Serendipity

© 2012 Tiago Marques

“Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous.” ~ Albert Einstein

Journal, 12 January 2012. Khao Lak, Thailand.

WELCOME TO KHAO LAK.

Khao Lak. Hum, at first glance nothing too exciting…

I easily find the Banana Bungalows that my friend Raul had recommended but they’re fully booked, with the exception of a room for 1,200 baht (£24)… Hell no.

Heading back down the road I stumble across the ad of a new hostel in town, the SeaWeed Hostel. Cool, it’s just nearby, I’ll give it a look.

Sweet! Dorm room looks good and clean, only 250 baht – you’ve got yourself a deal, miss!

I SEE BLONDE PEOPLE.

When someone told me that Khao Lak was a giant resort for German and Swedish millionaires I thought they were blowing the thing out of proportions.

But no. Everywhere I look all I see is blonde men and women… and the kids! Like lemmings, running rampant all over the place!

Viking Steak House“. Okay, I rest my case. These guys could probably overthrow the local government and start a new colony here, there are barely any Thai people around anyway…

WANDERING EYES.

After lunch I pass by the Wicked Café to see if any of Raul’s friends are around.

Josh and Leanne are out and about, only Anja is at the café… Wow, she’s quite the cutey – nice smile, big blue eyes and shinny dark hair falling over one side of her neck, while the other side joins an elegant shoulder line…

(Eh? Right, snap out of it Tiago.)

Anja recommends me a couple of diving shops nearby for me to check out. Sounds good, I’ll have a look at them on my way to the beach.

WANDERING THOUGHTS.

Beach. Dark sands and rocky waters, can’t even comfortably walk into the water without tripping on some stones. What a difference from the crystal waters of Krabi and Koh Phi Phi!… Clearly not the most impressive place yet.

Curious – I’m finding myself assaulted by strange thoughts on why am I travelling, etc… sort of a quiet discomfort and resistance to the present. But this beach is neither good or bad, it just is.

I lay down on the sand and skim through the diving brochures. Hmmm I’ll have the snorkelling around the Similan Islands (2,500 baht) and a wreck diving daytrip (2,800 baht), please. Considering a day diving in the Similan Isles would be 5,200 baht, I guess I’m getting good value for money with these two options, and that way I get to do both snorkelling and diving…

I feel calmer after making this simple decision. My mind detests feeling like we’re getting nowhere or doing nothing, I really need to improve my mental discipline… At least I no longer feel butterflies in my stomach when I leave one hostel and catch a bus to a new destination! That has to be an improvement…

Gorgeous sky, with an amazing game of clouds and sunlight. I take the camera out of my backpack and entertain myself with some shots.

THE SWEDISH GIRL FROM IRAQ.

A girl approaches me and asks if I can take her photo. We start chatting – her name is Isa, from Sweden, and she’s here in Thailand for a week on holiday and doing a scuba diving certificate (like the one I did in Koh Lipe).

Euh… Funny, you don’t look like a lemming? I mean, you don’t look like you’re from Sweden. Ah, you’re originally from Iraq? Guess that explains why you’re not blonde…

I’m quickly drawn to Isa’s cheerfulness and good-humoured conversation. The click is mutual and so we decide to stroll along the place to explore the beach and the lighthouse. I invite her to join me for dinner, I’ll be at 8pm at the Wicked Café.

On my way to the hostel, I find the shop of one of the brochures and buy the snorkelling tour for tomorrow.

THE REST OF THE GANG.

Wicked Café. I finally meet Leanne, Raul’s diving buddy from last year when he was in Khao Lak getting his certificate. Scottish, also very cute and with great energy, I like her the moment we meet.

And what a coincidence – she’s one of the snorkelling instructors from the tour I’ll be going tomorrow?! So cool, what were the odds?…

I also get to meet Josh (her boyfriend?), a surf teacher and rock climbing aficionado, also very relaxed and high-spirited. For some reason he reminds me of this character from a movie… Napoleon Dynamite with a laid back reggae twist…? They invite me to go rock climbing with them soon, yeah why not, maybe I’ll join them.

Isa shows up. Because she’s doing a scuba diving course it’s quick and easy to get her into the conversation. I devour my pizza while she and Leanne totally forget about me and start chatting away…

Later I take a photo of Leanne, Anja and Josh to send to Raul, as a thank you present for recommending me Khao Lak and meeting his friends… These guys really miss him, Raul must have made quite the impression when he was here.

MR. PERFECT.

Isa and I go for a walk and explore what else is around. We find a local stand selling t-shirts and I decide to buy one with some cartoon on it – “Mr. Perfect”? Sounds cheeky, I’ll take it.

Man, I totally suck at this bargaining business!! The lady from the shop asks me 280 baht for the shirt and I (pretending to be offended) say “No, 250 baht!”, and with eyes awed in disbelief she shouts “Sold!”… Bugger. This t-shirt is worth 150, 200 baht max. (Mental note: Tiago, seriously, think before you speak.)

Isa leaves to her hotel and I return to my hostel dorm. I write on my journal until way past midnight… Gonna be sleepy in the morning…

GRATITUDE.

• The present moment.
• Nature, sun, sea.
• Pretty necks and shoulder lines.
• Random encounters.
• Lucky coincidences.
• An ordinary t-shirt called “Mr. Perfect”.

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