Cape to cape and further

Richard is on the road for his major trip.

Destination: all the way..........


Thailand and the Meditation.

Week 12 - 15, thursday 07March - sunday 15 April  2013.

After my visit in Hong Kong I left for ten more days in Taiwan. I wanted to visit the east coast this time, but plans are changing all the time and also now. Instead of travelling the east coast I visited Fu in Taipei. During my stay in the hostel I met Miky Chan, a Taiwanese woman who worked as an English teacher in Taichung. After talking for a while about my trip and what she usually does, she invited me to her classes in Taichung to give the kids the opportunity to speak English with a foreigner and to help them realize that they are learning English for a reason. So it happened that I completely and unexpectedly visited the middle of Taiwan. The first day Miky took me to visit the 921 earthquake museum

At 01:47AM on September 21, 1999, the central part of Taiwan was struck by an earthquake that registered 7.3 on the Richter Scale. The resultant loss of life and damage to property put it among the worst natural disasters of the past century in Taiwan. In the wake of the 921 disaster, the local government decided to preserve some of the phenomena related to the earthquake such as slips in the fault line, collapsed school structures, raised river beds and other selected locations, to serve as reminders for the public of the need to prepare for such disasters and to be ready to provide emergency rescue services.

The next day we went to visit the Paper dome, also a memory of the will to rebuild after the earthquake. In the afternoon we went for a ride around the sun-moon lake. Very famous for the road around the lake that gives you breathtaking views. On Thursday I had my first English teaching experience with kids in the age of 9 - 11. I really loved the experience to tell those kids about me and my trip and where I’ve been so far. I explained to them the differences between countries and continents and I even had made a world map to show them where I had been. We used the map to learn the seven continents and where we could find Taiwan and the Netherlands. We also made a card game together and I enjoyed the experience to teach them something new. In the beginning they were a bit shy but in the end we had lots of fun. The next day after school time I had my second class of Taiwanese kids and now in the age of 4-6 what was a different experience. They were much more shy than the kids of the day before, but still at the end of the hour they really enjoyed it too. 

After being in Taichung for a week I decided to celebrate my birthday at the ITC-hostel - ‘I Love TaiChung’ hostel with Angela, the owner, and Petra a Dutch girl who worked in the hostel. In the evening we went out for a drink and play pool with some other guests of the hostel. The next morning on the 17th of March I took  a second visit to Thailand.

During my last couple of days in Taiwan I had e-mail contact with Kate, the girl I had met in Israel and did some diving with in Egypt, and it turned out that she was in Thailand at the same time as I would be. When I arrived in Bangkok I contacted her and we met at the island of Kho Samed, an island south of Bangkok. We spent four days on the island and after that we went back to Bangkok, because her friend had to fly back to The Netherlands. Two days later we set of together to Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. We arranged here a seven day stay at a monastery to experience the life of Buddha and to learn something of meditation. I really wanted to learn a way of getting all my thoughts in order. We ended up in the monastery called ‘Wat-Umong’ which is located 3km outside the city of Chiang Mai. When we arrived, monk Hans explained the daily life and what we had and not  had to expect of our stay at the monastery. 

The daily schedule was; 

04.30 wake up 

05.00 group meditation

07.00 cleaning around the meditation area

07.30 breakfast

08.00 relaxing

10.00, individual meditation

11.30 lunch

12.00 cleaning inside meditation hall and relaxing 

14.00 individual meditation  

16.30 cleaning the compound

17.00 relaxing

18.00 group meditation

21.00 bedtime

During our stay we would get only two meals a day and only eat the food that what was given to us by the people. No food after 12.00, no alcohol at all, no smoking, no music, no talking about life outside the Buddha life, no internet, no phone, no use of electronic devices and no sex.

I experienced this week as an eye opener and really got time to think and the space to get my thoughts in order. I loved the meditation and the fact that we were not allowed to have food after 12.00 was only difficult during the first day. Since we were allowed to drink as much as we wanted that was what handled the feeling of being hungry. I had a wonderful experience in the monastery and my advice to everybody who wants to clear up his mind to  do something like this of just meditation. I loved the idea that I was able to control my mind by using meditation, while it wasn’t easy in the beginning.

After my experience in the monastery I had no clue what to do while I had another two weeks in Thailand before I would fly back to Europe. I decided to do a three day massage course since I like to get a massage and to give massages. I choose for the Traditional Thai-oil massage. I had such a lovely time in Chiang Mai and had several oil massages myself and in the end I was as elastic as an elastic. Back in Bangkok I celebrated the Thai New Year also known as ‘Songkran’ for three days with other guests of the ‘3howw’ hostel. During Songkran everybody used water to wet each other and some of the streets are closed for traffic to give the people the space to  have a great party all day and night.

On the 15th of April I flew back to Amsterdam for my experience as dive instructor in Kos, Greece. During the last couple of weeks I had applied for a job on different locations, like The Caribbean, Jordan, UEA, Italy and Greece. The dive center in The  Caribbean didn’t need anybody,  the centers in Jordan and UEA didn’t respond and the one in Malta, Italy had the poorest paying I’ve ever seen. So after some emails sent to each other I decided to take the job in Kos, Greece during the summer of 2013.

In my next update I will tell you everything about my experience as dive instructor in Greece.

The Paper-dome, near Taichung, Taiwan

My first English teaching glass in Taiwan in the age of 9-11.
My second English glass in the age of 4-6.

My 37th birthday pie.

The meditation room at the monastery..
The building with my room.
The meditation area.
On old temple in Chiang Mai.
Another temple in Chiang Mai.
Celebrating Songkran in Bangkok.
My official certificate to massage.

Countries I have visited: