The experience already six years in the past still provokes vivid memories. Unusually thick air. Luring spices. Endless street markets. Exotic street food that I previously savored but would presently disdain. Improvised transportation in the form of motor-bicyclists, mini trucks and tuk-tuks. Sweetened chemical infusions classified as coffee that I would nowadays repel but traditionally pursued and craved. Truly standing out and not carrying any expectations about pretending to be local, and likewise realizing that everyone expects me to be alien. Being surrounded by foreigners as empty of purpose as myself. Frequent stops for coffee to pass the time which I disposed of in abundance.
Time passed more slowly. Blistering heat in mid afternoon, yet ample opportunities to seek refuge in colorful and healing settings. Ubiquitous and inexpensive bike rentals. …How I miss ad-hoc bike rentals, and not only in south-east Asia but in urbanized settings. Somehow São Paulo (my present residence), despite the shared bike system availability, doesn’t evoke a comparable sensation.
Endless exploration of life purpose and goals, that filled notebook pages but contributed to perceivably little that would unravel in the near future. More frequent random encounters with strangers. Conversations that I found mildly inspiring. Inevitable loss of further contact in spite of occasional attempts to reestablish. Eclectic sleeping arrangements. Annoying street solicitors. Homeless dogs. Anxiety over lack of purpose. Much emotional volatility with a gradual downward trend over lack of experience in given settings. Personal growth.