Travelling Light

Getting To Know Koh Lipe, Thailand, November 2013

Day 53: It’s Raining. Seriously raining.

Naked child plays in the rain.

Yes, that child is naked. How else to play in the rain?

We are sitting in our favourite local eatery, Tonkow, watching the rain come down. It has been raining for four days now – at first it was off-and-on rain, typical tropical downpours with clear patches between. Yesterday it was cool and rainy most of the day. This morning, a huge storm system moved in, and it has been raining non-stop since 6am. While it’s still warm enough to walk around in bare feet, it’s decidedly cooler, and the cold water showering is a bit goose-bumpy! … read more.

Day 56: After the storm

Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, after a storm

Pattaya Beach, Koh Lipe, after a storm

The next morning, there were breakers on Pattaya beach! It’s all right for us, tourists who just admire the rugged beauty of the pounding surf, but a longtail and a speedboat were destroyed overnight, and a large catamaran was ripped from its mooring and cast up on the sand.

A good reminder that living on a boat is a romantic notion when the weather is good … we do want to try it sometime, but for a limited time, not on the open ocean, and we are both quite sure we wouldn’t want to own the boat!

read more.

Day 58: Day trip to Koh Adang

Taking a longtail from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang

Taking a longtail from Koh Lipe to Koh Adang

Yesterday, we took a day trip to a neighbouring island, Koh Adang. It is part of the Tarutao National Park, and there are bungalows there, so we thought we would investigate them as a possible place to go for a few days after we leave Koh Lipe. Iyaa at Tonkow told me this morning that when we didn’t turn up for breakfast yesterday,they thought we must have left Koh Lipe! (As if we would leave without saying goodbye …)

The longtail ride across the channel was spectacular – the water has mostly cleared after the storm swells, and it is the most incredible turquoise, in every shade from almost white to the deepest blue-green … read more.

Day 59: Environmental activism

The day after the storm, we were walking along the beach toward Walking Street, and we saw that THIS monstrosity had appeared overnight.

It was right next to Walking Street, just where the boats drop the new arrivals on Pattaya Beach each day. The water flow had already carved a swathe through the sand. It appeared that the culprit was … read more.

Day 60: Our friends on the island

We started writing about our friends on Koh Lipe a couple of days ago, and realised that we don’t have photos of many of them yet – a new mission to accomplish before we leave!

Nuut and Som Tum

Nuut and Som Tum

This is Nuut, and her dog, Som Tum (Papaya Salad. Yes, really. She named her dog “Papaya Salad”.) Nuut has a shop on Walking Street, which sells creams, oils, soaps, and gifts. It was to Nuut we went when we wanted a “thank you” gift for John’s sister at Pooh Bar, who lent us the cat carrier to take Feliz to the vet. (Rice milk soap, very well received.)

Nuut’s mother works up the road at Papaya Mom, and Som Tum often beetles up to the restaurant to see his “gran”, hopping up on the benches beside the patrons with all the confidence of someone around whom the Universe revolves … read more.


Day 60: Learning emergency meditation

Some things in life, you don’t practice seriously until you have an emergency. You wouldn’t think that something as esoteric as meditation could fall into this category, but for me, it seems it does.

It’s not that I don’t sit (or more often, lie) for a measured hour, carrying out a Vipassana survey of my body when not distracted by random thoughts – I do. But that’s a fairly gentle, take-it-or-leave-it version of meditation, with no particular penalty for failing to concentrate.

During our 10-day Vipassana retreat in Penang, I popped a knee ligament out of its groove. Under normal circumstances, I could have had someone hold my foot at the right angle for a few minutes, and the ligament would have returned to its rightful place. During a Vipassana retreat, however, nobody is allowed to touch anybody else.

The first night with the ligament out of place, I learned how to do emergency meditation … read more.

Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe

Day 61: Not ready to leave!

Koh Lipe

Koh Lipe

We are not ready to leave Koh Lipe.

Earlier this month, Tom was chafing about being so long in one place, but now that our last day at Cafe Lipe is approaching, he feels that he needs another two weeks here. Jenny wants to get over her fever and do the last few physically demanding things on the wish list – exploring the best snorkelling spot on the island (off Sunrise Beach), returning to Sunset Beach (and possibly finding a sprouting coconut to take back and plant at Cafe Lipe), and climbing a communications tower which promises to have an awesome view … read more.

Day 63: Still convalescing

With both of us still feverish, and Jenny on her third day of all-over rash, we are not being as physically active as we have been. We do usually get to Tonkow for breakfast, and sitting and watching the world go by. Yesterday, as we watched, this bold chap appeared and scaled the large coconut palm across the road (note the proximity of power lines)!

He started loosening coconuts (by hand, so they must have been ripe) and dropping them down to his mate below. Multiple OH&S alarms were blaring here, and a crowd gathered to watch the display. At times, the chap below did think to clear the road of passers-by, when the coconut was dropping on that side of the tree … read more.

Day 70: The travel insurance pays off

Well, the travel insurance has proven its worth this week – it hasn’t quite paid for itself yet (and we hope it never will), but it has granted us free access to the best medical care Koh Lipe has to offer. It has been a while since the last note. Not only have we been sick, but the entire island’s internet connection has been off the air for several days, so only mobile phone hotspot tethering has been available, if that, in all our usual WiFi hangouts.

The resident doctor, Pita (pronounced Peter), has been very thorough – he checked Tom’s heart, because there was a slightly irregular beat, and he read up on the latest antibiotics for typhoid, because the bacteria is constantly evolving resistance, so you need to be sure you’re using the right antibiotic. The current recommended one is very hard to find in oral form, so Tom is having three daily doses via intravenous drip, as well as taking the standard oral antibiotic for 14 days … read more.