As Hero slowly established his territory and made friends with our human neighbours, we were making friends with Maurice.
Maurice was a juvenile huntsman spider who took care of various insect invaders in our bathroom. We came back from our border run to discover this tragic evidence of Maurice’s demise.
Fortunately, on closer inspection, this proved to be a discarded carapace that Maurice had outgrown. Maurice was fine.
We also had regular visits from monitor lizards. We named them all Horace, regardless of gender. To be honest, we’re not sure how to sex a monitor lizard. Horace Yai (Big Horace) is almost 2m long, while Horace Noi (Little Horace) is just over a metre. Horace Stumpy, of intermediate size, is missing half of his or her tail.
Our row of houses is on a narrow strip of land between the lake and an estuary. The monitor lizards use it as a shortcut to get between the two bodies of water. They are very skittish, so it’s hard to get a photo of them.
They are sexually mature at 40-50cm in length, but continue to grow and can reach lengths of 3m. Supposedly, they only grow to 2m on the islands, but the one that we suspect of eating our cat, Freya, at our previous home, is definitely more than 2m long.
Hero treats them as potential predators (wisely). The landlord’s dog, on the other hand, will confront them if it sees them on its lawn. After rearing up and hissing, the Horace decided discretion was the better part of valour, and made a sprint for the bushes beside the lake.
While Jnani was busy with the ATI, Ravi connected with Steffi, a German woman who was doing a Tantra workshop with Shashi, a Tantra teacher we know. Through Steffi, he met a lot of the lovely people from that course, and ultimately we ended up at an all-night party that most of them attended. We don’t have many photos from this time, but this is James.
We also met Alexa during this time, who was very keen for us to run a Conscious Cuddling workshop. She and her partner Dylan plan to organise a festival of non-sexual touch on Koh Phangan in 2018.
We ran the Conscious Cuddling workshop while Alexa and Dylan were on the island. At that event, we met even more new friends!
Some of them later came to our Relationships Discussion Circles, and one of them said he was planning to do the ATI in 2018.
It was a lovely event, very heart-opening, and a great way to meet open, loving people in a safe space. We look forward to the Pure Touch festival in 2018!
Touch of Progress
Right around the time we came back to the island, our friends who run Eat.co vegan restaurant re-opened after renovations.
Eat.co has become one of Ravi’s favourite eateries. He particularly likes their Burmese salad (which contains wet tea leaves and lots of raw garlic) and Iskander kebab (with mushrooms instead of meat).
The new decor is really nice, but having to go the long way around the back of the building to reach the toilets is annoying – especially in the rain. How to make an indoor toilet feel like an outhouse …
We have lots of good friends here now, having spent the better part of three years on the island. And having done some pretty intense courses and practices with people!
Ram was in the ATI when we did it in 2015, and James did Agama hatha yoga levels 2-5 with us that year. Whenever we go to Taboon in the morning, we are likely to see one or both of them there.
During this time, we had a visit from Luke and Machi, whose fur baby, Alex, we looked after in Sydney at Christmas time. They loved Koh Phangan, and started making serious plans to get out of the rat race in Sydney.
Luke and Machi’s stay continued past the day we needed to leave, so they took care of Hero for us for a few days. By this time, Ravi had called him “bro” so many times that Hero believed “Bro” was his name. Luke and Machi were happy to call him “Bro”, too.
It was super sad saying goodbye to Luke and Machi, and we hope to see them again soon.
Our friend Justine came to stay in our house when Luke and Machi left the island. Bro had been very thin and anxious when we came back from our border run, and we wanted to make sure he could get inside where it was safe. We also thought other cats were probably coming to steal his food when he was fed outside, increasing the frequency of cat fights.
And were off to the mainland for another trip to Kuala Lumpur – this time to pick up our new Australian passports with “frequent traveller” numbers of pages!