Settling in here in Koh Phagnan

imageAfter arriving in Bangkok, I did end up spending two days in a hotel simply to adjust to the time and the climate. It was really wonderful to just rest, and a nice way to ease into a completely different culture. I have to admit, I did assume that some of the Thai people I would run into would know even just a little bit of English, but I was wrong. Any little excursion or exchange I had with anyone but the hotel staff was just a big game of charades. Still I found it all very interesting (including waking up to the sound of a rooster–in the middle of downtown Bangkok?!) and by the third day, I was ready to find my way to my final destination, the island of Koh Phagnan.

You can either take an overnight bus or a plane, then a ferry to get there. So I booked a flight to Koh Samui, and I was on my way. One more day of travel and I was looking forward to putting my bags down for a while. Again, yoga proved to be really helpful because I really did have the strength to carry all three bags, as well as having the awareness of when to put them down, and how to carry them properly so that my body felt balanced and cared for. But after my fourth plane, a ferry, and a back of a pickup truck taxi, I was ready to put my bags down–I had arrived at Pyramid Yoga Center!

20160121_182918I am now in a nice bungalow on the property I can call home for a couple of months, and I’m settling in. The first order of the day is to rent a scooter so you can tour around. I have experience riding scooters, so I was really happy to secure one for 100 Baht per day ($4). With the scooter, I began to explore right away.┬áKoh Phagnan is quite a popular travel destination. Each month, over 30 000 people from all over the world visit the island. The biggest attraction is the famous full moon party. Pyramid Yoga is in the North West, and thankfully at the opposite end. It’s quieter in the North, but really the whole island is very beautiful. It’s only approximately 20 kms across so it’s very small and its perimeter is dotted with tropical blue/white sand beaches lined with amazing beach side restaurants. All the Pad Thai you could ever want and fresh coconut water… so wonderful. The center of the island is mountainous and impassable, so you get a view of pristine mountains of lush jungle from almost everywhere you go. Just wow.

I am careful on my scooter though, since there is sand, fallen coconuts, and lots of dogs (for some reason) on the roads. So I’ve been doing about 40 20160122_181754km/hr and that suits me just fine. It’s been a lot of fun, but the other night, after sunset kirtan on the beach (yes, I did say sunset kirtan on the beach), I ran out of gas on a dark little road while leaving the beach. For some reason my gas gauge wasn’t working, so there I was stranded. It is situations like this where you really get to learn about yourself and how you might handle something. Despite being still jetlagged and in an unfamiliar place, in a challenging situation, I just decided to relax and trust that I could just go get some gasoline (they sell bottles of it on every corner for the scooters) and bring it back to fill up the tank. So that’s what I did, and I even got a blister from the walk because my shoe was new. But I took it all in stride until I got back to the scooter and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how to open the seat.

Now, I was tired, it was dark, and I just didn’t know what to do…. I was examining every aspect of this little scooter, but I just couldn’t lift the seat to get to the gas tank underneath. Just before I was finally going to give in to stress, a young couple from New York come down the road out of the darkness and I asked if they knew how to open the seat. They didn’t, but boy they tried. At least I didn’t feel so bad for not figuring it out myself, but we finally decided that we should push the whole bike into town and find someone who could open it. On the walk, I got to know a bit about Vivien and Eugene. They were such a sweet couple, and so helpful. I realized right there that it is precisely through the hardships that opportunities and amazing moments can shine through. I was touched by their kindness and generosity, and it was through the contrast of the situation, that goodness got to shine a little brighter. I must remember this story, so that I can look for these opportunities when stressful situations arise.

So don’t panic, and enjoy the ride.
More to follow.

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