Tag Archives: the difficulties of travel

Version 0.63 (Finding Routine)

05/07/19

Last day on Koh Lanta. Shouldn’t really even be writing that. Ideally I’d be on my way off the island in an hour rather than something like four hours. It’s not a full day here, but that’s not the point. Claudio said he would arrange the minibus for me, then this morning claims he thought I was leaving tomorrow and said something about minibuses being all booked, but maybe I could book something with a travel agent up the street. Not sure if he’s just playing dumb because he doesn’t like my photos*, or doesn’t care, or genuinely made a mistake because he didn’t listen to me yesterday. Anyway, the situation is what it is, and I’ve booked transportation myself. I’m staying in Krabi tonight, then a quick drive to the airport the following morning for a short flight to Kuala Lumpur.

I must say I’m happy to get a move on off this island, though I am at last feeling rather comfortable here having developed a bit of a routine. I’m looking forward to a change in structure in my life, and an adjustment in accomodation, though I don’t imagine that it’ll be a huge change; I’m just hoping for consistent air conditioning.

When I first arrived here a whole week ago and showed up at the hostel it wasn’t long before I realized that there was nowhere to find respite from the oppressive heat, at least not in the hostel (until 7pm, when a/c in the dorm rooms was turned on), but it seemed to me that after a day or two of being here there was absolutely nowhere to go, with the exception of a couple of cafes, and this left me with limited time, not a lot of flexibility, and having to formulate a schedule for myself. However, formulating a schedule is easier said than done when one is uncertain about what one’s “employer” might ask of him, and when. This left me somewhat on edge and uncomfortable—what can and can’t I do, and how much time might I be able to allot myself for any given thing? Of course after a few days I realized it didn’t much matter what I did; there was no schedule, and Claudio, from what I could ascertain, expected nothing from me but that I would get the photography done. Once I came to this realization I was finally able to relax and create a daily routine for myself. This of course was only to last a few days as my stay was only a week, but that simple plan that developed is the thing that kept me from falling into despair, kept me sane, and gave me some sense of joyful productivity from time to time. And video chatting with Huyen. That was one of the loveliest of pleasures.

Soon I will be in Kuala Lumpur working a regular six hours a day and probably struggling to fit all my projects into each. However, one day at a time!

Bit by bit!

 

 

*update: basically no photos used anywhere: haha. Oh well. There is one of a beach seascape on his Facebook page, but since updating his website there are none. I’m going to post them below so that you might peruse if you wish.

Version 0.62 (Claudio the Clown)

05/04/19

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.**

[Later]
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.