Blog December 7, 2011
The varnish on the weathered teak table is soft and worn away completely around big knots in the boards. The simple thick table legs sink a few inches into the sand, but keep their shin. An equally weathered aluminum expresso pot holds rich Italian coffee, a novelty reserved for tourist in this tea drinking culture. I pour this rich dark gift into a small pyrex cup with a clear handle and mix in steamed milk and big brown sugar crystals. My morning begins by the sea with my heart beating under the power of the caffeine injection.
A tire-swing hangs from a fraying nylon rope attached to a low hanging cashew tree whose roots cling to the sandy earth as its trunk and branches reach towards the sea at an unnatural angle. Orchids make their home in the branch joints. The table sits a few feet above the tide thanks to a sea wall built from limestone boulders set in concrete. A half moon bay of sandy beach transitions from mangroves to a thin strip of rocky shoreline that slopes up to rainforest where sea eagles hover like watchful guardians. Miles away beyond the bay and the thin maritime boarder mountainous Berma sits like a ghost in the low hanging morning haze.
The resort restaurant sits beneath stunted caesarian pines. A neatly thatched roof is suspended from concrete pillars molded and painted to mimic the trunks of trees and driftwood branches spring out from the columns to add to the facade. A simple mosaic of pebbles and flat slate stones is set into the uneven concrete floor. Well fashioned teak tables with high backed chairs bring order and hints of class to the beach side eatery. Lightbulbs disguised in bamboo lanterns come on with the generator between 6-10pm.
A pack of short legged dogs with gray bandanas tided around their scruffy necks patrol the beach and grounds. An aging British couple laugh and fall into the water for a blissful morning swim. German murmuring quickly turns into jovial breakfast laughter at the next table. A middle aged women from the resort next-door rolls around in the shallow water like a sensual child. I wonder if she is she hoping, like so many beach goers, to be cured by the sea, sun, salt, and sand? A tan, fit, european man wearing kaki cargo shorts, a neo green sleeveless shirt, and a fanny pack marches up and down the beach with music blaring in his ears and red wraparound sunglasses shielding his eyes. He marches and dances unselfconsciously up and down the beach several times a day. A bald speedo clad German carries a kayak to the water and vigorously sets out for his ritual aerobic morning paddle. The rest of the resort characters willfully retreat to the row of beach chairs shaded by juvenile palms and give into easy fiction.
In a moment the restaurant is on its feet pointing as a family of sea otters dips and surface as they hunt for breakfast. I count six of the slick creatures methodically fishing and moving as a unite towards the north end of Buffalo Bay. I retreat back to my Bungalow in the trees to spend a few hours writing. On the path I encounter three different types of butterfly. I've set up a nice little writing studio for myself with a low table, pillows, shade, and a view of the bay. My restless spell is passing and I've put off making any big leaps and booked four more days at this bungalow. My friend Chris has expressed interest in coming with me to Cambodia around the first of the year, and the offer of a big, manly, well traveled companion on this more difficult leg of travel is hard to resist. So for now I'm spending four focused days of writing before I decide.
Koh Payam, Ranong Province, Thailand