We have arrived on Koh Phayam a beautiful, warm and relaxing island on the west side of Thailand. On the boat ride here we could spot Burma across the bay. We left Suratthani by taxi van and arrived in Ranong just in time to hop onto the ferry to the island. Once we docked at the pier we took all of our many bags and found a moto taxis to our resort. We have so many bags it is shameful. I have never travelled with so much stuff!!!! We even had to get an extra taxi to drive some of our luggage. I must add here that one of our great big suitcases was filled with t-shirts for the koh phayam school children and give away stuff for people we meet along the way. If you know Jay, you know that he has a very generous spirit and it was his idea to make t-shirts for the school children. There is much to learn from a man who is giving and kind like Jay.
Koh Phayam is very small and has no roads so the main modes of transportation are moto scooters. The road is not really a road but a wide side walk. There have been so many firsts for Zoe and Owen and the moto taxi ride was one of them. The laws are loos here in Thailand and helmets are worn by few motorists. So here were a convoy of 5 moto taxis and none of us wearing helmets. I made sure to tell both Zoe and Owen’s drivers to drive slowly and to my great relief they did. Owen had been looking forward to riding a motto so his smile shone from ear to ear. Zoe being more cautious held on tight to her female driver and enjoyed the ride nonetheless.
We are staying at Ziggy Stardust a resort on Aow Yai Beach. Ziggy is a small family owned business and the bungalows are clean and well maintained. There was a little adjustment when Zoe and Owen first saw the bungalows. They were expecting it to be a resort of resorts kind of like the 5 star ones in an all inclusive. Things here are about simplicity, less is more sort of thing. It is great for my kids to live simply with few belongings in a beautiful calm atmosphere. Where it’s not about what you’ve got but about who you are. It is also about the ocean, the sand between our toes, the ocean water against our skin, the smiles from the Thais, the friends from different countries and the time we are spending together.
Owen’s first walk to the ocean had him wearing his snorkel, goggles and fins. He walked with his duck feet all the way from his bungalow to the ocean in snorkelling gear which is about 300 yards. If you have ever walked in fins, you know that every step has you lifting your knees in an exaggerated motion. All the Thais and other tourists were laughing at the sight of the falang boy walking with fins, snorkel and mask.
Time slows down here; things are done at a different pace than what we are use to back home. Things happen at their own pace here and it’s great to switch gears and slow down. We live such a busy life style in Canada that at times we forget that things can be different from the race of getting things done. Here there is no to do list, there is no schedule only the rhythm of the waves and our appetites. We wake up and the day unfolds as it should and without effort.
The sun rises, the sun sets and the space in between is about us spending time together in this tropical place of beauty. It has been a long time since we have spent such condensed time together and I am enjoying getting to know my kids all over again. This is what memories are made of. There have been so many magical moments. Zoe and Owen have never seen the ocean before so their excitement at swimming in the crashing waves, at chasing crabs on the beach and finding sand dollars has been priceless. Every day they give me a reason to smile and feel gratitude for being here. Through them I see the beauty that surrounds us with new eyes.
At bed time we are lulled to sleep by the crescendo of crashing waves. In the morning we are met with cooing doves, barking dogs, calling roosters and the symphony of insects and birds. We slowly rise have breakfast which for Zoe and Owen consists of chocolate pancakes and Jay and I porridge or fruit salad with yogurt and muesli. We eat at the seaside restaurants threaded along the beach. One of our goals is to find the best fruit shake on the island. So far Ziggy wins with it’s chocolate shake. The shakes here are made with fresh fruit and pulverized ice and make for a great afternoon snack.
Jay and Owen go on daily adventures. One morning they went to a nearby temple and donated money to the monks. In return they got an orange bracelet for good luck. Owen is really taking this trip by the horns and loving every minute of it. On this adventure he learned the concept of enlightenment. Thailand is a Buddhist country so there are Buddha statues everywhere. These statues are a reflection of the Buddha nature that lives within all of us.
Zoe and I go on our own adventures. I am cherishing my time with her. It is what we need in this space and time of our relationship. She is only getting older and I am learning to navigate this world of hormones and change. As a parent things are always moving and shifting and at times it is difficult to stay one step ahead of the game. In this way this trip is good to reconnect and form stronger ties. This is true for all four of us.
Yesterday was a big, big day. Uncle Tim (Jay’s long time friend) showed us how to manage the waves on a surf board. We all got up to standing and it was exhilaratingly fun. Owen was transformed into a fish and would not leave the water until the sea lice drove him out. Have you ever heard of seal lice? They are microscopic jelly fish that sting you and it feels like needle pricks. It hurts and itches. They are most prominent at the hottest time of day and at low tide. We have nick named them ” thinga ma jiggers”.
In order to get an internet connection we have to go to the other side of the island. It’s nice to have a little vacation from cyber space and all the stimulation from back home.