Thailand Temptations

Thailand is the kind of place where after a day or two your brain switches gear and starts thinking crazy things, like whether you are too young to get a retirement visa (you have to be 50, for the record), or if there is some other way you can get a visa to stay there long term, some way some how, because you simply just don’t need or want to go back to where you’ve come from.

Stay, Thailand beckons. Just stay.

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Wouldn’t you rather be here?

Thailand is a seducer. After three days in Koh Samui, I had already adapted to Thai Time, as if my previous life did not exist. I could easily have not come back to Hong Kong. Possessions? Who needs them, when every day you awake to a perfect blue sky, to squirrels climbing in the bamboo outside your window, to the lush green mountains and sandy beaches.

And the food. THE FOOD. What an orgy for your tongue, a rich cornucopia of green curries, noodles, mango and coconut rice, spicy papaya salad, and a whole bunch of other things I can’t even begin to pronounce.

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YES MORE PLEASE

Strolling through the weekly Walking Street night market, the colors are so vibrant, the sounds of the tinkling¬†ranat echo through your ears, the smells of cooking all around you…. you just want to inhale everything, taste everything, touch everything. And when it’s so cheap, buy everything.

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Local entertainment at Walking Street, every Sunday in Lamai

 

Just stay!¬†your brain says. Come on, you know you want to. It would be so easy….

My father moved to Koh Samui ten years ago, and no matter how many times I go to visit, somehow it still grabs me. I’m still amazed at the cool, fun vibe, it’s still fun going to the same bars, I’m still excited to be there. And I think maybe something that appeals to me is that in some ways it reminds me of Trinidad. It’s decadent. It’s sexy. It’s slightly lawless. Anything goes, once everyone is having a good time.

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Duffing around at Royal Samui Golf Club

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View from Lamai Lookout Point

After 10 blissful days, I reluctantly accepted that all good things must come to an end (do they HAVE to? Really? Who made up that bullshit? Surely there is some way….) and boarded the plane back to Hong Kong, and to reality. Sigh.

Ah well Thailand, until we meet again.

 

 

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Walking + Eating = Happiness

Sundays in Lamai mean one thing — the “Happiness Walking Street”. About four blocks are turned into a pedestrian zone of food and shopping and entertainment for the evening and everyone comes out to enjoy all the action.

Setting up the stalls

Surprisingly, the market is, for the most part, extremely local and not necessarily for the tourists. The food is incredible and cheap, and at one place you can get a delicious mojito made with fresh mint for US $1.30. You can just roam around, grazing and munching and drinking. Half the time I don’t know what the hell I am eating, and sometimes communication is difficult, but hey, trying new things is fun. And we are extremely lucky in that this happens just around the corner from our house!

Here are some pictures from the last Walking Street.

Thai sweets -- the outside is made from rice flour, and inside is grated coconunt and ground nuts

Outside one of the old wooden houses in town

Better have a big wok if eight people order pad thai at the same time!

At home in Koh Samui

So here we are, in our new home in Koh Samui, Thailand. It’s a nice little house in a compound of about 10 houses, and it is blissfully quiet, but in walking distance to all the action. Because Koh Samui is such a popular tourist destination, there are loads of houses for rent and they tend to come with WiFi, cable TV, hot water showers, AC bedrooms, and furnished kitchens. We only had to buy a few basic necessities to make life a bit more comfortable. It was really quite an easy transition, and it is really lovely to wake up in the morning, and sit and drink coffee on the front porch, listening to the birds.

All for a whopping US $300 a month…

We live in an area called Lamai, which is the second most popular beach on the island, located on the east coast. The beach is just around the corner from our house, as is the supermarket, wet market, general store, shopping and bar district, gyms, loads of restaurants, and even a Muay Thai boxing ring, which has boxing matches every Saturday night. It is a great location and we were lucky to find a house so close to everything.

We are slowly learning about how things run on the island. It’s amazing how things just seem to happen here. It is a very information economy, transacted by word of mouth. You mention to someone in passing that you need to do some laundry, and the next thing you know, a Thai woman on a motorbike pulls up to your house and with a smile takes the bag away, and the next afternoon you find a clean bag of laundry on your front porch, and this service only costs about US $1. We don’t know her name, we don’t know where the laundry place is, but we know she will come when we call.

So, here are a few pictures of what life is like in Koh Samui so far:

Traffic jam by the bridge

Seiji goes a bit crazy buying food at the Lamai Walking Street night market, held every Sunday right around the corner from our house

Forget pad thai and green curry — there is so much more to Thai food!

Beach doggy is keen to keep the newspaper

We’ve also bought two little bicycles, which should help us in getting around and exploring. We chose to get bicycles instead of motorbikes because almost every day someone gets in an accident and dies on a motorbike, and on top of that, we also need to lose some weight, because the food here is so good and so cheap, it will be very easy to get happy and fat.

That’s all for now — time to hop on the bikes and ride over to the beach. More coming soon….

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