Been reading like a fiend, writing like crazy, getting Thai massages, eating amazing food, swimming… but not much else, really. I don’t think that is a shortcoming, though. It is perfect.
One of the pleasures where we live is watching the sun set every night. The tourist areas on Koh Samui (Lamai and Chaweng) are on the southeast and east of the island, respectively. So, at night here, it just… gets dark. Ban Tai, where I am staying is at the very northern spance of the island, and every single night we all gather on our front porches, on the beach, in the water, and watch the sun set.
It is one of our pleasures of the day. We take pictures of it, knowing they will never capture one eighth of what we are feeling, or seeing, and that people will just eventually flip through them in a stack (“Sunset… sunset… sunset…”) But to be in this place, with Koh Phangan in silhouette to our right, glistening water and long-tailed fishing boats in front of us, and the sloping shoer headed to the more brilliant sunsets ever to our left, pure heaven.
Last night, Jamey and I swam together as the sun set. It was possibly his last night in Koh Samui. Today, he takes a boat and bus to Bangkok, and then continue north a bit to a teaching job he found. His yoga studio is here, the swimming is here, his friends are here, but he had a strong desire to feel rooted, to be earning money in Thailand, and not just spending his savings continually. The problem with Koh Samui is that everything happens on island time, so he has had a series of job interviews, or rather, a series of appointments. Each has ended the morning of the appointment, with the guy who runs the English school saying he wasn’t in the office that day, and to reschedule it for the middle of the following week. So, another week gone by, and then the same thing happens again.
The new job is helping him get his work visa, which only needs renewal every 90 days, unlike the passport which has to be renewed (by crossing the border) every 30 days. The life he wants is down here, the work he found is further north, so we’ll see what happens. Even if he is discontented with that job, he may return, but unless it is pure awful, that will likely occur after I am back in SF.
We had an amazing time together, though, and shared many talks deep into the night, beautiful meals, and really established the roots of a friendship that we both want to continue. So, in a little over two weeks, I think we moved from acquantainces to friends, which is great. Not to mention, he will be here a year, and possibly go to India after this, so I will have someone with continual exotic locales to visit.
I was reflecting on that last night. People kept saying that this was the “experience of a lifetime,” being in Thailand. But I really don’t see it that way. Sure, the six weeks off is unusual, but Thailand, to me, is a plane ride away from home. Everywhere is. On a cost basis alone, it makes more sense to come here than many other locales. I will spend less here for six weeks than I did on the entire Carribean cruise.
On the reading front, to catch things up, I finished Lolita, and am still cold in the shadow of its brilliance. Must read more Nabokov. I also read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Catcher In The Rye, Siddhartha, and am halfway through The Great Gatsby (although I’m not feeling it yet).Tiffany’s was delightful, and amazingly I never saw the movie, so that is on the to-do list for my return. Catcher in the Rye kept me up late into the night, reading with the quick exuberance of its brilliant narrator. I had forgotten how delightful it all was, not sure when I read it last. Siddhartha makes me want to read more Hesse, and I do have Steppenwolf at home, so we’ll have to check that out.
Great Gatsby… I appreciate it, so far, but it isn’t flooring me, and I thought it would. It is about the roraing 20s and the jazz age, and frankly, that era never interested me, but still, I guess I’m surprised that it is not keeping me rapt. I will finish that in the next day or so. Many of the books I read previously, and had planned to discard in Thailand, are all with Jamey now, on their way north. Well, actually, his ferry leaves Koh Samui in an hour, so not quite north yet.
That’s it, really. Just in Chaweng for the afternoon, and finally went down to the beach… now, from one perspective, such as having recently been to New Jersey, it seems barren. But compared to Ban Tai, it is a resort, and noisy, and constant chattering, and… well, I always enjoy leaving Chaweng. Probably hit a yellow curry class later in the week, but otherwise, I’ll be back at my beach.