Sawadee-ka from Phuket. It’s Saturday 7:30a.m., our final full day here on the islands. Yesterday proved to be a full, eye opening, exhausting one. Since taxi’s & tuk tuks are unable to locate our house on their own, our morning started with a hike up what feels like the steepest hill in Phuket. We waited for our bus to Chalong Bay, where we & along with a group of 15 others would board a motor boat bound for the Phi Phi Islands. We met another of Elisa’s friends from France, Maryann, and began our ride. The sun was scorching and it was only 9a.m. when we left. I rigorously began my sunscreen application-but I ultimately couldn’t escape the heat.
We stopped at 3 different islands. Elisa & others scuba dived down about 20 meters. I put on my short wet suit, goggles, and mask, and jumped in the Andaman Sea. I saw needlefish, sea urchins, rainbow fish, and lots of coral. When we stopped at our second island, Koh Maya, I jumped in the water and into a school of fish. Everywhere I turned there were different colors, movement, and sounds so slight: bubbling water, my breath in an out. It reminded me why yoga is such a vital practice in my life. Focusing on the breath on my first two dives, by the third, I noticed them every now and then, but was able to get to that place much quicker, and be in the present moment. Sometimes, I’d peek my head up to see where the other snorkelers were, and found myself alone in the middle of the ocean-our boat in the distance. What peace. The islands were breathtaking and can’t be captured in film or words.
That night, we had planned on heading to a blues festival on Karon Beach. It required lots of energy to make it back to the house, shower, change, and leave again in less than an hour. When we arrived, I drank a singha and stood for a minute. Suddenly, I felt my legs weaken and had a sensation of movement and dizziness. I sat down, drank some water, but could not get my bearings. For a minute I became nervous, but was reminded to breathe. Someone said it sounded like I had a minor heat stroke. It was a feeling foreign to me. I made my way back to the tuk tuk and got home, where I tried reading. I was too dizzy to focus and I fell asleep. I woke up feeling much better..I think I had what is known as ‘land sickness’..something one gets after being on a boat for a long period of time. Elisa also said what I described sounded like ‘sea legs.’ A novice to being on the sea, it’s apparently a common effect. I was grateful to get through that moment..
Our last full day in Phuket, we had an opportunity to go for a sail. The bay was peaceful and absolutely beautiful--a natural wonder of the world. Light green and blue waters, and limestone rocks shooting out in the sea. Several islands we passed were covered with trees. There is some mining done here, along with squid fishing. No noises, other than what came from our boat, interrupted the trip. People were eating, drinking, dancing, relaxing. Despite my being weary of getting on a boat again, I was incredibly fortunate to have had the experience. We sailed for a few hours, stopped at an island, where some folks swam to shore. I jumped in the water to cool off and climbed back in the sailboat. On our way home, I saw the most beautiful sunset. As it got dark, Venus shone brightly in the sky. You could see several constellations in the moonlit sky-what a wonderful world.
We went out with a group of international travelers to Phuket Town, the colonial village on the East Coast of the island. A Thai rock band played American hits and Thai pop ballads. We danced and felt content to be in an authentic Thai venue...That’s all for now. Tomorrow it’s back to Bangkok, as I prepare for the long journey home.