Valentina,”The sky,take off your hat, I’m coming”!

Astronomy has always been a topic that interested me. I had posters of Laika, HAM, Apollo 11-team, UFO on my walls as a kid, and of course Yuri Gagarin was one of them. Another one was Valentina Tereshkova, who was the first woman to go to space! I learned a lot about her throughout time.

Beside astronomy, I also grew up with a fascination for Russian literature and Valentina Tereshkova’s story fit perfectly in a Russian novel. Many female characters in these books played major roles in positive movements, in revolutions, fighting for the right cause. So I always believed one day someone from CCCP would do some outstanding job for real. So all though Valentina’s journey was mind blowing for the entire world, to me it made sense from the start !!

Our Valentina came from a family of little fortune. Her childhood wasn’t blissful as daily struggle was a routine. For this reason she had to start working when she was in her teens. So our soon-to-be astronaut got herself a job in a cotton factory. Her second job was in a tire factory.

And despite her struggle, her good spirit did flourish. Notwithstanding her stark situation, she managed to join a parachuting club. Now at this part of her history, we notice the shifting curve, right. Of course our prediction was right, when she became an expert paratrooper!

 

I believe you can understand the scenario she got herself into with the CCCP back then, politically as well as economically. Soviet Union after World War two was a terrifying state of affairs. Circumstances went bizarre when Stalin implemented aggressive policies, which caused strong western reactions and political disputes with CCCP. That fact stimulated the Cold War!  Rest of the  history  debate, I would like to leave for your brainstorm..  

During my writing, too often my mind goes off track and drifts beside the core topic. Sometimes findings are unannounced and might confuse you but that’s me. I have a habit of indicating  the whole picture through one topic. I call it abstract..Anyway let’s get back to the Valentina story, shall we..

At some stage of her youth, Valentina joined the communist party. Her active role in the squad made her a potential leader. And when she heard about the female space project, she didn’t wait long to take part.

 It took her 18 months of furious training and serious hours of study on rocket science and technical subjects to become a successful astronaut. Imagine the obstacles she had to overcome, as a woman back then!

Yuri Gagarin was one of the teachers who taught her about space travel. The man who already been to space. She must have proven some quality skills in her training. She did compete with other female cadets who had aeronautical background.

You gotta understand where she’s coming from. I have to tell you that her father was a world war1 hero. So don’t be too surprised about what I’m going to tell you next.

Nikita Khrushchev, former soviet leader, had a direct influence on the choice of her candidacy for the space flight! Well done Khrushchev, at least you made the right decision this time!

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Her code name during the space program was Seagull. Valentina Tereshkova was in space for a total of 3 days, during which she didn’t eat. When she got back though, she was happy to accept local dishes and distributed her untouched space food.

 

 

This particular space food distribution news made me giggle. Compared to old fashioned heavy space suit, being in space and the priority of the mission; eating food must have been less important. Also there must have been handful of tasks to operate the shuttle. And I’m sure the space food on the menu was nothing but capsules and a selection of vitamins. So that has to be a turn off. And above all that, your body works quite differently while in outer space, compared to normal gravity. So, handing out the space food to the visitors was adequate to feed their curiosity. Plus food tastes much better when the job is done properly. In this case, it was l o n g due.

So with the full job satisfaction, what better to feed a woman’s appetite than earthly food from fellow human beings! Doesn’t this solo event give us a distinct view of valentina ?..          

On one instance, when earth control tower tried to communicate with her they weren’t able to reach her. It turned out our Seagull had drifted off in some major deep sleep. It must be very relaxing and peaceful out there, especially compared to the world order back home!

After her space travel Tereshkova became the first female general in the Soviet Army. What an unstoppable individual, right? She was married and had a daughter in 1964. The very first baby in the world whose mother and father were in space. Yes her husband was an astronaut too.

That’s the ‘Valentina tereshkova’, world’s very first woman in space! She has not only motivated, inspired and surprised the homosapiens but also the outer world, who knows..

Right now, light of the day is starting to grow dusk, hopefully the stars and the moon are going to shine in the night Sky. If not I have to deal with some darkness anyway!

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Trains,stations & rail tracks ..

Awkward moment, a much awkward moment indeed! The whole compartment was full of passenger watching us, while we were surrounded by rail police and a rail magistrate. Our crime was traveling without a ticket.

