along the murky and heavily polluted Chao Phraya, I found myself wondering what it would be like to fall in. Like what if this old falling-apart-rickety-ass boat flipped over and we all had to scramble to the side and find a way out of the deep, dark, catfish-infested-industrial waste-water. One of them did jump up and splash me a little in the face, I might add. Yum! Maybe a bit graphic? Yeah...
I came across river huts, figuring some had long been abandoned. Rotting and slowly sinking into the stagnant bog, surely nobody could live there. But as I kept looking, I saw a thin man laying on the old rotting termite infested floor, at the mercy of this world.
Scorpions on a stick, photogenic maggots for hire, only 10 baht. Flashy lasers, big Buddhas, small Buddhas, outdated movie posters, tailored suits, a plethora of cheap jewelry, knick knacks and satay... everywhere. You're in Asia, everything's for sale and everything's cheap. Grab a tuk tuk and away you go, grasping at life, holding on to filthy metal bars as you whip around through the gritty streets of Bangkok hoping to feel, something... different.
A man with no limbs with nothing but a basket crawling, stomach face down on the road. Giant pot-holes big enough to fall into, where little boys work construction alongside their dad and flea-ridden, mange covered dogs rule the road.
But somehow, it's comforting to live a little deeper and sink into a culture that is literally nothing like your own. To know that none of us have it figured out and that no matter which way you slice it, everything ebbs, everything flows. We're here, just trying to sort through this thing we call life. All we can do is our best and act with love and find tolerance for one another and of course, soak it all in. The good, the bad and the ugly.