Even the most uneducated will have heard or seen images of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but what you will not know is that there is also the leaning hut of Kanchanaburi, in Thailand, which is my current home, and hangs precariously over the Kwai River because the termites have swallowed their wooden supports. Luckily, the rest of the structure is made of bamboo, a kind of cane that those insects can’t use.
Such a situation means, apart from the fact that the door is unlocked, that I am forced to move through it with care so as not to end up on the floors with the feeling of being placed (on occasions when this is not the case…). Fortunately the bed has been levelled in the opposite direction, otherwise it would be uncomfortable to sleep; however, the impression it gives is that of being inclined in the other direction.
I will complete the description of such an unusual residence by adding that what I see through its three windows is a marvel in which green prevails: the branches of the trees and palms that protect the cabin from the torrid tropical sun, the placid and clean riverbed that looks like a lake, the blossoming lotuses and meadows on the opposite shore.
So that nothing lacks so much perfection, the air is pure and silence almost absolute (especially at night). Oh, yes, I know that the regular readers of these chronicles will know by heart such a description, since I drop by Kanchanaburi almost every year, but it was essential to make it for newcomers.
In the last chronicle I mentioned that I was sixty-eight that day (the previous birthday I celebrated in North Vietnam, and the family I lived with then prepared a banquet of fried larvae, which were delicious) and now, answering a reader’s question about my health, I will add that my old body is still working quite well, that I have no pain or discomfort, that I do not even remember the last time I was sick or visited a doctor, and that, as I told the Nairobi airport health officials in March, I do not take any drugs or even aspirin.
Neither as an industrial bakery or drink soft drinks or any of those packaged crap that you like so much. Well, actually my diet is limited to two meals a day consisting especially of cereals and vegetables. It’s easy to educate the one I call the stomach of pleasure and, after getting it, a glass of water will taste just like the best wine: I eat a fried rice or the typical, complete and cheap Thai soup that includes everything imaginable.
It is the healthy and simple life in which my body requires me to walk and follow natural schedules. All this, of course, only makes sense if you also live in a healthy environment and not in a noisy and polluted metropolis.
I’m sorry to say that I was glad to learn that human beings (not so Martians like me) are ingesting plastic continuously, because after seeing how you insensibly fucked nature and animals with that product, I think you deserve to pay for it: karma (or as they say in Catalonia: “tal faràs, tal trobaràs”). I suppose now, by suffering it personally, you’re going to fucking raise your awareness.
And the same could be said about the uncontrolled use of antibiotics that stuff the meat of the cattle you eat, industrial fishing that will kill the seas, and intensive farming pesticides that will turn your world into a desert.
You’ll see how suddenly you all change your jackets. But you will not do so advised by conscience, but by fear: “I am innocent, I was always an ecologist! I’m going to say it once and for all: your world seems pathetic to me. You have put yourselves in the hands of merchants like Trump and mafiosi like Putin, for whom only personal economic benefits count. And all this happens at the same time as you throw away the food, consume without brakes (clothes, unnecessary games, cosmetics and drugs: “Look at me doctor, I’m sick!”), and take the car to go to the corner shop (which the Thais park leaving the engine running to keep the A/C running).
Your evil is called greed and irresponsibility: I want more and more, and I want it now. Uy, uy, uy, but what a critic I got up today. Let’s just drop it.
FAUNOPOLIS. Uncle Nando to the rescue: on returning yesterday evening after taking a walk in a lagoon behind the train tracks, I crossed the Chinese cemetery and saw a skunk dog, to whom some fiend had tied a string around his neck and chest forming a kind of vest, which would end up causing him a painful agony.
Although I went on my way because in that place live some packs of feral dogs that can sometimes be dangerous, later I reproached myself for my cowardice and returned on my steps. Then I ducked, called him and got the poor dog to come over. I ended his mistrust by presenting myself properly, that is, by letting him smell my hand, and after caressing him I found that the string was synthetic and was consciously knotted (or lacked).
The intelligent mutt guessed that I was trying to help him and waited patiently while I tried uselessly to undo the various knots with which they had tied the damn cord. Suddenly I noticed from the corner of my eye that we were no longer alone, as we were surrounded by a dozen dogs that had been coming out of the tombs and were interested in what I was doing.
After a while I gave up fighting against the knots, thinking about returning the next day with my Opinel knife, until it occurred to me that I could try to pull it out through his head as if it was a shirt. Although that part would be more risky because I would have to bend his front legs and stick them to his body and I didn’t know if his confidence in me would be so great. Would he bite me and the rest of the pack would come over me? No, no, no, no, no. The sympathetic dog endured the unspeakable and at last I was able to remove the string, a ceremony I completed with a massage despite the dirty that was and smelled like a thousand demons. It feels good to do the right thing, doesn’t it?
Last year I told you that at the Thungyai Sanctuary near Kanchanaburi a Thai billionaire named Prenchai Karnasuta had been arrested when he was cooking a stew with the meat of a strange black panther he had hunted. The sentence for killing a protected animal inside a sanctuary was sixteen months in prison (I think little), and has now been increased by another year for trying to bribe Forest Service guards.
Endangered: Great Indian Bustard (GIB) is the name of a bird emblematic of India that reaches eighteen kilos and lives in the western part of the country. Of it, there are currently only about one hundred and fifty copies left (in 2011 there were two hundred and fifty). They are found mainly in the Thar Desert of Rajasthan, and their worst enemies with the high-tension cables and windmills of the electric companies.
Unusual: also in India, and in the Jim Corbett National Park of Uttarakhand, during the last five years thirteen elephants have died “in the hands” of the tigers, while none of those cute kittens has been killed by the elephants.
A domestic elephant without a cornac is like a bus without brakes or a driver. Every time I see a cornaca in Chitwan that doesn’t have a stick in his hand, I also see a happy elephant. As Chitwán lies along the Indian border, the Forest Service of both countries form mixed patrols and collaborate by chasing poachers who would otherwise cross from one side to the other, leaving them with a handful of noses.
LOOK WHAT I THINK.
The failed trip to Uzbekistan that I told you about in the previous chronicle, would have been one of the few I had planned properly: knowing the places I would go to, and even the train schedules, thanks to the information given to me by Mr. Lobo, who, after learning why everything had remained in nothing, told me that he too had been bitter with different “burrocratic” donkeys as if, instead of wanting to promote tourism, they wanted to avoid it.Ego is childish, desire, youthful, courageous, adult, and knowledge and understanding belong to old age as they come from the hand of experience. What if the grief lasted eternally?
And that’s all for today, my dear papanatas. Bom Bom.
The Cosmic Chronicle, by Nando Baba