As our time in Asia came winding down we planned for the last few days to be spent relaxing on the beach and swimming in the ocean. With not quite enough time to make it to the islands of southern Thailand, we opted for the beach resort town of Hua Hin on the Gulf of Thailand, about a 3.5 hour train ride from Bangkok. Hua Hin has a history serving as the ocean retreat for the Thai royal family, with vast tracts of sand dotted with high end resorts, one of which we treated ourselves to for a couple nights (The Anantara) after many nights of less glamorous accommodation. Wading up to the pool bar, ordering blender drinks and reflecting over many experiences, it was a great way to close out our epic Southeast Asia journey.
Elephant domestication has a long history in southeast asia. We tried out elephant transport on a trek in northern Thailand. Not the fastest or most comfortable way to get around, but it was cool to get up close to the giant beasts. I felt bad for our mount though, with the two of us on a seat and our guide sitting on her head. Better than a poaching I suppose. Momma elephant had her baby walking beside her the whole time.
I have a short story in the new issue of Schlock Magazine: http://www.schlockmagazine.net/2013/06/24/five-stars/
It’s titled Five Stars and is about a couple vacationing in Mexico who get more than they bargained for on the white sun-drenched sands . . .
Returning to their room they view the spinning ceiling and warping walls. They take turns vomiting and then lay naked, blistered and sweating. Hours later a maid comes in, also spinning. The husband groans something. She ignores him, continuing to freshen things up around the sprawled bodies.
Nāgas are a class of serpent beings or minor deities in Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. They take the form of massive, often multi-headed snakes with human features. Nāgas are said to reside in Pātāla, the seventh of the nether-dimensions, and are associated with the underworld, caverns, rivers and other water bodies. They are believed to possess the ability to change into human form.
In many temples they are architecturally rendered slithering down the front steps of the main entrance, providing protection. These photos are from temples in Thailand and Laos.
Nāgas are part of a shared serpent mythology that extends to the dragons of both Chinese and European lore. There also appears to be a parallel with the cosmic serpents described in the shamanic ecology of the Amazon river basin. Visions of serpent deities are enabled by the shaman’s use of ayahuasca, and depicted in art and religious iconography.
Amazonian serpent entities include the Yakumama, mother of the water, Sachamama, mother of the jungle, and Huairamama, mother of the sky. These entities are illustrated in the paintings above and below by the artist and shaman Pablo Amaringo (in Ayahuasca Visions: The Religious Iconography of a Peruvian Shaman, 1999, North Atlantic Books).
Yet another connection can be drawn with the reptiloids of recent UFOlogy and conspiracy lore. In Cambodian legend, the nāga were thought to be a reptilian race of beings who had a large empire in or near the Pacific Ocean. Could this belief be related to stories of shape-shifting reptilian aliens from the Alpha Draconis star system?
Serpent deities appear to be metaphysical creatures conserved across cultures, beings of influence and portent that, it can be imagined, have made their presence known among many peoples.
I’m fascinated by the murals found in Buddhist temples. These are from Wat Phon Xay in Luang Prabang, Laos. Epic stories that I would like to read or learn more about.. The murals in this temple appear to be about Phra Malaya, a monk who through meditation visited the numerous heavens and hells in Buddhist cosmology. The Lao version of the Ramayana epic may also be depicted here.