Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quirky Quests

Resolutions for the New Year are so passe, so 20th Century. What everyone needs in this 21st Century to begin the New Year is a good Quest. Something tangible to strive for. It doesn't have to be a compelling "Holy Grail" sorta thing. No worthiness required, just a desire to seek and find.

An important criteria for a successful quest is the belief achieving success. As long as there is the glimmer of hope that the quest focus is not out of reach entirely, a quest can be exhilarating.

Last year I was handed the gift of a quest, so to speak, from my sister. When she heard I was traveling to Mongolia she asked me to look for a replacement "Mongolian Wedding Ring" for her. She got one when she was there five years ago and it was stolen recently. She was so excited that I could replace it for her. She was almost afraid to ask me, but when I travel I love to explore and look for things I might never see otherwise.

This year again I had my quest handed to me in the absence of what I had come to believe was my 'right of Christmas', the gift of a calendar. Over the years I frequently get wonderful calendars for Christmas gifts, and besides, if I have to get one for myself, they'll be half price in January. I only have wall space for one. No sense in jumping the gun.

The last three years I have been particularly rich with respect to calendars. For two years I had beautiful wildlife calendars from Malawi, and last year I had the "creme de la creme" a Bob Marley calendar. I got to wake up every morning and say "Hi" first thing to Bob. What a great way to start each day.
But this year was a no-calendar year. Up to me to fill the bill--so here I am with an instant quest. Find the perfect wall calendar for 2009.

Here is where my quest met resistance as I began to lose hope that I could be successful. My first destination was the bona fide "Mall" that is a short Songthew ride from my place.

Sometimes referred to as "Central" Kad Suan Gaew is a collection of stores similar to any large western mall. I go there occasionally for farang (foreign) treats at the Tops Super Market. Why not explore the rest of the mall in my search for a calendar?

The complex is four or five stories high (I lost count) with a plethora of stores; heavy emphasis on electronics and knock off clothing. From what I saw, cell phones will soon take over the world. Every third store it seemed was awash with "electronic leashes." Calendars in general were scarce, but limited to desk-top, table-top or wallet varieties. No simple, functional wall calendars to be had.

As I bemoaned this fact later that day with my friends at Writer's Club, the suggestion was made that I go to my bank. I headed straight there only to discover that they were out of calendars. They had dispensed their full quota by Christmas. Brandishing my bank book around got me nowhere.

They suggested DK Bookstore, so I hit the pavement again and took off in their direction. DK is a large well stocked bookstore and I rushed along the moat heading there full of hope. Hope that was quickly dashed when I saw the meager selection available.

Once again, only desk and table top calendars were on display. But even worse, the visuals were totally limiting. I think it's time some enterprising soul here produces a nice calendar of Chiang Mai scenes. There are so many beautiful wats and monuments that could be featured to promote Thailand.

Time to accept defeat, pick out the best desk-top option and accept the fact that I was not meant to decorate my wall with a calendar. Next year, perhaps, but not in 2009!

No comments: