transitions, the universe, dogs and motherly instinct
Koh Tao Travel Blog› entry 6 of 15 › view all entries
October 30th, 2007 – by: write817
am sitting in chumphon, thailand, awaiting my overnight train back to bangkok, where i have one day before heading over to bali. i've spent the last 10 days on an island called ko tao, getting certified as an open water scuba diver, trapzing knee deep through flooded dirt roads, listening to the lapping of waves while getting $6/hr massages, playing cards while slurping down curries, painting, working on my novel, staring at (and flirting with, a little) beautiful men, making friends with ali the thai pancake master (my very favorite character on the island who had a street cart outside of 7-11 and was sort of a crepe savant), watching fire spinners on the beach, swimming at the most beautiful place on the planet called freedom beach, rubbing tiger balm on my rapidly healing knee and falling madly in love with the islands huge population of stray dogs.
one of my first nights in ko tao, melodie and i were making our way back to our bungalows and two BIG dogs were standing, growling with such violence, that we turned back and waited a while before heading home...the following night, blackie showed up on my porch to protect me, which he did every night thereafter. my friend, chris, thinks its hysterical that, as a writer, the best name i could think of for a black dog was 'blackie,' but i tried several other, more creative names and blackie was the only one he responded to. i befriended half of the dogs on the island, and spent as much (if not more) time with them as i did with people. as i was walking down the stone path to the other side of sairee village, i came across a mama dog and her three adorable puppies and i was compelled to buy some dog food - my daily visits to this little family became routine, as did purchasing dog food every day to give to all of my new friends, such as the boxer named bubba and the mastiff named toto.i wandered into a dive shop one day with a box of pedigree in my hand and the guiy behind the counter, this totally arrogant prick, told me that he's been trying to discourage people from feeding the dogs, because he didnt want them "staying around" - i asked him what he meant... did he think that if the dogs weren't fed they would maybe, i dunno, catch a ferry over to ko phegnan or something??? jerkoff!
i did my fifth and sixth dives yesterday. the fifth was to a place called chumphon pinnacle, which is a spot known for larger marine life including whale sharks. i was so excited, but sadly, the visibility was only about a meter...it was like swimming into nothingness, a little creepy. so there could have been a whale shark swimming a few feet away from me and i wouldn't have known it - the only thing i saw during my 24 meter (72 feet) deep dive was the back of my dive master, kirin's, flippers.HOWEVER, i went down without any panic or any problems equalizing my ears, and during the followng dive at japanese gardens, where the vis was a bit better, i fell even more deeply in love with my newest addiction. at the end of the dive, i subtly slipped to the front of the boat and realeased some of my dad's ashes into the waters around the reef... it's weird, when cremains mix with water, they take on a form that almost looks like an actual ghost... it was a beautiful moment and i know it's fuji's perfect resting place.
of my 19 days in thailand, it had been raining for 17 of them... but it didn'e really lessen my amazing experience here - though it did convince me that i need to return during a better season sooner than later.travelling has this amazing power to heal, to teach and to give you insight into things about yourself, other people and the universe that are unacheivable when you stay put. one example (and mom, you'll be quite happy about this one) is that before this trip, i believed that, despite my age, i was nowehere near ready to have children (if i wanted any at all). but, for some reason, i have been a child magnet on this trip - on two of my minivan rides, i have had random children crawl into my lap and fall asleep. and today, i was on a moving bus from the ferry and this japanese woman left her 3 year old and 18 month baby in the seat behind mine to go talk to someone in the front of the bus. the bus lurched forward and the baby rolled off the seat and smacked against the back of my seat, immediately started wailing.without so much as a thought, i jumped up and comforted him against my chest, furious that the mother (who still didnt return despite the fact that her baby was shrieking) could be so irresponsible. i realized how strong my motherly instinct is, and how badly i want children of my own.
also, i have been getting emails from editors i pitched ages ago, who are considering some of my articles. today, i learned that one of my essays will be included in 2008's best women's travel writing. i actually started crying when i opened the email - i suppose when you take life by the reigns, make things like traveling to far off lands happen for yourself, the universe sends you rewards, reminders that the path you're on is right.
gotta go catch my sleeper train now, take in some palaces and big buddhas on the fly before heading over to indonesia tomorrow night. am so, so sad to leave thailand, but so, so excited to keep unwrapping the gifts that land in my lap.
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