The sky is blue and pure in every direction. The sun is total and burning and just right there, and today is a beautiful day. This bottle of beer and I are reclining on one of the many sandy beaches of Koh Chang. It’s some day between Thursday and Sunday. It’s some time between 9am and 9pm. That’s all I know, and that’s all I care to know right now. In places like this, the only time that is important is now. Everything else is irrelevant, unworthy, forgettable. So if this entry seems rambling or distracted, remember it’s not my fault. I blame it on the waves and the sun and the sand. And most of all the beer.
This place is gorgeous. I’ve never been anywhere like this before, but if I had to compare it to something I’d say it’s like a small Hawaiian island minus the volcanoes and minus 90% of the development. It’s how I imagine Maui would have been 60 years ago. There is one peripheral road/rollercoaster that circles the whole island. Jagged peaks blanketed by dense jungle cover the interior of the island. Small beaches and coves dot the coast. There are only a few large main beaches here, and where there are beaches there are hotels, restaurants, bars, and tourists. However, for a resort island, I’m struck by the raw nature that still exists here. If you leave the main road you almost instantly find yourself in thick jungle. Exotic birds, monkeys, and insects of all shapes and sizes still live in the wild of the inner island. Away from the tourist strip, the personality of the island really comes out. You can see its true colors. The lush greens mix with the crystal blues mix with the soft whites, and the result is something that words fail to describe.
This is my introduction to Thailand. We crossed the border from Cambodia yesterday and didn’t arrive at the island until about 8pm. So today is my first full day in what will be my country of residence for the next year. I can’t say I’m disappointed. Thailand is instantly and obviously different from Cambodia. The roads are newer and flatter. The signs are more intelligible. The bathrooms are cleaner. The food is better. There seems to be more of everything and with more variety. The other side of the coin is that most things are noticeably more expensive, but this is generally offset by better quality. Although both Thai and Khmer people are friendly and helpful, the people here seem happier. I suppose these are only my first impressions though. Day 1 in Thailand will soon be in the books. Tomorrow will be another adventure. More on that to come…
We had to check out of our bungalows after only two nights and one full day in Koh Chang. It was no where near enough time to fully enjoy the island, but at least the place is close enough so that I could always make a trip back there. After checking out in the morning of the second day, we drove up into the interior of the island. There we found a park of sorts where after about a 1 kilometer hike we came upon a large waterfall amongst the cliffs and the jungle. Below the waterfall was a deep swimming area surrounded by large rocks perfect for jumping from. We spent most of the middle of the day here swimming and hiking and picture taking. It was fun and very scenic, but not quite as much so as the coast’s white sand beaches. In the end, it was still a nice side adventure that helped to lessen the deep sadness and depression that inevitably comes when forced to leave this wild paradise of an island. Although my stay in Koh Chang was upsettingly brief, I know I will always be able to take myself back to that wonderful day spent lounging on the beach, with nothing to do and no where to be. Even now I can see it so clearly. The sky was blue and pure in every direction. The sun was total and burning and just right there. That day was a beautiful day.