India: The Colorful South · Travels

Life on an Island in Thailand

Serene. Warm. Colorful. Fresh. 

That’s how I would describe Koh Phangon, a little Island off the South of Thailand where I now sit in Sean’s living room. Until you decide to order the top of the line audioengine speakers that are highly unavailable in Thailand, and then you agree to pick it up at a ‘bus stop’ and transport them back up a dirt ‘road’ covered with coconut husks and palm leaves, all on your scooter. Yes, that was Sean and my big adventure of the week! We found the ‘bus stop’ which was more of a patch of dirt where there were a few men sleeping in the ‘office’ and said to come back later when they weren’t sleeping. Nevertheless Sean persisted in his communication attempts until speakers were in hand. I put the massive box on my lap, corners digging into my thighs, barely fitting on the back of the 1-person scooter, tail-lights digging into my bum, holding and clenching for dear life as Sean zipped us back to his abode. He thinks it’s really funny to break suddenly. Alas, we made it! and Sean’s speakers now fill the room with chakra music and chanting of Sean’s guru Prem Baba. They’re awesome. When he’s not here I put on my own soul-feeding music – you guessed it, Fleetwood Mac – and I, too, practiced my own music meditation.

After going on a long walk the first day I stumbled upon Cosmic Energy Massage, which offered a 1-on-1 5hr/day Thai Massage course. The timing was all too perfect, so I went for it. It has been more like 2-3 hr/day, and is more like Monkey-feel, Monkey-do type of class. Which works perfectly for massage, and as of tomorrow, I’ll be a Master Beginner. It has been a really awesome way to begin the day.

So simple to fall into routine: I walk to the massage place, stopping at the cafe along the way to order my iced coffee w/ milk no sugar, where the woman who works there every day recognized me and remembered my order after the fist day. I go to Cosmic Energy and pet the dogs waiting for Reong to say he’s ready. Afterwards I walk back to Sean’s, stopping for some type of massive fruit (coconut, pineapple or mango), and once up the hill, I eat the fruit. The afternoon melts by as I spend it by myself read ing, stretching, exploring another part of the island perhaps, and then Sean and I meet up and go to dinner, sometimes stopping at Agama afterwards. Sleep.

Other than that Koh Phangon offers all of the usual Island amenities – kayaking, snorkeling, diving, massage, mani/pedi, tours, waterfall hikes, etc. But all I’ve really felt like doing is sitting and chilling. So I do. Time escapes here. The sun rises and falls, but it doesn’t feel like time is passing. I can see how people come here and don’t leave. It seems that many of the travelers are returning after years to see how the Island has changed – commenting on how much more touristy it is, but also recognizing that I would probably say the same thing if I came back in a few years too. Some people seem as though they stayed to escape. Still others are here to just party. I’m here to relax.

So far this week I’ve read How it All Began by Penelope Lively, which is an entertaining though not profound read about how one event sets off a series of secondary events. Also I read Farenheit 451 which was fantastic. I can’t believe I hadn’t read it yet, and now that I have I see how it has become a classic. Exploring the value of remembering for the sake of it, and playing with a slightly alternate/parallel universe and the absurdity of certain societal norms. Good stuff.

Speaking of which, Sean’s community here is the tantric yogis and of Agama yoga. I have attended a Q&A session as well as a spiritual discourse lecture, and while I am not sure I entirely agree with this worldview or can relate to the lifestyle, it is really interesting and helps me understand more about Sean, the world, and myself. I can’t help but feeling like it is another manifestation of organized religion and that at the root of it there is a doctrine with all the same teachings as Christianity and Judaism. In any case, it’s thought provoking, and I’ve been enjoying talking with Sean about the overarching themes. 

A couple more days here of sunshine, and then I’ll be looking forward to returning to home sweet home. 

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