Strolling Through a Few Pleasant Neighbourhoods

A collection of observations and musings while strolling meanderingly through interesting neighbourhoods.

Stroll 1

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

A tropical and bourgeois version of Lake Como.

Stroll 2

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

An old tree in the neighbourhood that still wears its flowers beautifully.

Stroll 3

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

The sky as blue as a tropical lagoon. The clouds a seagull-grey hue, drifting with the flows of the currents. The air balmy and caressing. The mountains titanic waves frozen in time. The orange glow like a lamp from a distant lighthouse. The people anchored in their homes, as a hermit crab hides in its shell.

Stroll 4

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

Monsoonal forces at work, the sky turned a dark shade of Carrara marble this late afternoon. The ominous clouds, evidently saturated with particulate water droplets, soon relieved its liquid contents in a downpour display of epic proportions, accompanied by  the sound of thunderous applause.

Stroll 5

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

A monster wasp of the nightmare kind, shares a ripe mango that has fallen onto the concrete pavement with a relatively beautiful fly and a cute little black ant. It is a singular dinner party of three species, where each nibbles its share with considerate benevolence. The dining etiquette and sociability displayed by these worthy insects is most admirable indeed. Albeit, however good-natured they may seem, I dare not move the camera any closer, dear reader, lest I upset their festivity and good mood.

Stroll 6

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

Perhaps due to the difficulty of culturing fruits organically, for it is hard to grow them beautiful and succulent without chemical aids, it is known, the fruit-bearing plants in the gardens of my neighbourhood serve a more decorative purpose than a nutritional one therefore. Consequently, upon entering the rainy season, when fruits such as mangoes dangle from its stem in a suggestive manner inviting to be plucked, the monsoonal winds are apt to forcefully liberate them from their stalks, whence they fall down onto the ground with a splat, revealing its innards to sweet-tooth scavengers. With every drop, expect an island ecosystem to form; whereon ants, flies, and wasp-like insects descend onto the rotting fruit with buzzing gusto, seemingly non-territorial, for there are many splats in the vicinity to go around.

Stroll 7

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

A purposeful stroll in the neighborhood after a long day of mental activity brought me to the abode wherein Duchess, the most noble lady cat in the district, luxuriously resided. It had been my intentions to come pay her worshipfulness a visit, for I had become rather infatuated with her of late, and thought of her beauty and grace constantly throughout the hours of the day. Alas, she was not in the mood to receive my attentions. Thus dejected, I returned whence I came, in a melancholic mood that would have been appreciated by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and readily painted by Vasily Perov. But upon crossing a bridge over the water that beautified the commune, for my neighbourhood was something of a tropical and bourgeois version of Lake Como, if I may be so vain and glorious as to make such comparisons, I turned my visage and tilted it upwards to the heavens, and there beheld in the sky, the lines of a rainbow! And thence my mood was lifted, and I looked forward to the evening, positively thinking that tomorrow I will try my luck again with Duchess.

Stroll 8

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

Blue-grey like Carrara marble. An ominous sky as Zeus prepares to cry.

Stroll 9

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

Walked passed a simple and common-looking plant, as interesting as weeds are exciting, and did a double take upon espying a furball dangling attractively in the wind. Upon closer inspection of this little curiosity, it turned out to be fluffy bloom on a stalk, and if you will indulge me in an observational surmisation, somewhat pregnant with spores ready to be distributed via reproductive dispersal. An unexpected beauty among the plain, thought I, adopting a philosophical attitude, as such moods are prone to rise on occasions when nature surprises us with its wonderful secrets.

Stroll 10

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

Upon walking pass a peculiar patch of moss, sprawled rectangularly above a derelict storm drain, its color radioactive green, my mind evoked a phantasmagoria of luxuriant and shady forest scenes depicted in “The Lord of the Rings.” Indeed, a logically grand connection to make, but nonetheless to be expected from one with a vainglorious imagination and prone to delusions of grandeur. Thank you. On the other hand, I do enjoy staring at moss very much, especially when it carpets the floors of dimly lit woods and climbs up the trunks of ancient trees that shadows its unsustainable urban sprawl. Such imagery has an influence that can be palpably felt; for it is capable of calming an active and distracted mind, sometimes as tumultuous as a tempest, by replacing strong emotions with stillness and peace. All of this, from a piece of green fur glued to the side of a dilapidated pavement.

