Back at the cafe I’ve been breakfasting at since I’ve been on Koh Lanta. Kinda wish I was staying here rather than at Claudio’s (they also rent bungalows on their property), but if I think I’m spending a lot of money now, I don’t know what would be going through my head if I was staying here. Probably wouldn’t be enjoying these nice breakfasts. There is always a trade-off somewhere.
I can’t make up my mind about Claudio’s place, Claudio himself, and the “work” I’m doing to stay there free of charge. The photography work I’m doing for him is worth far more than the 120 baht—or $4—per night he is currently charging guests, and because I’m not even being fed, the difference in not paying for accomodation is being made up for in buying breakfast. The positive flip of that of course is that I’ve found this place with a/c to enjoy each morning, it’s work that I can say I’ve done, and really, it’s easy enough. However, his hostel is just not the place to be this time of year. With a/c only available in dorm rooms (common enough in more budget places) and only between the times of 7pm and 9am, there is nowhere to repair to to cool down besides a couple of tables near a few wall-mounted fans.
Claudio as well is beginning to become a bit of a pain in the ass. This mainly jovial Italian fucker when he speaks to me is almost always complaining about tenants past and present (I know that sounds contradictory: jovial but complaining). It makes me wonder why he bothers to run a hostel at all, because it doesn’t seem like he enjoys the work particularly. He does like talking, however…
Claudio is something of a fascinating person, though. A bit of a jack-of-all-trades-master-of-none type. I helped him disassemble his old vinyl sign that hangs outside advertising the hostel. He built the frame himself, and that’s still in good shape, but the old vinyl sign has become quite sun-faded, and due to certain legalities he wanted to change the order of some of the descriptors on it in order to avoid possible trouble, so he had a new sign printed, and after removing the old one we reassembled it with the newer, brighter, more appropriately worded sign. Obviously running a budget business of any kind requires having some knowledge and know-how with regard to keeping things running—repairs, renovations and the like being necessary from time to time.
He’s a genuinely likeable person. I just wonder if he’s lonely with his wife away on holiday. All he has for regular company is his layabout of a step-son, though he’s either sleeping or has his face in his phone, and his cat. (and honestly I think the cat makes better company.)
I was photographing the common area this morning before leaving for breakfast and Claudio was cleaning like he does every morning and was in a genuinely good mood….
*the journal trails off here. I suspect this was when I met and had a conversation with a woman, an American, who sat down near to me asking about other cafes in the area that would be open through the low season, as the one we were regularly visiting, and in which one of the bungalows she was staying, would be closing in a couple of weeks.**
Lil swim today. Brief but meaningful texts with Huyen earlier. Went for a beach jog before the swim. Was nice enough. Just wanted to get out and kill some time. Can only sit for so long, and clothing oneself in anything more than a loincloth here is, frankly, madness. One would hope that a dip in the ocean would be refreshing and reinvigorating but as this is the tropics, it was anything but—just much too warm, like bathwater. Still pleasant enough, though. And fun.
Why it is that I take so long to find a routine that is satisfying is something that I should work to understand. I suppose it has not been long, only four days, but taken into consideration with the fact that I am here for just a week, that seems much too long. But, really, vacations are generally anything but routine. The vast majority go on vacation to escape from routine, from the mundanity of their daily existence. Of course I am not truly on vacation, and my life is currently not in any real, meaningful, definable routine for the most part. I am actively searching for routine though, as it is a comfort, and while I am becoming more comfortable with this mode of existence of mine currently, I am still not so comfortable to not crave some semblance of normalcy, read: routine, in my life.
**We got along quite well, and I bumped into her again at another cafe the day I was to leave. She’s a truly inspiring individual, and we are still a bit in touch via WhatsApp and Instagram, which, if you want to follow her (recommended, though she doesn’t update that much) just click the link. She is still on Koh Lanta Yai, and has made quite a life for herself there. I hope to bump into her again one day.