Wednesday, April 25, 2007

i Holiday Koh Racha 2007

A holiday too wonderful, too expensive but worth every Baht. Pay peanuts get monkey, but pay a lot, get rewards. Having a holiday now is different from when we were just tourist. I have picked up the language and so that makes holidaying in Thailand an even more pleasant experience.

Since the people think I am Thai now, when walking into shops, they will tell me to look for a covertly located price tag on their products, instead of the one smack big in the middle for foreigners. When eating out on the island, the bill is normally 50% less then that printed in the menu. But not all is good as a chameleon. I have experienced Thai looking down on Thais. I am now sometimes seen as the disfavored opposite to a tourist packed full of money in their bellies, and thus got the “transparent treatment”.

The language had enabled me to chat with the locals, the staffs and thus really dig into the cultural, and the life of the people. The bartender was bored and chatting to me was a delight for him, and so I was delighted too when I got my free Rainbow drinks as he spoke of life on the island, the Tsunami and everything else. The dead bodies of ang-mohs were like beached whales from the sea. Heavy and bloated, it took him and three other people to carry the carcasses. Back on Phuket right after the Tsunami, there were numerous looting by illegal Myanmar workers. Security guards had to work from the first day of the disaster, stationed alone in the front of their destroyed watch. In the first few nights, no one dared venture out in fear of running into translucent apparitions of the red haired tourist moon-tanning on the beach. The guards had set up altars full of Buddhas beside the lone chair where they sat, and patrolling was out of the question. Be next to the Buddha.

The beach used to be pristine white sand. But the Tsunami came in and wipe them out. The sand is gone. The rocks exposed. And what is worst is that the dead corals now wash onto the beach by the millions. Paradise is lost but nature should grind them into perfection as before, in many centuries to come.

The fishes are big and fat unlike the other islands. They are bigger then both my hands put together. They followed me in swarm as I swam and nibbled on my toes whenever I am motionless. I asked the locals why. They said I am fair and that the fish thinks I am a very big piece of white bread. Normally the locals feed the fishes everyday with leftover pastry. That keeps them coming. But I think otherwise. I think the fishes are used to eating humans from the Tsunami of 2004.

The workers on the island lived a “jailed life” they complained. After dark and after shifts, they sometimes would fish off the rocks for squid. Squid of half a kilo is common and they would gut it and BBQ over an open fire. The meat is sweet.

The island used to be farmland, but the locals now realized picking coconuts for the tourist makes so much more money. The rice farms are now reminisces of the old island life, just pools of unattended weeds and mud that the buffalos now stroll in. The laborers that took over the animals are now but fuel guzzling red mechanical tractors hauling construction materials of civilization. The islanders turned to setting up local eating joints and bars for the 300 odd employees of the resort. Some went to work for the resort. This is a small island where Thai knew every Thai.

The Thais on holiday were lawyers and university lecturers. People considered within the higher echelons of Thai society, people who could afford the stay. My cover was blown when they use very difficult Thai words and I stared blank and give the Thailand smile back at them. They guessed I was from the South, a Korean, a Japanese, from Hong Kong but never a Singaporean who has been here for only three years and could speak and behave like them.

The MD called me and we had drinks in the resort. He is an old hero bird of 18 years in Thailand, and yes, from Singapore. I lookup to him as the live I will be in a decade into the future. A seasoned experienced man of packed Sing-Thai culture, a robust, dynamic diversified and an excellent gentleman. We chatted, we partied. I died having not drank like in Newsroom Bar of MS back home for 3 years.

The limo driver was happy, and when he found I was a Singaporean jokingly said to me that Singaporeans are very good people. The resort owner is Singaporean, is very kind. Buys Benz for the drivers to drive in. He escaped the Tsunami for he was in his very fast and powerful Benz. He thinks Singaporeans are very fond of “mee-sua” and I guess his boss is crazy about that. The driver offered to bring me to eat the light noodle but I apologetically replied I prefer Thai food now.

The ang-mohs baked in the sun. The ang-mohs eat in the resort. The ang-moh walks tall and tan among the shortness of the yellow to dark skinned locals going about their duty. The chameleon walks both paths and lives the life of the people. The holiday experience is thus twice rewarding. I am Back to Bangkok’s chaotic work for now. But hey… I am still living my holiday.

Look under Koh Racha April 2007 here for photos.


Anonymous said...

Does your gig read your blog?

Jewie said...

Lucky ... no. :) .