The Beach

Trip Start Feb 28, 2011
Trip End Jun 01, 2011

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Flag of Thailand  , Phuket,
Saturday, March 12, 2011

I ended up in Patong Bay, a combination of all things crazy. It's truly the city that never sleeps with busy streets, shops, bars, anything and everything. My first day I was walking back to my hotel and got caught in a type of rainstorm so powerful I thought the world was coming to an end. I ran to the closest cover while it downpour ensued. I turned around to my surprise; I ended up in a Thai massage parlor. For the first few minutes I was able to avoid the calls to come inside for a "Thaiiiiii massssssaaaggge". But the rain didn't stop and it was only seven USD for a one-hour Thai massage. I had no idea what a Thai massage was but I quickly found out. I was laying on the floor and this women about 4 feet tall had me in a full nelson with her feet in my back and the camel clutch like she was a professional wrestler. I will say though it was the best massage and seven dollars I ever spent.

Ever since watching the movie The Beach many years ago, I have always pictured this amazing island located in the Andaman Sea off the coast of Phuket. In the movie Leonardo DiCaprio travels to Thailand and is given a secret map, which he decides to follow along with some new friends. They leave Bangkok in search of something more and travel across the country to a boat that takes them as close as they can get until they decide to swim the rest of the way. My journey was similar but not quite as dramatic. I do feel like I was given a map somewhere along the way but my map wasn’t tangible. At nine in the morning I boarded a small cruise boat that took us to an even smaller boat that made its way into Maya Bay. It is a small island somewhere in the Andaman Sea with a tiny beach and 75% natural rock formations. The geological structure blocked the beach from the sea and created an incredible lagoon. There was a little entranceway for boats and it looked just like how Leo found it. Pulling up to that beach was one of those surreal moments for me. I had a picture of this lagoon in my head for years and for it to finally manifest in real life was awesome. The tour then continued onto Phi Phi Island and ended with a two-hour boat ride home. Miami-Detroit-Hong Kong-Singapore-Phuket-Mini Bus-Cruise Boat-Small Boat-The Beach.

It has been about ten years since the last time I was on a scooter and by no means are they hard to ride. But this wasn’t a normal scooter ride. The first thirty seconds was careening down a steep hill, dodging huge trucks, all whilst donning a way too small helmet. After the initial shock I realized it was a great eight dollar investment for the day. I took the scooter to Surin Bay beach, about twenty minutes from my new hotel. I left my first hotel in Patong Bay and decided to stay in Kalim Bay, which is a little further north with less people and less shops around. It was great to see the island by scooter and all the major roads weave up and down rocky cliffs overlooking incredibly clear ocean water.

The food in Thailand is an experience and I think I ate pad thai just about every night. One of my favorite parts of Phuket was when I decided to go for a run along the ocean. It was a great run and a 6'9 white guy with his shirt off with a huge tattoo running through the streets and beaches of Thailand defiantly got a lot of looks. I remember one guy high fived me and yelled "you big." I felt like the Thai version of Rocky.

At one point during my time in Phuket I remember looking for something in my hotel. I was tearing my suitcase apart and going through my backpack but couldn't find it. I was opening dresser drawers and even the refrigerator. To this day I can't remember what I was looking for but I opened up a desk drawer in the hotel and there was a book named The Teaching of Buddha. I figured if I was looking for something that wasn’t that important and this book literally appeared in my hands. that it’s more than just a coincidence. Usually if a book comes across my path I open it up to a "random" page and read a line from it to determine if I should read it. The line I read made me realize that I needed to continue reading this book. I asked the front desk if I could buy it and they told me it’s free and I could take it.

"A fool who thinks that he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man.  The fool who thinks that he is wise is called a fool indeed."-Buddha
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