Stroll 11

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

Très chic! Modern art in my very own bourgeois neighbourhood. Indeed, we must be a very snazzy commune, for even our candelabra streetlamps example artistic expression. Though what meaning it aims to project I can only make guesses; for yours truly is not educated in the understanding of new century art, it must be confessed. But if encouraged to venture an uncultured surmisation, then my estimation would be that it is a portrayal of the effects of gravity, an almighty and powerful attraction force in the universe. On the other hand, aside from conducing mental conversation, the electrified piece also evoked scenes from the first Harry Potter movie, strangely enough; to which of course I am referring to the opening scene in the “The Sorcerer’s Stone,” whereby Professor Dumbledore uses his cigarette lighter instrument, which Google revealed to be called a “Deluminator” (how Latin), to absorb sources of concentrated photons in the nearby vicinity. Thus, as it now stands, this sculptured streetlamp, though representing an idea far removed from wizardry it may be, will be to this beholder, henceforth, a nostalgic reminder of a magical world where many a youthful years was spent invested in fantastical adventuring and swishing a chopstick to and fro in the air.

Stroll 12

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Photo: Phimphakan Lebel

A columnar tier of green bananas drops down from its stem like a chandelier of dripping crystals in the resplendent Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles; during the period when the grandest of grand marquises, Madame de Pompadour, headed the courts and dictated the fashions of France. The bunch of bananas is of a great size, indeed, due largely in part because of the proper care and tending it received befitting a plant belonging in the garden of a bourgeois neighbourhood, handsome and respectable, the kind of commune where its worthy residents name their pets such as Duchess and Cornelius, among other designated grand titles. And given that this banana has been provided for and treated as much as a doted pet, it would not surprise me in the least bit if its owner had prescribed the green pillar with a nickname of its own.

Dear reader, I can imagine at this point your countenance contorted into an incredulous look, “Name a plant?” you question. Be not so doubtful, most open-minded person, for if fish farmers can talk to their future harvest with maternal concern, why not can an agriculturalists hug his trees.

Anyway, I digress, as is usually the case with my meandering posts; an inculcated inclination brought about by a desire to imitate the quality of classical literature, and in the madness to achieve it, has made me a manufacturer of verbosity and insignificant distractions. So saying, having censured myself enough for one day, and returning to the topic of bananas, these here are of a common cultivar, which is to say a firm and sweet variant that one can purchase at any supermarket of good repute, with the extra advantage of being organic, I think.

Stroll 13

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Photo: Boripat Lebel

What an instrument such as this menacing knife, worthy of belonging to a Dothraki chieftain like Khal Drogo, is doing on the gate pillar of an empty lot I cannot fathom without resorting to great imagination. So saying, if you will be kind enough to indulge me in a few fantasies of my conjuring, I would first like to propose that perhaps it is a violent warning sign, one intimating that “if thou passes this threshold, thee will meet with a sanguinary ending.” A frightening thought indeed!

On second thinking, it may just be a forgotten tool belonging to a friendly agriculturalist in the neighbourhood, who, a few days prior, had used the blade to severe a bunch of bananas from its stem, and since the tier of fruits was a heavy load to bear with one hand alone, was required to use the strength of both arms to lug the object of conquest back whence he or she came, and thus had no choice but to leave behind the sword, intending to come back for it later.

On third pondering, and with an alarming realization, I may have stumbled across a crime scene, and this was the murder weapon! A most distressing possibility. And the lack of red stains on the blade is no excuse to dismiss the case entirely, for it has been raining non-stop for the past few days, Cornelius the cat will confirm this fact, and the blood could have been washed away during that period. In all the Seven Kingdoms I must hastily warn the authorities! Then again, I wonder if this line of thinking comes from watching a few too many episodes of “Elementary,” wherein the modern-depicted Sherlock Holmes looks at everything from the perspective of a hungry detective.

On last thought, maybe I should just calm down and return to adoring and taking pictures of flowers instead.

Stroll 14

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Photo: Louis Lebel

Somewhere over the lamp post, way
up high
There’s a stratosphere that I read of
once in a science book.
Somewhere over the lamp post,
skies are blue
And the fears that you have of
heights,
Really do come true.

Someday I’ll wish for a trip
And wake up where the earth is far behind me.
Where oxygen tastes like lollipops,
Away above the exosphere,
That’s where you’ll find me.

Somewhere over the lamp post,
blue balloons fly
Balloons fly over the lamp post
Why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little balloons fly
beyond the lamp post
Why, oh why can’t I?

Published by Boripat Lebel

Boripat Lebel is a research coordinator at the Unit for Social and Environmental Research at Chiang Mai University. He authored the eBook “A Vomit of Diamonds.” Boripat can also be found on LinkedIn .

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