Okay let’s rewind the scene half an hour back. We won a six-a-side football match but the opposing team didn’t appreciate the result. So they started teasing us, ending up in a fight, which we also won. We had to run away though, as they gathered more man power. And that’s when we decided to jump to this slow moving train by the football field, which resulted in us getting caught for travelling without a train ticket. The great escape: as we didn’t have enough money to pay fine or buy ticket they dropped us off at the next station which was pretty alright.

Okay, end of nostalgia. I don’t know why I began with this old memory about trains when I have tons of other memories to begin with; maybe this is the only shameful one!

And speaking of nostalgia, how about I give you little bit of younger version of me. He loved his colorful train books in his family library. So that kid, wanted to be a train driver for a while. Then he changed his mind and decided to buy a train when he would grow up. But building a train track became tricky. So the train project didn’t last long in his venturous mind, after all. Also The Bridge on the River Kwai and a few books about railroads made him downcast.

 

Especially if we look into the world railroad history, I’m sure that will leave us all to a mixed bittersweet reaction. In most parts of the world railroads were built by enslaved workers, prisoners of war or locals with very limited access to basic food, salary and choice. But let’s not bring politics into this, not right now. We all know the world history and know both sides of the story as well. Let’s remember those beautiful souls who died to make the world modern and more convenient,if i may say so

Are we not fascinated by the old steam train! First the smoke then followed by the kuu kuuuu zhik zhik train. In some parts of the world they still run heritage train services. On my bucket list, I would like to add one or two train travel from here.   

The longest train journey I had was 46 hours in India, travelling from Kolkata to Bengaluru. Every station differed in vibe from the others; smell, language, food, color, people, culture wise. The very first modern train trip I had in Singapore, from Singapore city to Jakarta. A very smooth  train journey but passengers acted as if it was an aeroplane. Or may be my bohemian soul didn’t like too much of luxury!

Even in back home train journey always put me in right mood. Chasing the sights, shadows, the vast horizon always made me more mystic than I ever been. Watching sunrise-sunset, rain-storm or traveling in train in a winter night does put me in higher thoughts as well.
When you search Bangladesh on google,there’s an obvious photo of an overcrowded train that pops up, which always bothers me. Because that’s not everyday Bangladesh at all. That incident happens only because of Bishwa Ijtema. The venue is on the other side of the city and about 3km radius no regular vehicle is allowed, therefor people walk. And there is the train station near by with special train service. There are frequent train services for the pilgrims but don’t ask me why my fellow countrymen jump on the roof and don’t wait for another train to arrive. I guess after their devoted time they feel immortal. But the occasional accident proves that wrong!

 

That same sight you’ll get to see once again during Eid vacation. When half the of capital’s population wants to go home to celebrate. Train tickets become scarce, even on the black market.

 

Corrupted rail staff provide ladder services; you pay money and they provide a ladder for the train roof journey. It’s an unofficial-official system despite the justification.

To be honest with you, I really want to travel on a train roof one day. I did travel on the roof of bus, truck and jeep already and it’s another level of traveling if you ask me! Sitting comfortably in train seat is a normal occurrence but how about traveling standing or sitting by the train door. It’s all about experiences and how you make the best of the situations, right.

My grandfather was a railway station master although we never got to see him working. But he did bring us to main central signal station,showed us around. The old railway morse code machine always make me nosy. After his death we brought his dead body to our countryside home by a train, what a tragic end, eh. One of the slowest train journey I ever had.

Once I overslept in the train while travelling from Dublin to Shannon and forgot to change at transit station and ending up in Cork. But ticket checker was nice enough to allow me to travel without buying the return ticket!

One thing I always do during train travel is walk from one end to the other end and if it’s a long journey then you know me; a few t i m e s! That’s the most definite thing I always do no matter what. A few times I found some of my friends while I was at it. I often talk to strangers and in the train that works wonderfully. You get to know someone and all of a sudden they’re gone except for the time you both had. Time travelers..?!..

It would be incoherent if I don’t write about train stations here. I went through these  stations  numerous times on various occasions. Why are so many homeless people around train stations..? Is it because it’s government space ..? So that civilians can’t ask them to move out ..? Has our government finally realized that that these people have no other place to sleep..?!   

