Fire on the Beach

Ko Chang Travel Blog

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Playing with Fire
  

Up until two years ago, I had spent winters living in Africa and South America. Sometime during my fourteen year absence, fire twirling had become popular on Thai beaches. Diners enjoying sunset barbeques at Siam Huts or Nature Rocks are often treated to fire shows which are usually performed by their employees. Thai waiters find moments of fame under twirling sticks of fire. They perform their skills while world-wide music pounds a background beat and tropical breezes stir the air. Flaming sticks and chains twirl and hurl high into the night sky and manage to be caught without changing the path or speed of their fiery arcs. They swirl pairs of yellow and orange fire from each hand behind themselves and overhead.  Many of the twirlers are in various stages of experience as younger boys learn the skills from their older friends and brothers.

Gathering on the beach
Those with more experience seem to attract a devoted following of pretty foreign girls and feel the life of a western pop star.

 

One night after the Siam Huts bar had closed, I noticed a small group of foreigners gathered around a late-night twirler on the beach. I walked down there to join them while enjoying a final Singha beer since Siam Huts does not serve Chang. A Frenchman from Paris twirled two short chains suspending flaming wads of fire. The man performed slower than the Thais, but well, as three couples looked on and cheered. The couples too were all French-speaking; from Montreal, Canada; Dakar, Senegal; and from the French Caribbean. Toute le monde.

 

I wanted to learn the name of a music that I had only heard one time - in a local bar in Abidjan about ten years ago.

Jay captivates the world at Sun Set Huts.
It was a Latin-type of music with French lyrics; a nice upbeat blend of Latin and African rhythms. I had since forgotten the music's name (genre?) but remember being told that it had originated in the French Caribbean. Until now, I had never run into anyone from that part of the world.

 

Only the Canadian couple spoke English but I had consumed enough beer to recall the little African French that I learned while working in the frontiers of Ivory Coast and Togo. When I spoke of the music in badly battered French intermixed with an occasional Spanish word, the Caribbean couple eventually understood and proudly shouted a response then spelled it out in the beach sand: SOUK. After ten years, my simple question was finally answered.

 

When my Singha emptied, the group passed me their large water bottle filled with Pastis, the anise flavored liqueur which is popular in France and all of the world's former French colonies. Much of that world was right here on the beach that night, brought together by fire. You don't have to go far on Lonely Beach to travel the world.

scubagirl76 says:
cool blog :)
Posted on: Dec 10, 2007
Devika1985 says:
ooh wauw ja very nice pics
Posted on: Nov 24, 2007
tvillingmarit says:
Wow, nice photos
Posted on: Nov 24, 2007
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Playing with Fire
Playing with Fire
Gathering on the beach
Gathering on the beach
Jay captivates the world at Sun Se…
Jay captivates the world at Sun S…
The flaming Frenchman
The flaming Frenchman
Michaela doing fire
Michaela doing fire
Fire show at Siam Huts
Fire show at Siam Huts
Nature Rocks fire show
Nature Rocks fire show
Fire hoop at Nature Rocks
Fire hoop at Nature Rocks
Nature Rocks fire show
Nature Rocks fire show
Through the hoop
Through the hoop
Ko Chang
photo by: rotorhead85