Happy New Year from Lonely Beach, Koh Chang, Thailand!
The New Year is upon us and here in Thailand! Really glad the world didn't end on the 21st as the Mayan Priest we met in Guatemala predicted. I've had the ability to be alone and think a lot over the past two weeks. It's really nice to have the time for self-reflection and to realize some things about myself that might need work. I am in Koh Chang, Thailand which is really a tropical paradise. I have been able to sit in the sun and get my dose of vitamin D and generally de-stress from the busy Vietnam lifestyle I have been living. I think it's important to spend time away from the stressful day to day to reflect and learn about yourself. I think that travel has taught me this.
Shelly is in Ohio visiting her family for the new year, and Buddha and I went to Thailand. Why sit in Hanoi where it's cold? I have been hanging out in Lonely Beach at cafes all over town, meeting people and going to the beach. It's been blistering hot and humid. During the middle of the day, you don't want to do much. I have been frequenting the Magic Garden and sitting at the tables with my laptop on the free wifi. Most days I am laying at the beach getting tan and taking frequent dips into the warm waters.
Andrew Getting Tattooed by Yo
The Swiss Couple
I met a couple in Lonely Beach who are staying at Yo's named Estelle and Andrew. They are from Switzerland and it's nice to hang out with them since being alone here is a little strange. We also hung out with each other for New Years and Went to a local resort for a beach party they were having. Andrew and Estelle got really drunk and fought most of the night. I didn't know anyone and was home by 12:15 after every said Happy New Years. One day we decided to rent a kayak and all go to a small island off the coast. It didn't seem that far away, but after an hour of paddling, we made it, hung out and paddled back. My arms were worked. For a few days, Andrew was getting a huge bamboo tattoo over ribs and back. Yo lives where he tattoos and has a brand new baby with his wife. I would sit there in the front room with Estelle hanging out, people watching, and really getting a great education on what it's like to be with a Thai family.
Our Bungalows and Lonely Beach
The Thais and Lonely Beach
The Thai people are quite different from those in Vietnam. I am living in a fan bungalow (no air-conditioning) behind a tattoo shop in Lonely Beach. Yo is the artist who owns the house, shop and 3 bungalows in his back yard. He does traditional bamboo tattoos as opposed to the machine type. We have barbeques just about nightly of everything from fish to pork in the Thai style.
The Thais are very warm and inviting and don't take no for answer when there is food involved. Another difference is that they really don't get mad about anything. Yo got his little plastic boat stolen, joy ridden, and sunk into the Bay of Thailand the other day. Someone saw the bow of the boat sticking out of the water, called Yo and he went and fished it out. He didn't get upset, call the police, search for the perpetrators or shed a tear. Instead he took apart the engine put it back together and went on with life. I asked him if he was upset about losing his boat and someone sinking it? You simply looked at me surprised and said, "why would I be upset, I got my boat back." It's inspiring in a way. The Thais don't get mad about anything and I could really learn a lesson from them.
Koh Chang - White Sand Beach
Change In Perspective
Going to Lonely Beach in Koh Chang was a great move! I learned a lot about myself and the Thai Culture. The greatest thing about the Thais is their sense of family and friends. They really cherish more their friends and family over possessions and material things. That's why the boat wasn't a problem. They still had their health and family and the fact the boat was stolen and sunk didn't matter. I now reflect more on my past relationships and how sometimes I have taken them for granted. I think back and reflect on my friends and family and have a greater appreciation for all of them. It truly is not the things we have, but the people we know and love. This year I urge you all to love those in your life and let them know how much you appreciate them.
I feel fortunate to start this new year with so many friends and family members who care about me enough to read my ramblings. I wish all of you a prosperous and joyful new year and hope that all of you spread your love to others because life is too short to do anything different.