Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Slipping Into Routine

Chang is such a laidback, relaxing place; it’s easy to get stuck there for a while. There’s not much to do, so if you’re looking for excitement I’d give it a swerve. But if you like peace and quiet, stunning sunsets, beautiful wildlife and silence save for the waves breaking on the shore…then this place is for you. The boats only drop off and collect people twice a day and, as there are no taxis on the island, they’ll drop you on the beach of your choosing. It feels so remote, World War III could be raging beyond Burma, and you wouldn’t know a thing about it. Wouldn’t that be nice? Not WWIII, obviously…just avoiding the depressing news that would inevitably accompany it. Besides, I didn’t see a single TV you could have watched it on.

As such, my days followed a routine. Up at sunrise (or later if Gan’s bong had anything to do with it) for a pastry at the Aussie bakery, then a day of wandering round the island, avoiding big snakes and swimming on various beaches. Evenings were invariably spent at Gan’s place, taking over the sound-system, drinking beer and smoking copious amounts of Thai grass.

We were sat around one evening at around 8pm. Mil looked over his shoulder at the sound of a boat, and peered into the dusk to identify it. “You hungry?” he asked. I grinned and nodded. He hardly waited for my reply before scampering off down the beach to his friend’s boat, and returned with two bowls full of squirming shrimps. They were whisked straight off to the kitchen while we continued to smoke. Fifteen minutes later we’re dipping them in fresh chilli sauce and guzzling them down. You don’t get seafood any fresher than that. Delicious.

Gan told me he was having a party in a few days. I’d planned to head to Ko Phayam and then South to spend some time on Langkawi before heading to Sydney for New Year. But I was enjoying this place so much, that I decided to stay. A week on Phayam, and I could get another 15 day visa and continue at a more leisurely pace. Besides, any excuse for a party, eh?

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