We’re sitting in a café full of young tourists in a tropical paradise. We definitely don’t feel like we fit in, two old people surrounded by drunk children. But it’s spectacularly beautiful here in Koh Tao.
Our Vipassana meditation retreat ended on April 1st. As always, we got a lot out of the experience and lots of opportunity to develop equanimity. No AC, real authentic Thai food, a tiny handful of foreigners among a couple of hundred Thai meditators, both laypeople and monks. Dhamma Kamala is a beautiful place. And this centre was the first chance we’ve had to meditate in a real pagoda and use meditation cells.
After the silence ended, we had the chance to meet an Israeli couple who’ve been practicing Vipassana meditation for a very long time. They were also very experienced travelers and gave us some great advice about how to handle India.
We spent one night back in Bangkok, then boarded a bus in the afternoon and headed south. We were dropped off in Chumporn at a bus station at 3 AM. There was a large open room with mats on the floor. This was our bed for the night. A bus would pick us up to take us to the ferry dock in the morning.
The ferry trip was scenic and pleasant. And after taking a ride in the back of a pickup truck from the island’s ferry dock, we are now at Sairee Cottage, in a little hut that will be our home for ten days. We are sharing the hut with a large noisy guest, a male Tokay who lives in our shower during the day and sits on the roof chirping loudly at night. We love him.
Thailand is not what we expected. We’re not sure what we expected to be honest, but this place is really full of tourists. And not really our sort of people, either. Most are here because it’s warm and cheap and it’s an exotic contrast to the mundane routine of their daily lives. Really, it feels like most are here just to party.
We much prefer Vietnam. We wouldn’t hesitate to return there. But to be fair, in Vietnam we avoided the party destinations that tend to be along the beaches of the South China Sea, Nha Trang, etc. We’re not beach people. And we stayed only a couple of days in Saigon. Here in Thailand, we’ve spent more time in Bangkok and we probably spent too much (way too much) time in this beach resort. We’ll have to give Thailand anther chance someday.
At the end of our month here in Thailand, we realize the point has really been for us to prepare for India. Something tells us though that one isn’t really prepared for India.
We have another 5 days here in Koh Tao. We’re bored of it, frankly. But we’re sinking into a relaxing daily routine of reading, watching movies on our laptop and walking. Our friend the Tokay is an endless source of entertainment, plus he eats cockroaches and mice. We spend our evenings with Steph and Pete and some of their friends. They are living here teaching scuba diving to young tourists. We think this place would be much more compelling if we drank.
We fly to India on April 13th at 2:00 am. And yes, Karen has the time of our departure right this time!