Happy Valentine’s Day! I know most of the world does not rejoice in such festivities but there is no less reason to celebrate LOVE. Hug a stranger, eat lots of chocolate, dance your bliss, expand your heart.
I travel to the Lod (spirit) caves with my brother from the stars, a heavenly date for the day of LOVE. In a minibus we are chauffeured on a twisty and narrow road up the mountain to the natural preserve where the caves are located, a ride that makes my green papaya salad breakfast churn enthusiastically in my belly. At the opening of the caves we board a bamboo raft with a chipper couple from Singapore, a local hill tribe woman as our captain who navigates the waters using light from a kerosene fueled lamp.
The Lod caves consist of three connected caverns filled with grottos and ancient paintings. A number of prehistoric wood coffins have also been found in the caves, the remnants of the coffins still present. I hear that the spirits of such coffins perhaps dwell in the caves.
We hop on and off the raft at different points, climbing up through the caves to view the extensive stalagmites and stalactites formed by limestone deposits. Bats (and poo) everywhere. I am walking barefoot still.
The prehistoric paintings are most remarkable, faces of existence so clearly etched into the stone. I sense crystal skull energy through my palms and an image of Pancho; there is potent familiarity of time and space.
Our boat acquaintances from Singapore, an airline attendant and a personal trainer, eagerly share the differences between Malaysia and Thailand over smoothies before we head back to Pai (spicier food being the most notable, which is always attractive to me!) And saying goodbye to my soul brother who is proceeding on to Indonesia is not tearful for I am certain we will cross paths again.
Must share…he is truly inspiring, 20-years-old and living a life of volunteerism and service instead of traditional collegiate years. Born in a small town in northern Canada, he has yet served in Brazil and Denmark, is traveling solo in Thailand before heading to Indonesia, and is curious about long-term farm opportunities next. He speaks of community and ecological preservation like a pro. Aho!
In Pai I enjoy my Valentine’s eve in solitude, observing the sparkle of the night market from an outdoor café. The night sky is filled with paper lanterns set off by the river banks, spots of bright orange that one perhaps can mistake for interplanetary contact.
*Once more…this is not a Lonely Planet guided trip. I am not hostel humping, procuring bargain Asian escorts, or collecting cool souvenirs.
I am that I am. I am Eve. LOVE to all.