The Aftermath of the Thai Island Adventure; Involving Plots of Betrayal and Intrigue
At a small bus station in the city of Trat we all split up. The rollicking healing extravaganza and the chaotic jungle romps had come to an end. I had to get back to Bangkok to pick up my passport with its brand new Visa for India, and Jeorgen had to get back to his home in Pattaya. Nina and her driver and the driver's wife all had a few more things to tend to back on the island dealing with her land and probably dealing with more random, accupressure treatments...but it was time I departed. I had spent over a week along the sides of these generous people and I was duly rewarded with rich experiences and lasting friendships and perhaps something of a story to tell. I had seen a good deal more of Thailand that most beachcombers and cocktail-sipping tourists don't get to see AND I had seen the mysterious power of chi work with its almost immediate result on people, something that I had been curious about for some time. I now have a place to stay in Thailand for the future and I, of course, got to help other people.
I recall one night, when trying to doze off to sleep with the Stoic Jeorgen passed out beside me and Nina on the other, and Nina and I began talking. She asked me how long I wanted to live. And before I could give a definitive answer, she mentioned that she was very much of the persuasion that a person could live to 130, if not longer, if they will it and if they are into the unblocking of chi flow. And that her family has extreme longevity and that she wanted to start a colony of ancient folk in Thailand, probably on this very land where we were conducting her business. She invited me. Saying that she could perform the right accupressure. If I understood correctly, and it could be for direct translating is difficult when dealing with nebulous terms, but it appeared to me that Nina had some sort of secret knowledge on prolonging one's life, or perhaps, as a later conversation revealed, she was at least in search of it. Then she asked if I would ever move to Thailand. That she could find me a teaching job here. I told her that I was uncertain for I never know much about where I am going or how long I am staying there, and right now I am wrapped up in China.
But possibly. And I added, “Okay, when I am age 80 and if I have nothing holding me back, I will move to Thailand. Because if it is possible for me to live til 130 and that is the plan, then at 80, I would still be in my prime.” We laughed about this all, though it made me deeply curious. Who isn't tempted to entertain the possibility of an abnormally long life?
I left the province of Trat and eventually went to India. But I will get into that as well in future posts. But for the time being, I have been hinting at an occurrence of absolute betrayal that happened in these tales and I think its only fair that I turn my attention to that.
After my time in India, I had a two day layover in Thailand. This time, I would definitely stay in Bangkok for I was sick and was just going to relax. But I had caught word that Nina was also in Bangkok so we met up. She was with the usual crew, the driver, his wife, her cousin all...except for Jeorgen who was nestled comfortably back in his home in Pattaya. Everyone comments that I seemed to have lost weight. I hadn't even been gone 2 weeks and it was visible.
While we follow Nina around, again she was going to different banks and offices trying to deal with her land situation, she relates to me the curious turn of events that shocked me.
It turns out the host of the house of where we were staying at, this boss-like lady that we all referred to as Mama, who took us in and fed us and took us to parties and allowed us to sleep in her house, (you can read about this in the Thai Hospitality post), but she had tried to steal the land from Nina. Not in any subtle way, but in a glaringly awful way that would be plain to everyone that she had stolen it.
This Mama supposedly had some pull with the small, local government there. (Recall the party with the mayor) and she knew “someone” who had changed the name on the Title of the Land. So Nina's named was erased and in its place was scrawled the treacherous name of Mama. It was a move that would be apparent. And Mama had such confidence in the matter, that she thought that Nina could do nothing..for the name on the paper was the proof and nothing else mattered. Ordinarily this would have sunk any other original owner of the land, but not Nina. She persisted and by her own luck and charisma she had already built herself up a wide circle of important people in the government (remember the visits to the governor) to vie for her in the area. Mama even had the audacity to try and have Nina arrested for being on her own land. But Nina, once again, wriggled out of this situation and when she was taken “downtown” this 2nd time, she once again feasted with the officers and government clerks and amused them and probably performed her acupressure on them, and was let go again with smiles and laughter. It makes me think back to the first time she was taken in, it was because someone had tipped the police that someone was building in the jungle, and now that unknown act of malice, points directly at Mama. (And to think that I could have very well been implicated in this bit and sat in a Thai cell at least for a few days because of this).
But of course, Nina was caught up in this law suit over the land when last I saw her. She was hopeful, being the ever persistent optimist. And I left Thailand with the heavy weight of cynicism laying on me, for before, I had the impulse of singing this Thai families praise for all the hospitality that we received and how they opened up their homes to us, now all this was crushed and turned into this smoldering sense of disgust.
I waited in curious anticipation what was to be the outcome and finally after I returned back to China, I heard the final denouement of the affair, after a few messages written back and forth between Nina and I, the land is okay and everything is going well. And if I understand her last letter, she's helping open a restaurant. Of course, this shouldn't surprise me too much. “She”, as Jeorgen said “always landed on her feet.” And who knows maybe when I turn 80 I may really join this ragtag colony of slowly aging elders.