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Published: December 24th 2015
Sometimes you are cruising along in life, your theme song playing in the background is Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime and then suddenly things go all Alanis Morisette and everything blows up in your face. There's nothing Ironic, its disgusting, dehumanising, aging and a reminder of how dirty people can play. Its a place where you are stuck in a legal minefield and everything is being taken away from you - most importantly, for me, the attempt to take my freedom. The ability to always have a trip on the horizon and my golden ticket AKA passport in my handbag just in case I happened to be driving past an airport if the whim should take me.
Its a place where there are colours you never thought you would see that have no name because they don't deserve one. When my boys were younger they used to watch Never Ending Story, their little eyes filling with tears at the scene where the hero's horse becomes stuck in the sorrows.....the infinite sorrows....a swamp of lawyers, legislation, lies and knives in your back. My life was suddenly no longer mine to write the script to, held up in Arbitration commissions and
hearings. Semi Colon.
On hold. You cannot leave the country. You will attend this meeting, you will see this medico. You will become a number on a case file.
No...I wont. Not for long, not to the beat of your drum and not at the cost of myself. I realised Id lost myself when my darling friend suggested I go somewhere because....Id become a person even I didnt like or recognise. An angry person in a swamp of sorrows caged with lies.
The moment it began to end I knew I had to get out of this house, out of this country and go and find me again. So I did. My niece works for Virgin Australia as a stewardess and I was sitting on Facebook tormenting myself on the pro's and cons of buying a Ducati when I saw her check in at the airport. I messaged her and within 20 minutes I had staff flights booked to Phuket less than 48 hours later. Phuket actually makes me even angrier, like Kuta in Bali makes me angry, but it was ok, because Phuket wasn't my destination, Ao Nang in Krabi was. I booked a ferry ticket
the morning after touchdown online and filled the fridge for the boys, asked the neighbours to water the garden and threw a few clothes in my dive bag.
Last time I went through customs they had rolled out a new border control logo and scanning system and were not happy with the state of my passport. I am extremely happy with it, it looks extremely well used as a passport should and how it ended up looking slightly tye dyed goes back to sitting on top of a floating brothel in Sabang in the Philippines. Luckily this time the young guy at the immigration desk didnt seem to want to hassle me about my passport and within the blink of an eye I was in Thailand. My flight got in mid afternoon which gave me time to head around to Nai Yang to find my favourite restaurant The Octopus Garden now gone, a victim of national parks being kept national parks not for restaurants and deck chairs. Not much had changed in Nai Yang, even Bloody Jack was exactly where I new I would find him. Bloody Jack is the local drug dealer/wanna be gangster who has made multiple
appearances in my thailand blogs as I always seem to bump into him. Ive crossed paths with Bloody Jack from Chang Mai to Bangkok to Phuket...always the same, what a mess Jack, clean your act up. His once PASTA bar is still in the same place now correctly spelled RASTA bar and as usual has no customers or alcohol. In the last 5 years Jack has gotten off the Ice and accumulated a couple of children and a lot more tattooed on eyeliner, making him look like a kinky Alice Cooper ladyboy gangster. He's good value is Jack, while the Octopus Garden has gone and Nai Yang is still deserted, at least Jack is still there.
I withdrew some Baht, had a drink with Jack and headed back to the Phuket Airport Villas for an overnighter before the early morning ferry to Krabi. Slept well enough and made it to the ferry on time. I took my seat knowing my happy place was only a two hour ferry ride away, noticing a grumpy looking guy squeezing his way into the seat in front of me. Grumpy Guy got up and went outside to sit on the deck and have
a cigarette, which I thought wasn't a bad idea either. He asked me for a light, I asked him where he was going. ANYWHERE away from Phuket was his answer. I asked him why he was going to Ao Nang and he told me his travel agent had booked it for him, telling him he would like it after a week of fun and nightlife in Phuket. He said his travel agent had a lot to answer for because he hated Phuket and all he wanted was a holiday under a palm tree where no one was trying to sell him anything from cocaine to boom boom to tailored suits.
Sitting on the ferry deck cutting across the Andaman Gulf Mr Angry explained he was just ..bloody angry...because he hadn't had a holiday for 22 years and for the last 5 years had been working away to try and break even to get his holiday with palm trees and white sand beaches. I told him I was bloody angry too. Over the next week we both got a lot of talking done about why we were angry and realised, we weren't actually angry anymore. But it took Ao Nang
to do that.
