After 11 hours up in the air, I landed in Khartoum for another of my 70-day work rotation. While the flight was smooth, I was beat after cooping up for so long in the flight. My only wish was to get through the immigration ASAP and pick up my luggage then head straight back to bed. Jet-leg was totally kicking in full blast. My body and my brain were shutting down simultaneously.
Like a zombie I dragged myself to the end of a very long queue at the immigration. There must be like a good 8 immigration desks, but only 2 were manned. We were inching on miserably slow. It took forever, it seemed. Clearly they were a few officers milling around but none ready to get behind the desk.
Then my prayer answered. "Oh praise the Lord!" One officer was assigned to man another desk to ease the flow. And he was getting ready to work on the desk marked Non-Sudanese. "Oh praise the Lord, indeed!"
All the foreigners in line were all getting excited and alert, myself included, suddenly from a dopey sloth turning into a leopard stalking it's prey, stealth, vigilant, quick and ready to dash in for the kill.
As soon as the officer nodded his head signaling the opening of the new counter, a few foreigners galloped gallantly from the back of the line to the front of the new desk. Soon more followed, among them Sudanese. I was about to made my move when an officer came over to the line telling the foreigners at the very front of the new line, "This line is for Sudanese only". I could see from the baffling expression on the faces of the foreigner, saying:"But, but the sign says for Non-Sudanese!" Dejectedly, and most probably pissed as well, they moved back to the end of the my queue.
My first try shooting at the blue hours. My hotel perched on the cliff over looking Phang Nga Bay, on Phi Phi island. Sitting my camera on the railing (as I did not bring my tripod), I took all together over 20 shots, at various shuttle speed. This one turned out the best, to me anyway.
This Lunar new year was really a quiet one, just hanging out with family, friends, getting ang pows, eating loads and loads of festive treats and goodies. Other than that, it was like any other day holiday-ing at home. I slept in every morning, I went for my evening walk with my cousin, I drove around town aimlessly, I watched t.v. till the wee hours at night.
The Lunar new year came and gone, so swiftly. I did not even realize it.
Am I getting that old and turning indifferent?
I think I need to start a new year tradition, something joyous and noisy, family oriented, children friendly, friends welcomed, strangers allowed, smoke free, free flowing booze, food aplenty and preferably on a shoe-string budget.
Have you try throwing a pebble into the sea or a lake? No matter how small is the pebble and how soft your is toss, as it hits the water, the ripples gracefully radiate into all directions and grow bigger and bigger, covering the surface of the water as far as you can see.
Your simple words, bringing back so much memories, transferring me back to our days together, anticipating the one day we finally meet again.
Your simple words, they were like the small pebble creating such gentle oscillations, emanating across the huge body of water.
It was supposed to be days of festivities and joy. But some 4 years ago on that terrible day, the devastating waves hit the shore, swept almost everything away and torn what left behind apart to pieces. Then time stood deadly still for so long and the space was filled with enormous sadness and sorrow, so enormous that it shattered one's hope, so enormous that it crushed one's spirit.
Now the pieces are picked up and put back together. Home rebuilt, shops reconstructed, hotels reopened. The tourists are returning Phi Phi island, in throngs. More importantly, the smiles are also returning to the friendly faces of the Thai people.
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. So much stronger than you know.