Thursday, January 10, 2013

Travelogue Phuket 2012 - Exploring -2

Vacations are about stepping out of a door, locking it and throwing away the key till u want to open the door and walk back in again.

The thing about them is, given that, you manage to take a break from the regular routine and forget completely all of those worries and questions from everyday mundane life, that the poor mind goes through to sort out some problem or the other that is plaguing it, you end up finding for yourself the leisure of musing.

Musing! Ah!! and you must be wondering what the heck, because the whole point of taking a vacation is to get away from all the overdrive thinking we do everyday.

That is my point, vacations give u the leisure to muse randomly when u wish to and not at all if u don't wish to. And that is precisely the reason that these random musings, when they rarely do happen, even if they don't leave u with any solutions, they at least leave u with a clearer perspective of your problems. Quite sometimes I have found in these ramblings, conclusions that have given poor mind a break(even if it last for a few moments or days) from that crazy tug of war of finding solutions and this feeling is nothing short of bliss.

This vacation gave me quite a few moments of such peaceful ramblings as I went exploring.

We checked out The weekend market, that takes place in Phuket Town every weekend, it's an extensive market offering a huge variety of goods ranging from clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, tech stuff, local handicrafts and street food. In short a shopper's heaven. It's such a pity I am no longer a shopaholic, because If I had been I would have got lost in those tiny lanes, explored them in and out and emerged hours later loaded with bags and bags of my loot. The food smelled yummy too, we tried a few kebabs and pickles which were great. I am sure we would have discovered a few more interesting things hiding within some corner there but because we were short of time we did not linger around for long.
(Tip - to get the best deals, u have to haggle and the best way to do it, is to bring the price down to half of what was quoted and then bargain)

@ The weekend market

After the weekend market, we went to explore Patong. Now that I think of it, had it not been for Jacob, I doubt if I would have ever gone there, because it definitely was not on my exploring list and I need to thank him for that experience. It was a Saturday, and the place was in it's full element, not that it would have been less vibrant, noisy, crowded or happening if it had been any other day, because I doubt if Patong ever sleeps at night.

It's an experience, at night, Patong is. Not to be missed. Unforgettable and yet forgettable. Colorful, lit, bright, noisy, alive, thronged by scores and scores of people, lined by countless pubs, diners, bars, strip clubs, go - go bars. It hits u in full force and seduces the unsuspecting traveler within you with it's charm.

I remember telling Jacob, as I stepped on it's main street, Bangla road, that this is my kind of place, I could party here endlessly, get lost and not be found. We walked down the main street, crossed over and went to the huge street food market along the beach, checked each and every stall (all the while depriving poor Jacob of a decent dinner to sample the street food, of which in the end I sampled only a little ), checked out the fine-diners across the street food markets, caught a glimpse of a beach side concert, released a sky lantern, sat on the beach, saw fireworks (also saw a man pee right on the beach !!!!!! really!!!), explored more and sometime during this, the spell that Patong had weaved over me broke and the illusion got over. I had seen through the beautiful mask of Patong, into the layers within. It wasn't hideous, but it wasn't beautiful either and it certainly wasn't charming or a place I could remain lost into. I don't think I will ever fall under the spell of Patong again. I may go back there, I may spend a night sitting and drinking in one of those roadside bars, dance at one of those discs and enjoy myself, but I won't ever be deluded by it.

Patong - lit and vibrant

The Banana Crepe - yummmm

One of the countless many bars

letting go


I believe it's charm lies in the bubble of illusion it creates and offers to you as an escape from reality, u walk dazed in that illusion while it lasts, but the moment the bubble breaks, u can only but recollect it as a haze. Maybe I have not experienced life enough to understand, what kind of entertainment do people find in those go-go bars, baton bars in the alleys or what companionship can they get by watching belly dancers or what solace can loneliness find by sleeping with a sex worker or how noise and crowd can substitute for music and the spirit of fun. But, having experienced it, all I can say is that Patong, at night, with all it's glory is nothing but a fantasy, but still a fantasy worth experiencing once.

But I still have some beautiful memories from that night and oddly enough, none of them are of those colorful, bright noisy streets and places I went to. I remember the delicious, mouth watering, melt in mouth crisp Banana crepes ( a thai street food special and I can't thank Jacob enough for introducing me to them, I can still taste them melting in my mouth) and the crispiness of the spring rolls I had had at one of the stalls. I remember releasing my sky lantern and watching it hover in the air, feeling scared as it wavered a bit and threatened to crash and feeling delightful when it ultimately rose and went far away into the sky. I remember saying a silent prayer in that moment, for dreams, mine, of the dear friend next to me and of all those countless people who dare to dream, that they may rise, come true and shine like this lantern and light up the lives of people they reach

But the most clear memory that I have of that night is of sitting quietly next to Jacob on the sand, removed far away from the noise and glamour of Patong (which was just a few paces away), staring far into the darkness and listening to the waves wash on the beach, the sound of the sea, lighted by the darkness of the night, both of us lost in our own thoughts.

I sat there contemplating the uncertainties of life and the realization that even with all these uncertainties, one could still find peace, and that peace cannot come by trying to escape from reality into the make believe, rather that peace can be found in the night, the wind, the sound of waves, the stars shining above, the sun rising, the flowers, the singing birds, the sound of laughter or even in silence, the moment when we close our eyes, tune off the pointless clutter and surrender ourselves into the arms of nature. Because peace comes from within us, it comes when we are at peace with our own self and till then no matter how far and how long we may wander, we shall still not find what we seek.

For a moment then I had found peace, though I have lost it again now and I shall wander on in search of it, I know now that it's not as elusive as it seems, thanks to the musings at leisure.


Elena said...

Kyra there is so much that is beautiful in your words and photos! Thank you for sharing...

Victoria said...

Patong sounds like it is like New Orleans at Mardi Gras time, only Patong is that way continually. I only went to a Mardi Gras celebration once and never want to do it again. Still, it was an experience I'm glad I had...



Kyra said...

@Elena thank you :)

@Victoria Haven't ever heard about it, but will read about it :)

Samaresh Biswal said...

nice trip log

Karen L R said...

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Your photos are wonderful...such adventures you have had.

Kyra said...

@Samaresh thanks for the read :)

@Karen thank you :)

Relyn Lawson said...

Oh! Oh, I want to pack my suitcase and join you.