January 7, 2003, San Francisco, California
Photo of Willard Van De Bogart, Jan 3, 2003.
Happy New Year.
Only 6 days remain before I return to Thailand, and to SE Asia.
The year 2003, I believe, is a year whereby all people of this planet must realize the human condition, and know that all people must find a way to balance the eco-system and maintain their sacred values without conflict. As the Public Relations Director for the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF EDUCATORS FOR WORLD PEACE NGO, I will support and help bring educational platforms that promote peace to as many people as possible to ensure that we can all live a full and harmonious life.
January 26, 2003, Banphot Phisai, T. Bangta-ngai district, Nakhon Sawan, Central Thailand
The return to the Ping River; January 21, 2003:
It seems as if no time has passed as I now sit once again on the same fallen tree stump on the Ping River behind the house in the Bangta-ngai village district of Banphot Phisai. It was August 1st of 2002 that I was here last, and the journey to America to work and return was a single focused effort, that now seems in the distant past. The family dog, Adio, is no longer here as a policeman living in the village shot him for trying to hump his poodle. Thais have a love hate tolerance for dogs it seems. I miss Adio very much as we used to take daily walks along the dirt road next to the river on the way to Wat Mongthongsathit. Lang, Na's younger brother, was married on January 25th in a small village called Chum Seang. The family cat left home leaving behind three kittens which are getting bigger and stay close together. The house has been remodeled and there is now a karaoke entertainment center, which seems to be the best occupation for Thai people. The season to catch rice field rats is in, and I have written a short story on eating my first rat. Title of story: "Rat for Dinner? ".
I no longer hear about the war on Iraq, on terror, mandatory small pox vaccinations, deportation of middle Eastern men, nuclear threats, and the unrelenting media exposure of a regime change in Baghdad by the caustic secretary of state; Donald Rumsfeld.
When I consider how many long hours I have spent on California freeways, manual labor, and the inability to have the time to focus on the spiritual unfolding of our planet, and the revelations being uncovered with ancient civilizations I am very saddened. In anticipation of recouping the time I have missed to study I have brought with me some excellent textbooks on Angkor Wat as well as on Cambodia and SE Asia in general. In particular Eleanor Mannikka's book: Angkor Wat: Time, Space, and Kingship. This book was recommended to me by John Major Jenkins.
Of course the biggest change on returning is seeing my two-month-old daughter Nanteta. It is a beautiful baby. She is looked after by so many of the people in the village, and is a very mild tempered baby. Her mother, Na, takes care of her very well and I think she will be growing up with a lot of children to play with. I am still trying to understand my feelings about having a child at my age, and am of course thinking of the future of the entire family of Dow, Dune and now Gada, Nanteta's nickname. When I reflect on the natural life in the village as compared to the highly mechanized life of my own culture I am acutely aware of how my own culture in the USA has become so divorced from living with natural rhythms.
The two most prominent thoughts I am now involved with are the history of the Khmer Civilization, and how it came to develop the Angkor Wat complex in Cambodia, and the celestial phenomenon of our alignment with the center of the galaxy occurring in 2012. The cosmology that exists between Angkor Wat and the galactic alignment are closely related. To this end I have decided to develop a special guided tour of Angkor Wat emphasizing the awareness the architects had of the galactic center when designing the temples at Angkor Wat. Angkor Wat Sacred Tours
March 23, 2003, Chaing Mai, Thailand
It is a sad commentary that the American President, George W. Bush, has finally attacked the city of Bagdad in Iraq. Bombing this city was totaly unnecssary. It is sending ripples of hate all over the planet. I am returning to the United States on April 2nd, and I do not look forward to the political unrest I know I am going to encounter. I am in Chaing Mai completing my impressions of my 2nd pilgrimage to Angkor Wat. I only wish the sacred experiences I gained in Cambodia could be shared around the world.
If only our own government could bring more sanity to this globe I know it could be a better planet to live on. However, the American President will listen to no one. But now, the act of war has begun and from what I can read in all the newspapers from around the world this is just the beginning of a very unstable world to live in. Life in the village is still the same with Thai men drinking into the wee hours of the morning, and singing to a local karaoke stall. It seems Thai people wish to remain insulated from world events. What could they do anyway.
The rice fields have been harvested, a new planting is underway, and Gada, my daughter, is close to 5 months old. I really do not want to return to San Francisco, but I have to take care of my on-line business with the Portal Market.
