Having settled on our Koh Lipe home base, we started immediately on serious resting and recovering from the exertions of the past 11 years (for Tom) and 20+ years (for Jenny) in getting ourselves here. Jenny’s fever settled after a day of complete rest, then it was Tom’s turn. We’re not sure if it was a bug, as one of the other residents and Darius, the owner, have also been a bit unwell, or whether Tom got a touch of sunstroke on our big excursion day.
We finished up our day of rest with a stroll along the beach to one of the bars which has beach mats and makes pizza. Usually, we don’t bother to try eating Western food in SE Asia, but we had heard good things about this particular pizza place, and Tom had a hankering. We ate our pizza while watching the lights of the boats on the water, and being amused by the bunch of young folk in front of us, all of whom had some kind of electronic device to protect them from the dangers of paying too much attention to this Paradise we all inhabit … read more.
First thing yesterday morning, we popped in to the mini-mart with some bacon we had saved from breakfast. The bacon was a present for Miyaou, a tiny black kitten we met late the night before. Miyaou walked off a cargo barge onto Pattaya Beach about four weeks ago, which means he must have only been two or three weeks old when he made the journey.
The mini-mart was the first business along Walking Street that was open so early in the season, so the family that runs the mini-mart adopted him. Walking Street proved a dangerous habitat, and Miyaou was struck by a motorcycle … read more.
The kitten came back the next night, hungry again, and stayed the night with us again. Bee spoke to us the next morning, full of concerns about the cat. Cats pee everywhere, and it wouldn’t get on with the dog, and when we go, the next people in the bungalow might not like cats, and people in the cafe might not like a cat hanging around.
We did our best to reassure her, but it seemed that we would need to find a new home for the kitty. We started making mental lists of all the people we knew on the island… read more.
Feliz must have detected that Friday was vet day, because he took off while we were having breakfast. (It might also have been that we took away his food in anticipation of a possible general anaesthetic, and he has a low tolerance for food frustration.) There was a big storm during the day so we thought that might have kept him hiding under shelter somewhere. Two hours after the rain stopped, there was still no sign of him.
We were hungry by that time, so we went to Walking Street, where a bakery issues a tray of fresh-from-the-oven samosas (peanut or potato), coconut scrolls, and butter bread at 3pm each day. We bought half a dozen peanut samosas, and took them down to Namaste to share with Simona and Bibi. Simona let Tom try on her Vietnamese coolie hat, and we admired the enormous tree which forms part of the decor, because buildings don’t need walls in the tropics … read more.
Well the deed is done. Feliz is something less of a boy now. It was pouring with rain when we took him to the veterinary field hospital, so he was a damp and unhappy kitty on arrival.
We felt a bit better about our uncertainty on his gender when it took the vet staff a few minutes and much consultation to determine that he was, in fact, a boy. His ear has been tattooed with the number 56, because it is 2556 in Thailand (their Year 1 is counted from Buddha, not Jesus) … read more.
Travelling is an exercise in paradox. Life carries on as ordinary, and at the same time, the surroundings are varying degrees of extraordinary. So quickly, the breathtaking turquoise waters of Koh Lipe have become normal. We now need to remind ourselves to stop, look, and remember that we haven’t always lived in Paradise.
Wherever you go, you take you with you, so life seems to go on – you eat, wash, sleep, walk around, browse the internet, and do the dozens of small things that make up a day of activity. Each new place quickly becomes familiar, and as less thought is required to get about the place, less presence is required. Unless presence is cultivated, the most magical place on Earth will become ordinary in 21 days or less… read more.
The next instalment of “Same Same But Different” was inspired by my comment last night that it would be tolerable to go back to Australia in the winter next year, just to have the opportunity to go a few weeks without itching.
Now, this is not a common sentiment – in general, we really don’t mind the discomforts of the tropics – but it was indicative that no matter where in the world we are, an no matter how much of a Paradise it is, we can always become dissatisfied if we put our attention in the wrong places. One of the great spiritual benefits of this journey is that we HAVE started in Paradise, so any discontent must be generated internally.
Back to “Same Same But Different”, looking at all the things which could be complained about, if one were to choose that path… read more.
To our list of attacking wildlife, add grasshoppers. Jenny was menaced by one while reading at Cafe Lipe, and this beauty turned up at Pooh Bar wile we were availing ourselves of their fast internet connection.
Tom was thrilled to discover that the new restaurant across the road from Namaste Cafe had fast WiFi, because that means we can sit in Namaste and do internetting things – it’s closer to home than Pooh Bar, and has a kitten … read more.