Haad Salad Sunset
Phangan is famous for its "full moon parties" - Bacchanalian beach raves in the far south eastern corner of the island. These events attract backpackers and latter day hippies by the score. So naturally, I booked accommodation at the opposite end of the island in Haad Salat - Salad Bay. And how lovely it was there. I had a spacious wooden bungalow to myself with a view from my wide wooden verandah that took in both the little hotel complex's pristine oval-shaped pool and a beautiful palm-fringed beach with the bay beyond. There little fishing boats bobbed colourfully.
On Sunday I went on a snorkelling trip which allowed me two hours on beautiful Bottle Beach. Yesterday I hired a bicycle and cycled till heat exhaustion, dehydration and excessive sweating threatened to do me in for good. It's true what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen. I recovered in the main town - Thong Sala, downing three bottles of soda water in a row before cycling up the west coast to an enclosed fresh water lagoon. On the way I passed a bizarre English pub - "The Masons' Arms". It looked as if it had been transported directly from the Home Counties.
This morning I had an hour long foot massage from a young lady called Non whose service involved both pain and relaxation. It made me think that to really benefit from Thai massage one would need to make it a regular feature of one's life. A one-off massage is okay but its benefits are probably not going to be long-lasting.
At Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport, a chubby Thai gentleman with cloudy eyes and a can of Heineken joined me at my lunch table and attempted most unsuccessfully to strike up meaningful conversation as we ate our chosen dishes. But one should never judge a book by its cover for when I attempted to pay my bill, the man insisted that he would settle it. I thanked him and then headed for the departure gate. Acts of human kindness in a world that often appears self-seeking and heartless are like jewels that glisten and ask to be treasured. In Buddhism such acts are often thought to "make merit", counteracting the wrong we all do.
West coast of Phangan