Archive | August, 2011

Across the Alley

31 Aug

As I woke this morning, I was greeted by the words of Robert M. Pirsig. A venture on, through a chautauqua of words and ideas.

Before I go on with my day though, I must recap on my Tuesday Journey.

As midday came, I arrived to school to meet with my fellow housemates. A talk that we all dreaded went much more smoothly than any expected.

Sven, Kevin, and I decided it was time to get some laundry done. After buying some detergent, we all grabbed our whites and ventured into the streets to find a washing machine.
After a long search we found a nice big machine near a the local Mui Thai boxing ring. Only 40 Baht for all of us.
As our clothes washed we walked in and out of the alleyways, finding food to buy and people to meet.
After speaking with the trainer at the Mui Thai ring, I think we may be finding ourselves in the ring by the end of the year.

The washing came to an end, and we headed back to our place to figure out how to dry the clothes.

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It proved to be quite simple.

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White clothing could be found all around the 1208 residence.

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We all were exhausted after a long day outside.

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Soon after I snapped the shot, I found myself being woken up by Kevin with shouts of dinner in the air.
We all ended up falling asleep in all corners of the apartment.

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Food is always one of our favorite parts of the day.

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We find ourselves eating at the “corner restaurant” at least once a day. I no longer need to tell them my special meal requests. We are simply greeted by Wais, and smiles now.

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The restaurant owner and cook can’t help but join us. Always happy and excited to see us, he tells us of where he comes from and what we should see.

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After dinner fruit is always a tasty option.

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With the help of Kevin, we have now developed the 5 Baht rule.
If something is 5 Baht, we try it. No matter what.

After a quick walk to digest our food we found ourselves across the street at the “Coco Walk”. Exchange students gather to finish up the day with drinks, pool, and laughs.

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Kevin glances up to the angelic figure above him.

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As I was snapping photos I was stopped by my Michael with some friends visiting from France.
As he told me how much he enjoyed my blog he had only one compliant. He never found any pictures of himself.
I couldn’t let him stay unsatisfied.

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It was one of my favorite shots of the night.

I then headed to the pool tables to play a game or two with my neighbor Axle.

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As time went by I lost my spot on the table.

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I took the time to just kick back, take some pictures and enjoy the night.
Sometimes the best things are right in front of you. Just across the street, or down the block. You never really know.

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I wake now with anticipation.

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Where is the Wat?

31 Aug

It is 1:20 AM and I just walked through the door.

A busy day with Kevin and Sven has got me exhausted.
Aching legs, a sore body, and a weak stomach.
Just lying around for a couple of days had gotten me in bad shape.

Yesterday was a day full of adventures. (Well not “yesterday” now, but the day before yesterday)

Both Sven and I decided that the concrete walls needed to be broken.

After I came back from my wonderful breakfast, we headed to the water taxi to see some of the beautiful temples Thailand has to offer.

As we exited the river. We were greeted by a very friendly Thai man. He insisted that we take a Tuk Tuk for “VERY CHEAP” and see all of the temples in the area.
Something I had heard was too often, but the sweet talk got Sven. He had never rode in a Tuk Tuk before, and I was up for an adventure so we decided to try it out.

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He insisted on taking us suite shopping. As we both said no, we really had no choice.
Fortunately they don’t call me the Caveman for no reason.
I looked at the tailor, and politely said, “Do I look like someone who would need a suite”. Right away he realized he was speaking to the wrong crowd and let us on our way.

Our driver on the other hand was not too happy.
We ended up just giving him 20 Baht, and sending him on his way.

We ended up here.

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Not too bad of a place to end up.

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Spending time in a place as serene as this was quite amazing. Could not ask for more.

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We attempted to go into the next temple as well. Unfortunately we wasted too much time riding around in a Tuk Tuk. It was closed.

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We spent the rest of our time just walking around the area. Seeing new sights. Experiencing new things.

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Who would have known that there could be so many beautiful buildings all within a block of each other.

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Sven like I had no real agenda. We walked and walked, excited to be in a new and different area.
Traffic was everywhere.

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As the night approached we both became hungry. Tired of Thai food we headed to the mall for something a little different.

