I think about that a lot – ways of coping. Reading this blog and/or my facebook page, you may ask why? An honest question. In the interest of PC politics and friendly international relations, I keep most public comment to the positive side, of which there is much to share. However, there are days and incidents that do leave me wondering, just what am I doing here and what exactly my motivation was. Topics for another blog.
Daily, my journal gets me through the day. It is a beautiful leather bound book, a gift from Diana and inspired by Kelsey! In my own small way, it is my daily work of art preserving memories. This blog is another chronicle of this journey. Sharing with you is a helpful way to relive and remember the high points. Access to the internet at work and more recently through an aircard keeps me connected to other PCVs and to friends and family at home. Being a PCV years ago must have been that much more challenging, not having easy access to your previous life.
Recently, I have added a new method of coping with the demands of a PCV life, and yes, even in Thailand it is a healthy challenge! Bai dtiao…a vacation! PC imposes travel restrictions as we get to know our new communities, a restriction recently lifted. Emails between PCVs announcing travel destinations have been flying. It is a popular coping mechanism! I traveled south, to Ko Phi Phi and met 3 PCV buddies – Deborah, Pam, and Julia. The travel itself was an adventure as I took an all night bus, a taxi, plane, another taxi, and ferry to reach my destination. It was well worth the time and occasional aggravation.
Ko Phi Phi is located in the Andaman Sea off of Krabi, Thailand. It is a small island with only one small town and no roads traversing one end to the other. Transportation is primarily by boats called long tails, a part of the charm. Our small group opted for luxury as we escaped our daily lives, staying at the Holiday Inn, yes the Holiday Inn. A 4 star luxury resort at the far end of the island that featured a beautiful white sand beach we stepped out of our room onto. Right in front of our room we snorkeled amid a colorful display of tropical fish. One pink and yellow one was a biter as it protected its turf – I was bitten 3 times! The water was crystal clear and so warm and buoyant, an invitation to swim and float again and again. One of the four days we left our sanctuary to shop and kayak to Monkey Beach, snorkeling and visiting with the family of monkeys. A highlight was a farang lunch of a tuna melt, French fries, and a beer! Not very local, but oh so good. A Thai massage on our beach, sunset drinks at the hill top Sunset Bar, amazing meals, and R & R with good friends rounded out a perfect first Thai bai dtiao. And while I agree with PC that it is important to have a strong presence in our communities, I also think a happy PCV is a productive PCV. Traveling and treating myself to occasional trips, connecting with friends and rejuvenating will be a definite part of this PCVs service!
Long tail boat
Outside our bungalow
View from Sunset Bar
A seafood feast!
Julia and Deborah on Monkey Beach