I have a secret suspicion that most of the information we learn from textbooks is likely wrong, biased, misleading, subjective, askew, or very uninteresting to know about it the first place. That said, I’m not too too interested in dropping some lines going on about “cultural immersion” and “broadening worldview” and oh so subtly showing off the fruit of my studies and all that. Feels like everyone else got away with that rather well, and so…
I’m gonna talk about some flora 8)
So the trees here are initially what impress the senses. Trees here have a funny habit of growing real thick and twisting about, which makes for some cool shapes and a funky-sort of tree-based landscape. The tree I found in Chaing Mai which grows over a small shoal of sorts, and with branches as thick as couch pillows, comes to mind. It’s was also common in the Philippines and Hong Kong to find trees growing alongside rock walls or the ruins of a building (the latter being likely unintentional but still cool). Trees grow massive and very often you’ll find these same trees within the cities of SEA (the Philippines being, as far as I’m aware, an exception) where they’re nametagged with these metal plaques which tell you the species, what number tree this is, and possibly how long it’s been there.
Speaking of Nature Meets Urbanization, this region of the world has a ridiculous number of fish ponds. Fish ponds everywhere up in here. I’ve spent a collective day, at least, just staring at fish in the water of artificial ponds. Most of the time they just have koi but even then there are so many, and they grow so large, that I can’t help but exclaim “Fish!” every time I notice that, why yes, there are fish over there. Other notable “Fish!” have been these real skinny catfish, massive black fish, and I recall a blue-ish looking group of fish somewhere in Malaysia. Also, it is very common to see turtles in these lakes, as well as neon color-looking dragonflies with four wings and some of the oddest looking/sounding frogs I’ve ever seen.
The cool thing is how much walking around nature here reminds me of being at home. The plants are different, and the noises are different, but it all follows a similar random aesthetic. It’s all sun and water and light reflections and grass and all that good stuff.
Outside stuff have easily been my favorite parts of this trip. It’s the staying inside parts that seem poised to start trouble.