Find Your Own Paradise
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.” – Anais Nin
Once you don’t have a home can be liberated. Your home is the world! For almost one year I travelled from one place to another. While in Asia, Bangkok is a good hub to be and plan your trips in Thailand and in the neighbouring countries.
After spending some time in crazy Bangkok, I moved to a remote place on the East side of the Koh Chang Island in Thailand: Baan Talay Thai.
Just few beautiful villas and cottages on the seaside, and nothing more: no stores, no restaurants, no nightlife, no banks – a solitary place, on a rocky beach, surrounded by palm, coconut and rubber trees, with colourful flowers adjourning the alleys.
An orchestra of the nature best players, perhaps directed by God, enchants the guests: the waves touching the shore, the wind blowing through the trees and the rain falling on the leaves, the chorus of birds and cicadas, and the occasional tenor’s barks of local dogs or the clicking sounds of geckos at night.
Slow moving gardeners carefully maintain the place and greet the visitor with a smile and a greeting: “Sawadi-kap” (if the gardener is a male) or “Sawadi-ka” (if the gardener is a female) – meaning “hello”.
My cottage has a room with an office desk, kitchen, washroom and veranda. Internet, cable TV and air con included – so I am not completely disconnected from civilization.
To explore the island or to buy food you need to rent a motorbike or a car. The West coast of Koh Chang with its beautiful beaches is the most developed part of the island: resorts, restaurants, shops and nightlife entertainment.
Snippets of Island Life
What I Am Doing
Jogging and Swimming
Mornings in the island can be very hot (temperatures can reach 40 degrees Celsius), but the heat doesn’t stop me for jogging 5 km on the main island road.
I was intrigued at the beginning why people will honk at me on a portion of the road. It wasn’t me, but the spirits! On this area, on one side of the road, is a Buddhist spirit house with statues representing exotic animals such as tigers, lions and zebras, and other figurines and symbols. The motorbikes and cars will honk two times when passing in front of the spirit house to show respect to the souls living in this area.
Occasionally I stumble upon a snake sliding by or flattened on the road by vehicles. I didn’t venture in the mountains, where pythons, rat-snakes, king cobras and other types of snakes live, but it is enough to know that in Thailand are 85 poisonous snakes!
After jogging, cooling off in the pool is a blessing! Swimming in the sea is better in the evening, when the sea level rises. It is rare to have waves here on the East coast, more like small undulations.
Falling Off Motorbike
Always riding a motorbike without any training is an adventure for me. My second time riding a motorbike ended with an accident. I slipped and I felt on a muddy, off road. Painful, but I recovered.
Driving a Car on the Left Side of the Road
First time driving a car on the left side of the road!
It is so easy to forget on what side of the road you should be here. A couple of times on some lonely roads, at the beginning, I found myself driving on the wrong lane in a dreamy mood, even questioning what that incoming car is doing on my lane! Time to wake up, got another dose of caffeine and switched the brain hemispheres. It worked!
The only annoying thing remaining is the occasional trigger of the wiper lever instead of the signal lever, which now is located at the right side of the steering column.
First day out, first police stop. At a checkpoint I was asked for my driving licence. The policeman asked for “International” and I always answered “Canada” with a big smile. This was enough to be forgiven. “Kop-kun-kap” (Thank you)!
The roads here have very steeply and narrow sections with a lot of sharp curves. Some of the roads are damaged or are just dead ends.
Attending a House Blessing Ceremony
For the first time I attended the Buddhist blessing ceremony of a house at the invitation of my British neighbour.
11 monks have been invited to conduct the ceremony. The ceremony consisted in chanting and praying. After the ceremony, the monks are served with food, sweets and fruits. Only after the monks finish their meal, the rest of the attendants can start eating. The monks also receive gifts of food, toiletry and other useful items.
Hungry Man Eating
Prawns Cooking Style
Often I order fresh prawns from the fishermen. They are quite big and my cooking style is “do it fast”. Just throw the prawns in a cooking pan with oil, put some salt, pepper and garlic, and pan fry them as they are, with the shell on. At least I cut the “moustaches” first. Not bad!
First Encounter with a Barracuda
Lucky me, the barracuda was grilled! It looks hideous, but it is delicious!
My Shrimps Jump Out From My Plate!
Yes, the shrimps were alive, jumping out of the plate if you didn’t catch them and devilishly devour the little creatures at once!
The live shrimps (‘Goong Ten’) or “dancing shrimps” are small and tasty. Would you dare to try?
Everything is 30 Cents from the Lady Boy
Every morning a lovely and always smiley lady boy comes on a motorbike with a bright blue umbrella and sells small food items such as vegetables, sticky rice, spicy soup, corn, Thai sweets – all for 10 Thai Bahts per item, about 0.30 US$.
Tropical Forest Walks
A short walk from the main road brings you to the Klong Pu waterfall. If you are adventurous, you can jump into the waterfall’s own natural created pool.
If you like horror movies, you can imagine being in one by taking a walk through a mangrove forest.
“A tramp, a gentleman, a poet, a dreamer, a lonely fellow, always hopeful of romance and adventure.” – Charlie Chaplin
Travel is romance. Travel helps you to get out of your inhibitions and constraints of an orderly life at home and reach out for the stars!
Taking Care of Business
It seems I always travel, never stop. My last destination was Singapore – the posting should come up soon after I am able to select the best shots from 1,800 photos.
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