25. Ms. Lobinson
.I float on the Mekong. Tod, the Thai guitar player, sings Mrs (l)obinson. He asks me whether I want to play and sing. I do. I play Brazilian music, and the very few songs in English I know. But then a Thai boy comes he wants to play with me. I remember Dorjee the Tibetan in Exile traditional singer who so many times I jammed with. I like this practice now: learning to walk inside in another rhythm. I know most Thais who are there. We greet each other. There is so much joy in recognition.
As I am singing in Portuguese and older Danish guy comes to talk to me. He is heartbroken. A Brazilian Mulata has stolen his heart. “She is pregnant of me! 5 months and left me. She already has two children of two other gringos”. He looks at me, his hands moves in the air as if he is taking his heart out , he then throws it on the floor and steps over it. “That is what she did! She told me she was going back to Fortaleza! Do you know what it means???” I don’t, but he explains to me. She is looking for someone else. He is 56 she is 26. I am dazzled how is it that these older men suddenly act like little boys in love. The power of women just flabbergasts me.
I go back to the lady bar with my friends. The ladies now recognise me which means they smile more than often, and greet me back in a joyful way. The ladies who were in the boat with me before hug me. A Thai lady I do not know tells me I sing from inside. She hugs me and thanks me. She cant really put into words, so she breathes deeply and puts her hands in a prayer gesture and she ways at me (the thai greeting). Why is it again that we think we are that different? I can’t really figure it out right now.
I spend more and more time with the ladies who work in the kitchen of my guesthouse. Last night every single one gave me a little hug as they left. I am not sure this is practice. I still remember a shocked little 6 year old when I in my brazilianess just hugged her when I left the school I volunteered in. Not the ladies in the Kitchen. Wi, Joy, Noy, Tia are very affectionate.
Today after they told me swai ( beautiful ) to my red nails I grabbed my nail polish and painted Noy’s nails. I barely understand their jokes, or laughter, but it really does not matter. When I finished Wi made me seat, got her little bag, got a comb out and arranged my hair in two beautiful braids. I loved it. I loved seating in the sunny garden as she combed my hair. I loved not knowing what she was doing. I loved looking at it in the mirror once she was done. I loved our little exchanges that do not need that many words. What is it again that makes us soooo different? I just don’t now.
As I listen to the old European who is heartbroken I recognise that Scandinavians just like South Americans feel sometimes their hearts have been taken out and stepped upon. As I sing with Tod I feel music has also no real boundaries. As I seat laughing with the Thai ladies in the kitchen I know laughter needs no language. As I am welcomed by prostitutes in a lady bar I know that respect needs not much cultural understanding. Even in the complicated conversations about the differences between Mayhayana and Hinnayana Buddhism with an American 70 year old monk and mystic and an older Thai lady who has done her PhD on Thai and Buddhist culture we seem to understand each other pretty well. The more I travel and meet people either exchanging thoughts, words, or simply acts of kindness I feel that yes that is a lot of things we do really differently, but overwhelmingly I still keep thinking we are so alike.