Ao Nang holds a special place in my heart, its my happy place and my do nothing place. In the year that has passed since my last blog I did go on another liveaboard trip (a blog yet to come) but liveaboard diving is not a holiday, its a quest. 4 or 5 dives a day, your life is ruled by the ringing of the dive bell. Hours underwater daily tend to make you very tired. I needed time to just sit and do nothing. So did Mr Angry. I gave him my phone number as the ferry docked at Nopparattara and said if he wanted some ideas on what to do around here to give me a call as Id been here a time or two before. We shared a tuk tuk dropping me off at my secluded older bungalow at Nopparattara which is like a suburb of Ao Nang which is a town of Krabi province.
After I got settled in I arranged to meet Mr Angry at A One, a long established restaurant along the beach that served English and Thai food, thinking he would love the fish and chips, which he
did, comparing them to the UK. We talked about being angry, and why we were both justifiably angry and why we were both here. Just like Jack, fate collides and Mr Angry and I became great friends. I acted as his unofficial and slightly dodgy and teasing tour guide, poking fun at his delicate stomach and reluctance to accompany me to Kruatthara to eat the best thai food in the province. Just like 5 years ago when last I ate there, my mini waitresses were still there and remembered me. He ate a fish and felt a bit delicate, I tore into a plate of mantis shrimp as revenge for that run in with one diving about a decade ago. I dragged him through local markets buying dragon fruit - forgetting to his eyes how this strange fruit and this strange woman had suddenly burst into his life when all he wanted was a quiet holiday.
As the days went on we fell into a routine. Id come up with something to show him that I thought he would like and If I was diving give him some ideas of what to do and contacts for tours. I made
him promise that he would not go to Railay until I was free because, like Ao Nang, Railay is a shiny happy place.....still. For someone who has never seen Railay, its majestic Karsts and magnificent beach must be a huge contrast from what he saw outside his front door in cold old England.
On the long tail over to Railay I stole a glance at his face. I smiled. We went along walking street to Phrang Nga Cave where there are hundreds of Phallic symbols appeasing the goddess. The goddess must have gotten the words up about tourists and has a sign outside her cave wishing good karma on those who clean the beach and respect the ocean. Mr Angry and I picked up more than our fair share of rubbish and other than me throwing a watermelon shake at the bloody monkeys I don't think I could have given someone a better day. The picture of this tropical paradise with palm trees and white sand beaches and no hassles had been in his mind for 22 years, and now it was real. He took thousands of pictures, we swam, I lost my Raybans in the water that has
sadly gotten a lot murkier but luckily found them, we swam, we laughed. Railay is great in low season, there was enough beach for everyone, even the organised tour of Chinese with Immaculate make up, bikinis and swim suits with co-ordinated wraps and shoes and handbags....and i'm in my usual hippy mode shorts, singlet thongs and oh yeah i forgot to brush my hair since Oct 13 2014.
Walking back along walking street to get to the long tails for the last boat trip back to Ao Nang I told Mr Angry..who's name is Chris..about what it used to be like here all those years ago. Dread locked shirtless thai reggae stars stumbled out of the Skunk Bar and started playing frisbee as the sun through the clouds turned everything silver. The boatmen must never get tired of sunset at Railay because they were in no real hurry to go either. We got back to Ao Nang and I was exploring Chris's hotel room and discovered a bath.
Now picture this. There is some middle aged middle class brit who has gone on a holiday hes waited for for 22 years and this is the story he can
tell when he gets back to his local.
"I met a bird from Australia who became my unofficial tour guide and had a bath in my hotel room and shes got a bikie husband about to be deported right back here to where I live"
And me? well, I found a friend, who behaved like an absolute gentleman and I realised I don't want to be angry any more. So I am not going to be. I have taken a year to travel the planet helping people for no return or expectation and simply for the greater good. Money, Meetings, Bricks and Mortar and Boardrooms mean nothing. That is an artificial world with people putting on their masks to play their allocated role. I refuse to suffocate beneath what is nothing but an illusion anyway. Happiness isnt the dollar bill, its the smile on someones face.
Im not angry anymore. And Chris, well, I kind of like to think that hes not angry any more either.
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