Thursday, December 22, 2005

Koh Yao Noi, Thailand

After finishing the CELTA course, I gave myself a break from traffic and study and people on the street asking me "Sir, where you go, you want 'Boom Boom?'"

One hour east of Bang Rong Pier on the east of Phuket Island, just off the coast of the province of Krabi rests a chunk of landscape called Koh Yao Noi. And on the east coast of this island 20 minutes by taxi through several small villages, past goast, sheep, & water buffalo, onto a gooey dirt road that winds its way between rubber plantations and rice paddies lay a cluster of eight bungalows spread out beneath dozens of coconut trees called Lomlae resort.

I cannot remember the last time I was in a place that was so absolutely still. It had been quiet snorkeling on reefs off a speck called Dok Mai where the only sounds were fish munching on what fish munch on, the staticky sound of life on the coral, and the occasional hum of boat engines. But the peace at Lomlae was entirely different.

The patter of a light rain on the grass roof of my hut, two or three birds, a fishing boat way far off in the distance, a falling coconut. The structure's frame creaking against the sway of the overloaded hammock in which this paragraph was written. And ... what's that? Ah, yes, a table saw in the resort next door cutting boards for the floors of a new set of huts. Such is the cost of progress.

If you want things to do, there is plenty to do there. The folks at the resort are careful to not be intrusive, yet are ready to fill any need moments after it announces itself in your frontal lobe. Wanna scuba? No sweat. Charter boats are available to take you to any of the islands of the seas between Phuket and Phang-Nga. Like every western hang out in Thailand, there's a book exchange if you just want to remain motionless on dry land. One afternoon I took a rather small sea kayak out to the nearest island approximately 30 minutes away. The visibility on the reef was poor, but I had the island to myself.

Coming back from this island was a chore. The wind was in my face and the tide was strong. One of the guys from the resort gave me a hand dragging the kayak up the beach and I went in and booked an hour long Thai massage for 300 baht. The masseuse was a 60 year old woman who lived in the village nearby. Imagine what a half-century practitioner of massage knows. With waves crashing on the beach yards away from my head this may have been the most relaxing hour I've spent since a Sunday afternoon back in 1993 that I recall with fondness.

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