Monday, April 4, 2011

Island Life

"Enough with Ko Phangan, we need a change of scene!" we cried as we huddled onto the southbound ferry.  "Ko Samui will surely supply the refuge we seek!"

Here we are on another island and I have to say that you'd be hardpressed to find Thai culture within striking distance of a beach in Thailand.  In fact, a Thai beach is probably the best place you could be if you don't care much for any Thai who isn't serving you a cocunut with a straw and especially if you enjoy the company of overweight balding men in speedos.

Why are there no Thais splashing about in the pristine waters of Ko Samui's legendary beaches?  There are a few reason, I think, the least of which is contemporary vanity.  The peoples of Southeast Asia see beauty in the pale faces of western culture and take aim to protect themselves from being darker than they have to.  When the sun is out, they are covered from head to toe in loose clothing and layers of scarves.  Every hygiene product on the shelves has skin whitening cream in it.  For this reason, you'd never see a Thai, Laos, or Vietnamese sunbathing.  Historically, most people here lived in small villages and were farmers.  If a family owned a bit of land, the black sheep of the children would be given the beach area to farm.  It's impossible to grow much apart from peanuts and cocunuts on a stretch of sand so being on the beach meant a sentence of poverty.  You'd think that those peanut farmers would be laughing now as they could've shut down the farm in favor of a beach resort but the fact is that, for the most part, they were only too happy to sell the land at a low cost to foriegn developers who are now making a fortune in paradise. Now that there's value beach property, there's no room left for the Thais who used to own it.

I don't have much else to say since it's only been a day since the last post.  Make sure to go back and read that one.  It speaks of the traveling experience in an entirely different way.  In the meantime, here's some shots of the nice beach we found (served corn on a stick by a friendly Thai man, we'd had coconuts earlier).

Time to get a sunburn

Definitely one of the nicest beaches I've been to

Salted corn...
... on a stick

becomes art in the sand

A guest in our beach bungalow, Mr. Millipede

The ants joined us for breakfast and made short work of this tiny drop of honey.
David J Parker

1 comment:

  1. I'm all caught up on your posts now! Glad you are safe and dry! I'm so glad to hear that you are taking every opportunity to expand your mind, David. As always! Rad that you are involving your study in so much social evolution and philosophy. Can't wait to have more discussions with you this summer! Taylor and I are going to come back to Saskatoon for part of July ;) Miss you guys! This city doesn't feel the same without you! I'm headed west come Thursday morning. I'll hug a tree for you hippies.