It was a sunny morning, which I was hoping for days. I didn't want to spend my gap year cooped in my (hotel) room. My roommate wondered if I would enjoy the monsoon season, even joking that I won't be part of a Bollywood production. It was my third day in Chiang Mai, where a Buddhist temple was a ubiquitous sight. Alas, the likes of me were drawn to the Grand Canyon and the nearby jungle instead. A statue of Buddha would be enough, even an elephant. (I was told that it could bring good luck.) A huge figure of Pokemon might lure the tourists. I'm not pulling a leg.
I wasn't good in directions, so I booked a (group) tour of the northern parts. These areas won't be far from the border, and it excited me. Myanmar could be reached in a few hours or so. I was certain that Rudyard Kipling set foot in the northern part of Burma. As any aspiring author would attest, I was living the dream. Sort of. (This was a good opportunity to take a break from the coursework. I decided to pursue a graduate degree. And I wasn't being defensive about my reasons behind my holiday.) I found myself in Golden Triangle several hours later. The other members of the tour chose to hop on a longboat and sail to the other side of the Mekong. Laos was part of their itinerary, while I chose to look around.
And we need escapism more than ever
I was drawn to the House of Opium. Contrary to what most people were assuming, this was a museum that showed that this mountainous region was once the main producer of heroin. But I was the only tourist in the vicinity. It reminded me of some museums back home. The management staff seemed desperate to attract more visitors during the summer, so they cautiously embraced the PokÃ©mon Go. I have reservations, as it could lure the wrong kind of people. It would be different from literary tourism.
Mark Twain would have a following. If he was around, then he could be pleased with the number of visitors in his home in Hartford, Connecticut. London would be the mecca for literary tourism, which I haven't tried (yet). This was one form of escapism, and an art museum could be another one. There was no doubt that technology prompted more people to steer clear of the museums. (It would save time if you do an online research instead.) What about books? I didn't bring a paperback, as I saw too many of it in my own room. I brought along a notebook, where I could write something on it (in case I would feel like it). I wanted to think of good thoughts. It was another form of escapism.
The world seemed to be getting darker, as more people would find refuge in social media. Fortunately, the likes of Mark Twain knew better. In my case, I was hoping that my housemates became green with envy after looking at my (Instagram) photos. It was getting hotter. No sight of my group. And I saw a convenient store. This could be the right time to write something on my notebook.