We settle on a Japanese burger place.

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A croquet burger and fries. By far one of the most original burgers I have experienced.

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Yesterday, ( Monday, now two days ago) was quite the journey.

Great breakfast in the morning, and a grand tour of Temples in the afternoon.
The times are a changing.

Breakfast in Paradise

29 Aug

As I woke up this morning I felt a sudden hunger. Not only for food, but for a desire to experience something new.

Tired of eating at the same places, and seeing the same people. Eating noodles or rice every morning has taken its toll on me.

With the help of the internet, I found a place that was supposed to have extraordinary breakfast.

As I looked at the clock, I realized making a trip for breakfast would be cutting it close for a 1 pm class, but it was doable.
I performed my usual morning routine.

Opened the  laptop, checked my email and just like that everything changed. Class was cancelled! It was time for go on a journey!

I showered, packed up, and was out the door.

As I walked towards where the restaurant (Crepes & Co.) was located, I was a bit confused.  It seemed just like any normal alley. Tons of street vendors, taxis, all the usual. Nothing out of the blue.

Well other than this sign.

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Soon after I was greeted by a sight that was exactly what I needed.

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Through the trees was where I was to be enjoying a beautiful morning.

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A pot of tea was a must. Moroccan Mint in the morning does the body good.

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While contemplating what to get for breakfast, I couldn’t help but be attracted to the Veggie Pat Crepe. It was exactly the thing I was craving.

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As it came out I was even more satisfied with my order. Golden brown crepe, with spinach, cheese, tomatoes, onions, and a medley of spices . Perfection.

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It was soon consumed and my body craved sweets.

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An explosion of flavors as Pineapple, Guava, Apple, and other tropical fruits hit my taste buds with every bite.

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The ambiance was nothing less than perfect.

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It’s funny how technology blinds us.

Towards the end of my meal, a new couple came and sat near me. Instead of enjoying the beautiful scenery or even the company of one another, they were consumed by technology.
His first question to the waiter was about the Wifi access, and stayed glued to the screen for the whole meal.
No words to his significant other. No glances up at the beauty in front of him. Just the world wide web, and his iPad.

A lack of technology allows me to observe things like this.
Over 3 weeks in Bangkok and still no cell phone. I love it.

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After a couple of hours of eating, reading, writing, and observing, I decided to keep on my journey.
As I walked out to the street, I found a van that caught my eye. I think many of the girls I know back at home would enjoy it.

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After a walk around the area, I headed back home. The BTS “skytrain” was my mode of transport.

As I got off at my station I saw a familiar face pass me. At first I couldn’t pin point who exactly he was.
Then it hit me. A professor at Chula University! Right as I approached, and began to proceed to greet him I realized he was the very same professor that had cancelled class today because he was sick!

He seemed to be fine to me, but who knows. I had to snap a paparazzi shot.

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I came to realize this morning, that beauty is right in front of us all.
Just down the alley, or around the next corner. You will never know until you look.
Don’t let technology blind you and make you believe that beauty is in the “cloud”

Behind Glass

28 Aug

It is a sunny Sunday afternoon, yet unfortunately I can only experience the outside world from behind a looking-glass.

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In fear of putting my immune system in any more danger, I stay in and rest.

I am still sorting through the pictures I had taken over the last couple of days.

The Business program at Chulalongkorn University held a special Welcome Party, for all of the exchange students.
We all gathered together and enjoyed learning a bit more about each others’ cultures.

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The tables were separated by country/region. Of course I found myself sitting beside the American girls.

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The Dutch thought the napkins were hats.

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Germans and Dutch.

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Canada.

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Our Brazilian brother.

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Australia.

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Our Japanese friends were looking sharp.

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Once again I can’t help but get a shot of her gorgeous eyes.

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It was by far the largest portions we had received since landing into Thailand.
The Americans defiantly took advantage of it.

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A food baby developed in almost all of our stomachs.

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We learned a traditional Swedish Spring time dance, that had everyone up on their feet.

 

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The French awed us all with their amazing singing talents.

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The Aussies showed us what planking was all about.

