A Joint Effort
Well, we are back in the lands where the internet is fast and reigns supreme. We were given a lift to the baht bus stop to Chiang Mai this morning, and for about an hour we watched the landscape ‘develop’ from mountains huddled over vast rice paddies to the inner city hustle and bustle. Fortunately for us Chiang Mai is quite possibly the most laid back city in Thailand, so the transition hasn’t been too jarring.
For the last 2 weeks we have been in the company of the 4 other members of the course and the 8 members on the farm. Now we are once again surrounded by crowds of strangers, tourits and locals. It is a bit jarring.
The only exception to our social reclusiveness was when we went down to the village for a small organic farming festival, where we toured 3 of the 10 homesteading houses each with their own garden patches, with rows of carrots and bean stalks climbing steaks, to fruit trees, to a patch of corn, and of course lots of lemon grass and Thai chilies.
The village invited people from all over the province to show off their successful gardens and listen to the mayor give a talk about the importance of sustainably farming to provide food for the community first, and commercial produce second. There was a marvelous feast provided with different stalls getting judged on presentation, and taste.
At Panya every moment of the day from dawn till dawn was full of the chirps of crickets, frogs croaking, the odd noise of geckos, and the attention-craving cats that live in abundance in and around the buildings at the Panya Project. Here the sonds of bird are drowned out by the rush of the traffic and the chugging of motor bike engines.
Of the many animals who mad their home on the hill, a cat named Steve (a fat cream and grey tom with distinct mustache markings on his face) got attached to us and would meow at us every time we walked within his line of sight. He even took to coming with us to bed most nights. Though Mimi ( a slender ginger) was by far the noisiest cat in the bunch, she would meow at anybody as long as they weren’t a dog in hopes of a warm lap and loving touches. Its hard to say how many creatures lived at Panya, because one of the members had a habit of bringing home new pets, sometimes secretly, with surprising regularity. One cat was even from Laos.
Our legs and arms are covered with semi-infected insect bites (though we were lucky enough to escape the jungle leeches) and we both have better tans. Our brains are filled with much more information on permaculture and we can’t wait to learn more. Our hearts are filled with new friends. Though the itching bites will fade we hope that our memories won’t. Panya was a place of peace and beauty in the foothills of the mountains. I will miss the sounds of the tropical birds singing in the morning.
Now there is the constant noise of moto’s and horns for a soundtrack to our lives. And so far, from what we are learning about our next destination, the soundtrack will continue.
Next destination you say? Next time friends, next time we will be someplace far away. Thailand is flooding and we are heading to higher ground.