And there are rail tracks throughout the Dhaka city. Yet again, we see homeless people take shelter beside it, local markets; drug zone and even random slums stagger around rail track. I got the chance to see the life around rail track in my interpretation job. I felt grief-stricken to observe the life out there and found positivity to see the hope, determination in many people’s eyes, who lived there and fighting hard to stay pleasant inside!  

In the countryside though, the atmosphere is a bit different than the city life. It may be because of the laid back lifestyle but still you’ll find homeless people, Trans and prostitutes living nearby. Why has it became a regular sight at our train stations..? I know there’s a history behind it, an ugly side of the history. I will write about this very topic soon!

I’m sure it will be hard to find, s/he doesn’t like to walk on the rail track! Ohh the amount of time I walked on rail track with friends and cousins! I still do though on my own. Even a couple of months ago I was walking on a rail track for a while, I didn’t pay much attention to the on lookers though. They don’t know what they’re missing out on. Do they feel any hesitation to join themselves..haha..too bad.

So many memories to share still i’m struggling to find something unique. Everytime I hear the word, Train…my mind floats in some remote shadowy place. It’s hard to put those moments into words, may be one day you can reach there while having a cup of tea with me, yes…      

When I hear the engine pass I’m kissing you wide The hissing subsides I’m in luck

In my own pace

 

ww“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up, it knows it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve. It doesn’t matter whether you’re the lion or a gazelle-when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” ― Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Super athletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen.

Right now, I’m sitting on my rooftop, writing in a piece of paper, quite old fashioned way, under the  moonlight. I’m about to finish my second attempt on this blog. Since my laptop battery is in an on-and-off mood; my first attempt on this blog took place in the hill on a sunny Saturday afternoon overlooking the sea, on a piece of paper. I did hours of running and crossfit afterwards. Finding my blog note had become unreadable because of my own sweat was a bit head wrecking. See, that’s another type of discovery although had to laugh it out, wouldn’t you! 

I do  enjoy running and while I’m at it, i do discover new stuff. In other words; I like to push my limits and reboot my system for next phase of life, getting ready!....

Did I not tell you before how I scout around and how I discovered my local community?! Lately I was running by the beach in the evening but had to find a different route because of sin city chaos.

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So here are my disclosures on new trail  :

  1.  It’s only ten minutes walk to the big Buddha hill from my building, through local community.
  2.   A mixed community of Arab, European, Rohingya, Thai, other Asian lives side by side.
  3.   As it appears it’s not a hill but hill’s, side by side.
  4.   First hill with Buddha temple, a beautiful Chinese-style sacred area dedicated to Confucius and Lao-zi Chinese temple and gardens.
  5.   I’m really delighted to find Confucius and Lao-zi temple over here.
  6.   There’s a Chinese Gratitude wall with pictured stories of 24 forms of gratitude.   
  7.   Buddha’s image and statue for individual seven days of the week.
  8.   The other hill has local radio station, truth sanctuary, monument of Krom Luang, who is the founder of the modern Thai navy.
  9.   Local people come to pay homage to Wat Khao Phra Bat. So don’t get nervous if you hear the constant sound of firecrackers. That’s also part of the homage.
  10.   There’s an outdoor gym on top of the hill where you can work out on a starry night, overlooking the sea and Pattaya city.
  11.    There are hundreds of homeless dogs in the hill but not scary, not yet anyway!
  12.   There is a pier at the bottom of the hill with hundreds of yachts.
  13.   A Muay Thai training camp.
  14.   Tennis and squash court.
  15.   Plenty cool relaxing spot to read books or lost in thoughts with music.
  16.   I’m saving my favorite spots.

Thoughts in-between beast mood and day dreaming:

  • Stop smoking is easy enough, boosting stuff.
  • Really loving uphill-downhill running.
  • Why am I turned on while working out?
  • Happiness tastes so good, as well as the other elements of my mood. They’re all good, if you know what I mean!
  • Giving up isn’t a thing for me and it’s totally worth it!
  • Sometimes old memories, talks, moments, come to mind and leave me with never ending chuckle.   
  • Is my exercise causing too much attention here?
  • SWOT analysis.
  • Figuring out code, principle, honor, disciple, routine for everyday.
  • My body is my temple.
  • Live, listen, remember, follow, respect, gratitude, water, love, one world!    
  • I’m sluggish sometimes.  
  • Recollecting part of the old talks and understanding them is always significance, also proves that I’m a bit silly dumb.

