A Rainbow Zebra Begins The Year

 Thursday, January 01, 2015 @ 19:26 

I am writing this in the last hours before the second day of the new year. I feel as though I am being chased by a deadline, despite officially being on holiday. This is most likely because I have had to take some time in the past week to check my work e-mail. I also purchased this domain a few months ago and haven’t had (or tried to make) time to write anything for it (let alone my private blog/journal). Too unfocused. Too “busy”. I have been meaning to maintain this website alongside my day job, something to keep my creative fire alive.

A thought kept scraping my insides at the end of December: if I do not do something for it today, then when will I ever?

I wrote all of this on the way to a new place. The white glow diffused by the mobile device I used to write on, was almost blinding against the darkness, as the van sped northward from Bangkok towards our destination: Chiang Mai. Apart from the intermittent presence of the street lamps and car lights, everything else was cloaked in an opaque grey-blue. The eyes could barely see anything, but the mind (lazily) wanted to describe it as beautiful anyway. Some of our travel companions had fallen asleep, and anyone awake was glued to their own virtual trap. Thankfully, despite the driver’s silence, you could feel an alertness in the way he maneuvered the van on the bumpy road. This seemed to pacify us into two different states—either in silent contemplation, or deep slumber.

Earlier in the evening we made a brief stop at a city called Diamond Wall and had a light supper, which for me, was Thai-style wanton noodles and corn milk (yes, corn milk—there’s a first time for everything.) Then my partner and I decided to walk toward the 7-11 to find some chewing gum. Immediately distracted by the newness of the variety available, I overlooked a stray dog curled up on the floor near the magazine stand. It would have taken my visually-impaired self much longer to spot him there, but my perfect-sighted and equally dog-obsessed partner called my attention to it.

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The stray was, sadly, shooed out of the store before we reached the cash register. I followed him outside and observed that despite being expelled from the premises, it was vigilant and rooted itself just outside the entrance, waiting for a chance to sneak back in.

This road trip officially began in Bangkok, where I felt the truth behind the oft-remarked kindness of Thai people come to life, and tattooed itself to my memory. My partner, Nikolas and I traveled here to spend New Year’s Eve with our friends, Picha and Thom and for a reprieve from the stresses of life in a city like Singapore. We spent our New Year’s Eve with our friends at a quaintly-themed restaurant ‘town’ called Chocolate Ville. Kitschy, yet charming, after our festivities, we agreed it was a perfect close to the year. We enjoyed a feast of Thai and ‘western’ cuisine, toasted to each others health and happiness for 2015 and even caught a fireworks display (Picha didn’t think they would organise anything special at Chocolate Ville, so despite the expected feature to most NYE celebrations—it was a surprise to us).

After all that fun I could not help but add to the festivities by purchasing a helium-filled balloon. I had originally requested for a cartoony white pegasus, which I had seen floating about in the venue, but as you know things get lost in translation and I ended up with a stoned-looking smiling rainbow zebra instead. It was with us throughout our meal and I brought it along on our cab ride back to our hotel. It spent the night hovering above our heads as the booze sloshed in our system and knocked us out for the last time in 2014.

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This afternoon (on New Year’s day) after some breakfast, we packed for a late check out and I tied the zebra to a loop on my backpack. We made our way to the hotel lobby and when I realized I had not tied it securely to my bag, I held on to it as we stepped off the elevator. I had a difficult time wheeling my suitcase and holding to the balloon. Then, my grip suddenly loosened, and within seconds, the zebra found itself pressed against the high ceilings of the hotel lobby with me gaping after it in horror. A doorman had seen what happened and having witnessed my ashen face, assured me, in broken English, that he would try to help.

Zebra got stuck

The business of checking out was a quick one, so we had time to order a latte as we waited for my zebra to be rescued and also for Picha to pick us up for our road trip. Nikolas and I continued to stare at the ceiling, in awe of my carelessness and grabbed at the photographic opportunity (as did some of the guests hanging around the lobby). Many minutes passed and I was ready to abandon Rainbow Zeb and leave him till he deflated. I could not imagine how anyone could help bring him down. I assumed the staff would forget or simply choose to ignore my distress. Note: anyone who is short will know this but being small allows me to stay in an incubated state of “cute”, but at twenty-six, I was certain I had finally run out of luck. After what felt like thirty minutes, though it could not have been more than five or ten, four men emerged from a hidden door in the wall with PVC pipes and some tape. They stuck the two very long pipes together and wrapped sticky tape at its very end.

Part 1 of The Rescue

One man then climbed on the luggage trolly as two held it steady on either side. The other two supervised and provided instructions. It was both comical and inexplicably heartwarming how this relatively large group of men (a total of seven, towards the end three more men came out with a tall ladder) had taken the task of retrieving my balloon so seriously. And yet, they did.

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I am still in awe that this actually happened, and it reminded me that all it takes is one person with a moral compass and steady conviction to gather a group to work together to do this kind albeit small thing for a stranger and her weird-looking balloon. Or maybe, reality is, it was a fancy hotel with high standards and they wanted my ugly balloon out of there.

Travels
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7 reactions to “A Rainbow Zebra Begins The Year

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  1. Emmers says:

    All your hours of hard work paid off! (Or did they? If this comment didn’t appear then I’m not sure….)

  2. Niki says:

    Mew Mew Mew

  3. Rj says:

    Rainbow zebra

  4. Cat says:

    I am testing this shiet.



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