I was ready to go after 2 weeks on Ko Pha Ngan – I spent the last week of it being insanely athletic: swimming a ton, doing yoga and taking kickboxing classes. I injured myself exactly zero times, which means (as far as I’m concerned) that I’m not getting old yet. The kickboxing was completely different than anything I’ve ever done – I spent the four practices learning how to stand when you fight, how to punch correctly and most efficiently and how to land a kick. The key to everything was how you were balanced, it wouldn’t make much sense to kick someone if you fell over doing it. I’m not a land animal, but I handled this alright.
Every day after practice, drenched with sweat, I went down the street to this bakery that had chocolate chip muffins and these things called “tuna pies.” It was a croissant filled with tuna and melted cheese.
Then I’d walk up to my hut to shower. Ok, here’s my hut: first, it was on stilts high on a hillside, surrounded by trees with loud birds. There were stairs that lead from the street up to the front door, and when I walked in the first time I saw that it was a fucking work of art and I had to take it, no matter what the price was. It was all wood. To the right was a nice enclosed bathroom with hot water, a real toilet and a good sink and a URINAL. My first ever room – 4 star hotel or not – that had a urinal actually in the bathroom. That sold me, the rest was icing: past the bathroom on the right was a sun room with a table placed among about 8 windows, facing out at the bay and town below perfect for writing, if I hadn’t spent all my time in the hammock. Behind the sun room was a landing about shoulder height, a platform where my queen sized bed waited up about 4 steps. Up more steps past the platform was a loft with a fridge I never used, and another little table, then a door opened onto an emormous porch that had a hammock strung across it. The whole thing faced the “sunset” side of the island.
Not a bad place for a hammock…
So, after kickboxing or yoga or whatever, I’d hit the bakery, come home and shower then go up and read in my hammock for an hour or so… listening to music and watching the people down in the bay before I went off to do something or other (usually the sauna at the temple). Nightlife at Hat Rin was ridiculous – the party didn’t start until 2:30am or so… people told me. My nights were uncomplicated – food, internet, reading at a bar and maybe a drink, then back to the hut by midnight. If I couldn’t sleep I’d walk to town and watch people all dressed up/down for the night, maybe I’d make an ill-advised jewelry purchase… it’s hard to say what happened.
I’m in Bangkok now and on my first day back I headed to the weekend market and saw this amazing sweatshirt with flowers and birds in print and embroidery. In retro-spect it was the kind of hideous thing that the girls at the shop probably joked about – would this thing ever sell? What kind of messed up person would think it’s attractive? A black sweatshirt in thailand with pink flowers, etc. So I strolled in and of course loved it and asked the price – the girl started at 100$ and I thought to myself, I bet I can get her down to 40. So I offered 40 and she took it immediately and all the girls burst out laughing at me. They probably would have taken 10, but you don’t go back once you’ve offered a price. And besides, it’s worth 40 to me now.
Well, apparently at this market they give you different colored bags as a secret signal to other shop owners that “this guy’s a good bargainer” or “this guy’s an idiot”or whatever. I’d just heard about this the day before, and I declined the bag they offered me – a green one – and put the sweatshirt in my daypack. I was smiling the rest of the day.
I’m on my way to the newly-condemned Bangkok airport today and then to Singapore. I’ll be back in Seattle on Friday at 7am. I’ll send a wrap-up email from home and a link to all the pictures, etc.
Take care, thanks for the emails,