Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Ever-threatening Jungle

"Didn't you get the sense that the jungle was a living thing, and if you turned your back it would pounce?" Emily asked me last night after we were all at home and sitting around the kitchen catching up with each other.

It was especially fun to compare notes with Emily, who had been to Thailand to see Amy just a few weeks before we went.

I said, "Yes!  I got the feeling that if you turned your back for ten minutes, the jungle would move in and take over."

Oregon is lush and overgrown compared to barren places like Wyoming, where it seems you'd have to coax things out of the ground, but Thailand is exponentially more so.
Looking out from a building at North Chiang Mai University.
It seems like not only do plants grow everywhere, even in the city, but they leap out of the ground, spread their tendrils, claw their way up and sideways and through, like the streets and houses were put there entirely without their permission, and they're determined to get their territory back.
This little side street near Amy's neighborhood was being taken over by undergrowth.  As I walked along, two cars met right at the narrowest spot.  They both had to stop and maneuver.
The swampy strip behind the house where we stayed was full of huge overgrown weeds and trees and vines.  The vacant lot down the street was three feet deep in impenetrable greenery.  The matted grasses grew out into the streets.  Plants grew uncontrolled between fences and along canals and behind little shops.
A vacant lot, just down the street from where we stayed.

Amy's "mooban" [neighborhood] with the university behind.

"Our" street.

These grow along the street close to Amy's house.  A lady in a nightgown comes out every morning and sweeps up the leaves on the ground.

These were also between "our" house and Amy's.
Every time you go out into the city you see workmen whacking back foliage, filling trucks with palm leaves and weeds and fronds and vines and stems.

Beautiful but dangerous--that's pretty much how everything is in Thailand.

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