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The Thai students all had quite the camera setups. I was no match for their great Bodies, Lenses, or even their flashes.

A great night with good friends and amazing food. What else could one ask for?

 

I will conclude the post with a quote from one of my favorite books.

“The past cannot remember the past. The future can’t generate the future. The cutting edge of this instant right here and now is always noting less than the totality of everything there is”

Ill.

27 Aug

My day has been quite uneventful.

No great stories on people I met, or any pictures from places I went.

I spent the whole day just in the house resting. Consuming lots of liquids, and staring in front of screens to keep myself occupied.

The only time I was in sunlight, was my treks out to get food.  Spicy and hot is what I’ve been ordering. To keep my sinuses cleared, and sweat out my illness.

As I sit here covered in sweat, I began to reminisce on the night before the sickness.

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Our new friend was quite sleepy throughout the night.

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Dance Party.

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All I heard Tyson saying was, “Oh my god…My grandma is going to see this”

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Awake

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Then sleep again.

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And then awake.

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I have no idea what he was doing.

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It was quite a night.
Lots of fun, but it may have led to my demise.

Hopefully I can get over this sickness in time for next week.

Night In

27 Aug

I lie in bed tonight. Room to myself. Building to myself.

My immune system has fallen to the crazy Thai weather.

Too tired to post anything of major substance.
The stormy weather has allowed me to capture sights of rare occurrence.

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Lightning struck, now its silent and dark.
Like to try to light a candle, but for that I’d need a spark.

25 Aug

As I walk through the door I am set into a conundrum of feelings. The beauty of life outside the door excites me. And pure disgust awaits me, as I realize that I fell victim to marketing of the golden arches last night.

A day full of surprises and thoughts. I find myself almost living at school on Wednesdays, as I have class from 9 and get home past 7pm.

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With my cavemanesk look, and having herbivore dietary restrictions has made me god friends with the cooks in Bangkok. I no longer need to tell them vegetarian, I simply walk up, and they know.

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Clear skies in Bangkok have been contributing to my overly moist clothing.

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A symbol, an icon, a revolutionary.

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As time goes by, you come to realize that your life is nothing more than the people you surround it with.

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Meet Sven. Our newest addition to the team. Brazilian born and raised, student from Germany, studying in Bangkok.

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As I went through the pictures from last night I couldn’t help but love them all.

Although it is quite a picture “heavy” post, I thought it made up for my couple days of absence.

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Surround yourself with people, and live everyday as if it were your last.

Life in a Uniform

23 Aug

I wake with pains I have known oh too well.

My stomach groans with every move. I think back to the night.

Could it have been altitudes too high for my stomach to comprehend both the alcoholic beverage, and the 360 degree view of Bangkok.
Could it have been the grotesquely overpriced 400 Baht Mai Tai, that my body is just now comprehending.
Possibly one of the six or so meals I consumed throughout my day.
Or maybe it was the cheap barley and lack of hops in the infamous Chang, that has caused the demise of my stomach.

Unfortunately, this is something I will never know.

Yesterday, (Monday) was a day spent in the classic black and white Chulalongkorn University uniform.
I am constantly asked how school in Thailand is, so I brought my camera with me to record a day in a uniform.

As if at the local coffee shop, I find myself constantly surrounded by conversations on the latest gossip of the town. A professor giving a lecture is no reason to quiet down here.

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As Kevin stated, “I never felt so mature in my life”.

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A quick glance to my right and two German students/models are ready for the camera right away.

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The long way home has proven to be my favorite route.
Chulalongkorn is quite a large and beautiful University.

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Laundry was next on my to-do list.
Backpack went from holding school supplies, a camera, a couple of lenses, and a bunch of accessories, to carrying almost all of the clothes I brought. Versatility is key.

Although everything here is quite cheap, laundry is the opposite. Fairly expensive. Oh well.
I don’t mind looking like a caveman, but smelling like one is not on my agenda.

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As the daylight came to a close, a group of us decided to go to a “skybar”. I left my camera home the one time it really counted. Three-hundred and sixty views of Bangkok, while sipping on cocktails was quite a feeling.

Although I refrain from posting any pictures but my own, I had to grab a picture from the web to show to how magnificent the bar was.