Interaction while running:

  • Greetings (head nod and thumbs up) for all.
  • Playing with kids and homeless puppies.
  • Bit of cultural talks.
  • Blog notes or ideas.
  • Music as sandwich treatment.
  • Me, myself and I with you.  

Quick glance:

  • Various types of flora and fauna.
  • Fragrance of wild flower.
  • Sunset, Clouds.
  • Moon and starry sky.
  • Homeless dog’s life.
  • Birds
  • Woods in the dark.

Boring, tiring stuff plus no fun but had to do after the run:

  • Manual wash the dirty laundry.
  • Cooking dinner.
  • Cleaning the dishes.
  • Reorganize the mobile kitchen.  

 

I’m pretty happy with my recent breakthrough. Although in a week or two, I will be going there in the early morning as I’ll be back to work, most likely! On the point of a solo traveler, living and working in sin city, isn’t duck soup. Thus finding my own rhythm and pace was crucial.  

 

Because in life, not all treasure is silver and gold, Savvy!

 

In my own rhythm

 

I was on Skype earlier with one my college friends, who I hadn’t spoken to in a long time. There I was, having a nice chat with my buddy, with so much to catch up on! But before I knew it he said those predictable words, making the idea for this blog poke at me for the third time in recent weeks. It was inevitable really that it would come up, after the obviously annoying question regarding my current city & myself. And this wasn’t the first time either. A few of my associates from home and some relatives have given me the same thoughts!!!  

To get you up to speed I came to Bangkok, later moved to my current location, being Pattaya. And when you mention Pattaya, people can’t help but react with a naughty chuckle and some remark about the night life here. It is clear that to some living in Pattaya means party, party and what not! Unfortunately this city has its reputation as sin city, Asia’s biggest neon attraction and this history goes back to the Vietnam War; when the allied forces decided to set their R&R in Pattaya.  

But there is much more to discover in Pattaya then it’s so called reputations! I’ve been living here for a few months now and I have found many interesting sights, laid back communities and unexpected sights. I guess it depends on who you are and how you want to live! There’s a 21 golf course at an hour’s drive, water sports, Go-kart racing and many famous temples. There is  always some cultural event going on, festivals, local sports on going. You can easily lose your time at some local market, having a lot to offer with its surprising products. Also there are several old book shops too! And for the lovers of beautiful sceneries there are three wonderful islands close by.

Pattaya is also famous for its muay thai camp as they produced a few world famous muay thai champs! Speaking of muay thai, yesterday I had the opportunity to watch a Super Muay Thai- Kunlun fight event! My key maker neighbor offered me a bike ride to enjoy the show with him and I didn’t want to miss out.

It was really great atmosphere with local and international crowd. It was good to see local fighters as well as a few international (male & female) fighters. First we sat in the gallery and later moved by the ring beside the VIP area, so we got to see the cream of the crop of Pattaya fighting. It was a very intense fight and local reactions were really vivid. I will never forget that middle aged woman behind our row for her super duper funny reactions and exclamatory words!! She certainly kept the entertainment going for the entire event. What an ordinary looking die hard fan she turned out to be!

Today it is full moon, which always marks a special Buddhist day here. So religious ceremonies are going on day and night, at the Royal temple which is just beside my building. I also noticed people celebrating lantern festival while I was running in the beach this evening.   

How could I not mention the early morning by the beach! Health critic or not, but this shouldn’t be missed while you are here. The weather gets really chilly, almost fresh compared to the day time temp. You will get to see/buy fresh fish which fishermen brought straight from the deep sea, including fearful looking deep sea creatures. I do have a desire to go deep sea fishing with them on one of these days though!

Alright, alright, I’m not trying to write a little travel book here. I was just a bit annoyed when I started to write this blog because of the predictable reactions of my friends and relatives, but I’m totally cool and calm now.

Even a night owl like myself needs to sleep sometimes. So good night to you all and I will get back to you when I discover top-drawer Pattaya entertainment stuff again 😉