Published: February 2nd 2011January 3rd 2011
The Tao of Pooh
is a book written by a man named Benjamin Hoff. The book is intended as an introduction to the eastern belief of the power of Tao, home of the black & white Ying & Yang symbol, written for the ears of us Westerners. Laying down how the Universe works in layman's terms, it employs the fictional characters of A. A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh stories to explain the basic principles of philosophical Taoism. The book starts with a description of The Vinegar Tasters which is an actual painting, portraying the three great eastern thinkers - Confucius, Buddha & Laozi. All mulling over a vat of vinegar & each tasting the "Vinegar Of Life". Confucius finds it sour, Buddha finds it bitter but Laozi, the traditional founder of Taoism, finds it satisfying. A bit like Goldilocks' porridge but with a couple of extra dimensions. The story then unfolds to back up this analogy. There's an air of logic to it if you look deep enough as our lives are a series of crossroads, guidance toward taking the right turn may well make a difference in how life pans out. I can relate to Pooh as stuffed toys or indeed their
translators, are often not as stupid as they look.
This coincidentally relates very well to many individual experiences of the island of Ko Tao. As its geared up mainly as a dive resort island, not something that floats everyone's boat, some who arrive here are liable to leave negative comments on these pages. Specifically those who have wished not to immerse themselves under a hundred feet or more of crystal clear sea, to break free of the gravitational environment in which we sub-exist and take a taste of a world which is alien to us but pretty much covers two thirds of the planet - hence being more Normal than the surface bourne activities that we are used to. They often comment that if you ain't diving, theres not much to do. I disagree. Just as you don't need to be a horse to enjoy a day at the races, there's no reason not to feed off the vibe & atmosphere you get from a place that gives so much to so many even if you are not a direct participant. There really is something for everyone here without having to look too hard.
I Am Too & I'm Actually There!
Our eventual 90 minute crossing from Phangnan was swift and smooth although the small human had somehow managed to chunder off the back of the upper rear deck splattering some poor soul below across the arms. The anonymous owner of the limbs certainly noticed pretty sharpish & disappeared instantly, apologies to whoever that was but as it was following the fish soup from earlier in the afternoon - we put it down to being an Act of Cod. Within a couple of minutes of setting foot ashore we had scored a taxi pick-up to take us to our prebooked Bit Of Posh - true to form, at a mere 36 hours late & in the dark we arrived at Sairee Hut. Sometimes you get a better hit when turning up somewhere new late at night as you get the initial WOW! Factor on arrival when first checking out where you are, followed by the secondary Gobsmack in the morning when the full beauty of the surroundings is revealed in daylight. This place did not disappoint. A spot of air conditioning, proper hot water, a bath & satellite TV, crisp fresh cotton sheets on a luxury bed are small points that
Supporting The Local Community.
But Just As You Think the Weight Of The World Has Been Lifted From Your Shoulders, This Happens.
don't go un-noticed after a short while of being without.
The principle point of our visit here was to allow the big fella do a 3 day course improving on his basic PADI licence doing some caves, shipwrecks and a night dive while the girls & I checked out the eye candy on the beach & got a tan top-up. Due to one of his ears not working at all since the day before we had left the Cold Place & despite over medication of said problem to no avail, dipping down deep was not going to be an option. Shame Shame But Dissident being the attitude of the day, we took the opportunity to see as much as we could of this compact paradise island and straight away sorted out booking for an extra day to extend our time here to four after breakfast. Luckily we had engineered a spare two day window in the diary towards the end of the trip so the gap was nicely filled at just the right time.
The first full day was a local affair. Strolling along the 2km soft sandy palm fringed beach
Beware The Zombies
These Derranged Young People Believe They Are 18 Metres Below The Surface & Will Tread On Your Camera Without A Thought.
in the very welcome blue skied sunshine which, although littered with resort beach bars & restaurants still held an Old Skool feel to it. Somehow a bit like Samui used to be before Corporate Tourism kicked in & spoiled it. Stopping for drinkies at Bans, one of the premier dive joints with an excellent beachside bar, we couldn't help but notice a bunch of novice divers doing a Walk Through
routine of a navigational dive. With one arm outstretched & the other staring blankly at the compass on the other wrist they marched blindly across the sand, the beach furniture & anyone in their way as if in some kind of homage to the Dawn Of The Dead or the Hitler Youth movement of the 1930s. Dead funny. The way back was along what they euphemistically call a road but is not much wider than a regular car, only really used by pedestrians & the plethora of scooters available for hire around here. It serves its purpose well all the same. A few good bars, laundry shops & the occasional Seven-Eleven covering most needs without feeling too much like civilisation has set in. Making our way to our pad at
Marketing Manager Required
The Signs Are Bad At Some Resorts Around Here.
the north end of the beach for some scram then out to Choppers, a popular Aussie bar for more beers & some light relief live music from a duo called Fur Coat & No Knickers or something like that.
Ko Tao Rocks. It looks good, it feels good & by golly - It does you good too! Its rare to find somewhere that is so very easy to instantly fall in love with. It feels just like a Thai island used to & indeed still should. Even when the blue skies are dotted with fluffy clouds there's no need to worry - its nothing cirrus. Come here for the Scuba thing if that's your bag but worry not about being bored if you don't want to get too wet as long as you have the attitude and Spirit of Tao.
There are more photos below