On January 28, while our DTS returned to San Francisco for debriefing, we headed south for our own time of rest and reflection. Altogether we spent 9 days on Pi Pi Island, and 5 days on Lanta Island. Gorgeous. Refreshing. Affordable :). Just what we needed to re-energize before settling into language study back here in Bangkok. Most of our days consisted of waking up late and spending most of the morning reading scripture, journaling, or listening to some fabulous teaching from Urbana on our ipods. After a friendly lunch of green curry (kaeng keowan), we might spend some time in the ocean snorkeling, reading a mystery, sitting on a beach, or playing cards (after 76 rounds Kashmira was only ahead by 300 points!) Dinner might be fried fish followed by friendly conversation and a moonlit walk or more cards. One day we decided to try and walk around the entire island._This ended up being a little bit more challenging than we anticipated -_we had a lot of fun “bouldering”, or_doing some basic rock climbing, in the midst of discovering some truly amazing hidden beaches – but in the long run we didn’t complete our quest._In fact, about half-way through our journey we had to be “rescued” by a kayak because there was no way to get around one of the cliffs we encountered. Perhaps_the most interesting part of the entire adventure, though, was_walking_into “Pi Pi Island Village” from the wrong direction. The village is a high-end tourist haven – everything a foreigner expects of paradise, from swimming pools to palm trees to spas to invidual air conditioned bungalows. But in order to make this very “non-Thai” paradise exist there is an entire town filled with service staff and support services for the service staff. Seriously, an entire town! And honestly, that town, which most visitors will never see because of the “staff only” sign at its entrance, was the only part of the entire_island that really felt_”Thai” – probably because that town was the only part of the entire island where Thai people did not have to cater to foreign tastes and were free to be themselves!
Just_a few_observations on paradise…___