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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Trading one island for another

12 days of being in Paradise, and my visa was running out. When I entered Thailand on the 5th of December my visa was only valid for 14 days. So the expiry date was the 19th, which meant that I had to out of the country by the 18th.. Much to my disappointment. I really didn't want to leave. Everything was just so perfect. The guys and myself had moved to different beaches, checking out the vibes, all in search of isolation. We wanted so badly to be secluded from the world.. And guess when it was that we felt that we had found exactly what we were looking for and exactly what we had envisioned before coming to this island: On the 16th.. so 1 day before I was meant to be moving in the direction of Malaysia. I couldn't believe how soon it was ending and how quickly I had to get my ass into gear and make my way back down to Malaysia, in order to stay on the right side of the law and to avoid a fine for overstaying my welcome. It was on the 17th I had to get the ferry and start the journey that was to last 24 hours. And all going to plan I was to reach my destination in Malaysia by the 18th. Arriving a day later, meant I'd have to pay..

So 12 days of magic, and I was on my way. It was Thursday evening when I had to get the taxi boat and leave the place that took us a while to find. I was sad to leave, but not devastated. I felt happy to have met these people and to have spent such amazing days just talking and learning and being inspired. Other people we met along the way, were all as nice as ever. Sometimes the smiles that are everywhere in that amazing country, can be fake and you sometimes can't be sure if it's all well-intended, but my smiles weren't fake and my intentions were genuine, so I didn't care either way. It was like, at one point, that we were apart of the community. The different beaches we stayed on, were all in the same area of a fishing village on the north coast of the island, called Chaloklum. At one stage, we had a place where we went for tea in the afternoon, and a place for chicken wings when we were peckish and a place for whiskey when we were feeling cold from the wet clothes we were still wearing after getting soaked by a sudden unexpected monsoon-shower. It was so great and to leave was so strange. Everybody knew us everywhere..

But at I was leaving, I was feeling good, I was feeling blessed and I felt so touched by what Kho Phangnang had given me. So getting on the ferry, after having my last meal from the stalls in the main town of Thongsala, wasn't too much of tragedy. It simply was how it was. This was my time again, to open up to meeting new people and to find out if I wanted to come back to this island or to Thailand for Christmas or New Year. I hadn't a clue how I was going to feel, once setting out on my own adventure again. Maybe I'd wanna come straight back to spend a special time of year with these special people. Maybe I'd feel even better being alone. Who was to say..

Well, I can say, 48 hours after leaving that place of paradise, I still feel great. The journey to the island of Penang off the west coast of Malaysia, which is where I'm now sitting, was so cool. So long, but so great. I got the night ferry to Suritani. And I've never experienced anything like this before. It was the tiniest of boats, with 2 floors. The bottom floor was where the crew were hanging out and where the mechanical side of things happened (don't know quite how else to put it..haha) and the top floor was where we were sleeping. I had to climb up a ladder to where the other passengers were. And it turned out to be a room full of mattresses.. That's all.. just mattresses everywhere.. It was so strange. So I was found myself a spot, and soon I'd met myself a friend, who lay down beside me.. (it's sounds strange to say that, but he didn't sit, because there weren't any seats..just mattresses).. He was from Japan, and it was so nice to chat with him. And meeting some so easily and talking so freely as if we had known each other far longer than 5 minutes, I suddenly felt as if I had placed myself, once again, in a situation where things were going to start happening again after 12days of being surrounded by familiarity.. Now I was making things happen again, and it could go in so many different directions. But it was all my own doing, all my own choices, it was all up to me: How long was I was going to stay in Penang, Who was I going to meet, where was I going to spend Christmas, was I going to go back to Kho Phangnang? Who knew? And who knows now? Not a soul..

All I know is that how the past 48 hours have planned out, has been so great. After a 5 hour ferry ride, sleeping with these strangers, and one new friend by the name of .... Kuni.. I got to Suritani and had to wait until 6am for the bus to Hat Yai..then once I got there, I had to wait another 2 hours for the bus to Penang. I finally got here at 6pm yesterday evening and, how lucky am I.. I found myself some new friends who were also looking for a place to stay. So we joined forces in this unfamiliar city, and found Jim's Place. It's a cheap hostel in the middle of the fuss and commotion of this city and I feel at home once again.. I've mainly been hanging out with a Finish guy called Janne, who is learning English and who I'm now teaching English to.. Not in an extreme way, but our conversations are full of new vocabulary for him to learn and it's a real challenge to make ourselves understood by each other. But he's so easy to be around at the same time. He's sitting here beside me now, updating his own Blog!! It was so cool to find someone else who is blogging, just like me.. We've already treated ourselves today to some reflexology and I have also been trying to get back in with the Malaysian cuisine..after having had a bad experience during my first week of the trip with the food here and after adoring the food in Thailand so much.. It's working though, very slowly, but the Malaysian food and the people are redeeming themselves again!

So, it's now a Saturday afternoon. And time is passing by so quickly. I'm delighted to be where I am right now..even if it is raining more than it was in Thailand.. (right now, Malaysia is more effected by the Monsoons). I'm happy here for a few days, until I've come to a conclusion as to what it is I still want to do before I have to leave and where it is I want to go. For now though, having my own time is exactly what I need. It's just perfect..even after believing that I had left perfection back in Kho Phangang.. I haven't though, I've created it once again and am enjoying every minute!

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