The Vertigo Moon Bar

After an hour or so, a group of us headed back.
Shooting pool and drinking a couple of cold beers was more up our alley.

It’s funny how quickly things can change.

A Little Taste of Home

21 Aug

Ever had a big frothy beer and noticed that everything looked a bit better?

Grass was little more green.
Life moved a little slower.
The people around you all looked a little prettier.

Like nothing could bring you down?

Life feels; Calmer.
You can’t help but smile at the beautiful faces walking by.
As if you could just stand in the middle of no where, and feel more satisfied just looking around, than you have in ages.

You don’t care what time it is, or what you have to do.
Nothing else matters but the pleasures in your head.

A feeling I most recently had after a lunch at Bully’s Pub.

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A pint of Hoegaarden could make the deepest of frowns, turn upside down.

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Even my waitress couldn’t help but be happy.

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The fried buttery goodness. The cold frothy beer rushing down my throat and into my system. The sounds of Q balls being struck, of laughs, of familiar songs.

A feeling that is quite priceless.

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A father playing pool with his daughter couldn’t resist the temptations of Thai beer. A feeling I too fell victim to.

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TVs in all corners, for people of all hobbies. Road racing, rally, then motorbikes. I was in heaven.
If all of that wasn’t enough, they even had a California License plate to remind me of home.

My walk home felt like a dream. I loved every second of it.

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There was something about this couple that caught my eye.

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I can never pass by a street musician without throwing them some money and sticking around to listen to a tune.

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There’s something about shooting water that everyone just loves.

On my way home I passed a side street market with clothes and accessories for sale.

As I passed the shops, the sight of John and Yoko stopped me. Quite possibly my favorite couple of all time. I couldn’t help but buy a couple of things.
Among them were these glasses I had been searching for. Not sure if they fit my face so well, but I love them.

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Bully’s brought me back to a place I needed to be.

So I urge you. Go to your nearest pub. Get a pint of their finest Beer and enjoy the life around you.

JJ Market

21 Aug

My eyes slowly open, and I realize morning is here. My stomach is growling from hunger. My body feels achy from the day of walking.

As I crawl out of bed and head to the bathroom, I look out the window and all is dark.

Confused, I come out to the living room. Still dark.

I come to realize that it is still night-time. My sleep was only a nap. What was supposed to be a time to rest before dinner, became “sleep”.

The beauty is that it doesn’t matter. I have no agenda I must keep. No one to tell me I missed an integral part of the day. No promises I forgot to keep.

My day “started” as I walked out the door, and headed for the Sky-train. Thirty Baht later, I was at the famous JJ Market (aka Weekend Market). As usual, immense crowds of  people filled the market.

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The market is filled with all kinds of goods. More things than you could ever want. Most defiantly more things than one could ever need.
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Fresh coconuts are found almost everywhere in Bangkok.

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Among other things, the market is full of puppies. Puppies of all kinds. Tons of them every where.
It is hard to pass them by and not want to take one home.

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Even monks are found at the market. They seemed to be gathered around the baby rabbits when I passed them.

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This dish never fails me. Steamed rice, with stir fried vegetables. Simple and delicious.

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Frozen fruits are my favorite, so when I passed this stand with frozen bananas, I knew I had to have one. Freshly dipped right in front of me. Half sprinkles, half peanuts for the indecisive.

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After a couple of hours walking thorough crowds down tiny alleys got me a little claustrophobic. Luckily right outside of the market is a beautiful park.

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Cardamom tea was quite good after a long walk.

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Decided it was time to open up an old friend. I don’t remember the last time I opened it up. Sad, as it is a book that will transform your mind.

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Once in the park, I couldn’t help but snap candid shots of people in the park.

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A couple taking a picture, most likely going to be found on facebook later today.

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An artist patiently working.

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Seemed to be some sort of photo shoot going on. I decided to join in on the fun.

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As strange as it may seem I enjoy time to myself. Gives me time to think.
It gives you a type of freedom that is not easily attained in a society with so much going on.

A day well spent with nothing but the company of my own.

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The sunset never seems to fail me.