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Self practice on Samui

Paradise and the dark...

sunny 45 °C

kohsamui.jpg

Leaving India for Thailand was pretty easy. I didn't realize the flight from Delhi's a mere three hours... The Cathay Pacific flight was beautiful and peaceful. Thailand's not so far from India geographically but culturally its another world. And the thing about Thailand is that I'm not sure what to make of it yet. I think I'd have to stay here a long time to find a pulse, so to speak. The first thing that hits you is the heat. This damp air. And the smells. Theres this odour of rotting food, eggs and meat, that seems to rise from the ground near restaurants. And the smell of holy basil and something feral. The streets are very clean though, you're struck by the lack of rubbish. I think Bangkok would be an ideal home for one of Anne Rice's vampires. Everything works, everythings in order but theres a darkness too. Like a feeling of uncertainty. Because its the polar opposite of India in how everything works. That is, if you want something done, its just done, you don't have to fight for it, or argue, or have a big beaurocratic struggle over it, which is nice. People are very polite and friendly, but you don't feel like you really get to know people as the social niceties seem so entrenched, if that makes sense... And as a woman you don't encounter the same swaggering machismo that you have to get used to in India. Men look you up and down in Thailand too, but you get the feeling they're checking out your outfit more than anything... Thats just an observation, not a value judgment. Its a very easy place to be, and a great place to wind down.

I got in mid morning and went straight out exploring. The guy at reception in my hotel told me that we were right near the temple of the sleeping Buddha, but I didn't make it... I saw myself in a mirror and as I strongly resembled someone who'd just spent months in India I went off looking for a hairdresser. I found this brilliantly camp guy in a shopping mall hairdressers who shouted at me for using henna and got my hair the perfect shade of cherry red again. And I spent a few happy hours looking at shoes in Siam shopping mall and then rode around on the Sky Train. You're not even allowed to drink coffee on the platforms in order to preserve hygiene standards. Its so SO clean. And the air conditioning is fierce, like being in a freezer. So I got back to my hotel with perfect hair and feet and hung around there for a while, ate some Japanese food which was heavenly then got an early night. I got a flight to Koh Samui at 6am the following morning.

The flight to Samui takes about an hour from Bangkok on Bangkok Airways which is touted as 'Thailands first Boutique airline' (whatever thats supposed to mean) and is easy and quicker than the ferry. Getting into Samui is magical- it is such a beautiful little island. heavily forested and the beach views are like something out of 'South Pacific' with distant islands emerging out of the misty horizons. I spent the first three days on Lamai Beach at a resort called 'Spa Beach' which is a 'detox' resort. I had this little hut all to myself, with air conditioning, a king sized bed, lovely shower and balcony for around 15 uk pounds per night. Theres a fresh water swimming pool and a raw food restaurant which was beautiful- they don't just serve raw food though, its all good. I had great coffee and fresh juices every day, beautiful salads, nori rolls, raw chocolate desserts, the works. There were quite a few people fasting. Really skinny dissatisfied looking women (who seem to have decided that if they no longer have their youth being underweights a good compromise which is understandable, considering the screwed up culture we have) and some people losing it entirely. As someone thats done intense detoxes I can attest to the fact that you don't just get a physical detox ache, horrid things happen to your personality too, and you flip out over the most ridiculous things. I think if you're in Paradise, like Koh Samui, you should enjoy yourself. If you're going to live on hot water and lemon juice, you can do that anywhere. And actually just having a rests usually enough of a detox. I caught up with some friends which was really lovely, and met some new people too. I had an amazing tarot reading there, which surprised me, she was really spot on. She's called Abigail and works from the Lamai area and very intuitive, and confident with the cards. And ever since then I've been sleeping really well. And having some vivid and deeply colourful and intense dreams, it feels like some old stuffs been processed in a sense, and a weight lifted.

As for my Ashtanga practice, I kept it up on Koh Samui. As I remember from last time I was in India, its a funny thing; that is, when you're in India you practice and practice and it feels really difficult. If anything you often feel that your practice is going backwards, rather than forwards. But then when you leave India and go practice alone, or in a class, you feel like you're flying, its so much lighter and easier. So I got up on this platform overlooking the beach, in the most idyllic place I've ever been, and did the Primary Series on my own every morning. And it just seemed to flow. And of course, the heat helps, you don't have to wake your body up in the same way in a warmer climate. The next two days in Samui I stayed in the Jungle Club, near Chaweng, a little Thai-French owned resort up in the mountains and there the view was even more amazing. There was a little platform where I could practice again, with this huge panoramic view of the ocean, the islands beyond, and the jungle. It was incredible. And so peaceful.

During the days I explored the island a bit. Chaweng, the main town on Samui is basically so much like one of the Canary Islands... All cocktail bars, English pubs and fake Ed Hardy clothing stalls.. All the shops basically sell the same things and there are millions of them. Cocktails are cheap and very very good. I had some good afternoons drinking mojitos and margheritas with Kate and Hailey- I think of it like treading the middle ground, like the Buddha..... balance.... a few cocktails are OK (i wonder if this theory explains why so many clubs and pubs called 'The Buddha Bar' keep springing up in the UK)... the weird thing is, on Samui, you never seem to get hangovers- maybe its something in the air, because in Mysore if I even had one beer I could barely walk the next day so really had to mainly avoid booze. So Samui is the magical no-hangover Paradise.... The last two days I stayed in the Coconut Grove resort in the far north of the island with Hailey which was lots of fun. They have this amazing narrow 75 metre long swimming pool that was just outside the room. So if you swam 20 lengths it was a kilometer and a half.. So I swam a lot there and we did an awful lot of lying around in the sun too and I even have a tan now, and bikini marks, for the first time since I was about 12. So, as adolfo would say, it was a 'Shanti Shanti' holiday, my first proper beach holiday in 18 years- I don't really tend to do that, as lets face it, its indulgent, and I like to be learning stuff or touring ruins, but this was beautiful. And if you are going to have a beach holiday, Samui's the place to do it. And once you're there its no more expensive than the Canaries.

I think one day I'd like to return to Thailand, as I don't really feel like I learned much at all about the culture. And Samui is very westernized and not really such a Thai place. Its the ultimate chillout though. A place to sleep. eat. relax and have a great time. I spent a further two days in Bangkok before I left. I stayed in the coolest place- a cheap hotel called the '13 Coins' which was inspired by a Seattle steak house where the owner, an entrepreneur, worked in his youth, and so, its got a 1950's American vibe, and the menu is all steaks and pancakes alongside the Pad Thai. Its somewhat bizarre. And theres a Muay Thai boxing ring attached, and loads of attractive young men, mainly from the USA, milling about the place. Theres a big crystal chandaliered reception area open 24 hours with an interesting array of lounge singers employed (Thailand is very keen on lounge music- its all a bit Mike Flowers, they lounge up pretty much all music) and I had a great time drinking iced Chinese tea and people watching. I'm never going to stay anywhere else in Bangkok! I was happy to leave though- the heat is so so so oppressive...

And so the next destinations New Zealand............

Posted by victoria8 14:13 Archived in Thailand Tagged women

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