After that is over, and I have earned enough money to pay a lot of bills, and buy land for my daughter, I am returning to the village in Ban Phot Phisai. All the sacred experiences I had at Angkor Wat, combined with my writings of my impressions I will have to put on hold for only a few months. I plan, however, to fly directly back into Phnom Penh when I do return to SE Asia so I can continue my pilgrimage into this ancient Khmer civilization.
Our higher states of consciousness are still foremost on my mind, and I hope having those thoughts will guide me into the experiences and life situations that are nurturing for myself, for my family, and for others.
If I can bring my spiritual experiences to the attention of more people I will feel very gratified.
April 16, 2003, San Francisco, California
The war is finally over and the dust is settling over the plains and in the city of Iraq. The fear and unreast that has been fostered as a result of this pre-emptive American policy has forever changed the way the world looks at itself especially within the seats of governments around the world. The American watch dog now has its eyes on Syria, Korea, Iran, and anyone else who harbors weapons of mass destruction. I am now in San Francisco waiting to earn my SIT TESOL certificate at Sonoma State University to teach english as a second language. Na and the baby are safe in the village, and soon I will be leaving to re-unite with them to finally start a totally new lifestyle in Thailand. The time is nearing where my stay in the United States will be less of a pre-occupation.
The other night on KQED television the well known news anchor, Walter Chronkite, hosted a program titled "Avoiding Ammageddon". It was about the history of biological and germ warfare with the message that now the world has to worry about more terrorist threats. It seems endless the way the media portrays the worst scenarios for its viewers. It is time to have global televsion program promoting peace ideas that all people can see and try to implement on every conceivable human scale possible.
June 2, 2003, Santa Rosa, California
The terrorist alert color code has been going from orange to non-orange alerting Americans that a new threat may be coming. The big G-8 has again caused a stir, and the big tax cut was passed by congress giving little to those who needed it the most.
I still stay focused with only 5 weeks before the TESOL program at Sonoma State University. I keep the images of the village constantly in my mind and realize Gada, my daughter, is now 6 months old. The on-line business has been bringing many orders and this outlet to customers from around the world, as well as other indigenous villages keeps me in touch with a wide cross section of people.
I miss all the involvement with Cambodia and Angkor Wat, and I know there has been a decline in travel to SE Asia due to SARS. Thailand has for the most part been spared the spread of this new virus, but has it's own problems with corruption and drug trafficing. I feel committed to write about my story with Na and the village, and hope that I can begin to express myself on those deeper personal levels in order to share what it is like living in two cultures.
June 7, 2003, Larkspur, California
Many times I mention my feelings concerning the mood in America created by the war and the general direction the current administration is taking in regards to it's foriegn policy and it's policy at home. To this end I want to introduce an article written by another concerned citizen. The title of the paper is: What is happening in America? Please link to the article, and I think those feelings expressed by someone else are shared by many in the world as well as the United States.
August 16, 2003, Larkspur, California
I completed my TESOL Certificate training through the School of International Training in Brattleboro, VT.
I took the one month course at Sonoma State University in Sonoma, California.
Ron Bradley was the trainer.
I will be returning to Thailand in 6 weeks to teach ESL.
Gada, my daughter, is getting bigger.
Here is a recent photograph taken of Na in July holding Gada.
It will be 6 months before I return to Thailand, and in that time I have supported the family with work in California with plans to buy land to build a house.
September 2, 2003, San Francisco, California
Wild California poppies surround me as I contemplate my return to Thailand on Sept 29th. Several people have inquired about my Angkor Wat tours, which I conduct, and I am planning for a third pilgimage to this ancient land to further explore the ancient carvings of the Apsaras. I am mentally braced for the Sept. 11th 2nd anniversary which will be honored and revered again this year. I remember quite vividly the 1st anniversary, and can not help but remember the event in 2001. The world has changed drastically since that tragic day, and the concerns for world peace seem very elusive. The degree of killing and mass bombings which America has unleashed on two very poor countries has caused many people to seriously question what the real intentions and motives are of this countries administration. A new election for a new president is currently under full swing, and I doubt George W. Bush will be re-elected.
My transition into Thailand after 6 months working in California will be a very big shift in cultures for me, and one I am looking forward to. Having Na and my daughter, and her two children has really grounded me into the Thai culture, and I have many plans to integrate myself further into the Thai culture to make provisions to raise the family there.
October 19, 2003, T. Bangta-ngai in Banphot Phisai
I arrived back in Thailand on October 1st. During October, November, and December I spent teaching English, and studying about the ancient Khmer civilization in Cambodia.
On November 11, 2003 Gada celebrated her 1st birthday. On December 29th I celebrated my birthday.