Monday, May 23, 2011

Elephant Island

I haven't had the best Internet access so I haven't been able to update as much as I would like to but let me just say I am having an amazing time. Here's a back track of what I've been doing. Brittny had to go back to the states before she could join us on our trip so Liz, Laura and I went to Koh Chang which is an Island  south of Bangkok.
First view of Koh Chang from the ferry
Koh Chang or Elephant Island was so amazing and beautiful that I didn't want to leave. The water was a blue that I've never seen before and I loved to sip my morning coffee while I looked out on the endless skyline. Beach life is definitely for me. At first I had a strange feeling and I couldn't figure out what it was. I realized after a couple of days that it was the feeling of no stress. I didn't wear a watch or shoes the entire time and I slept better than I have in years.
The food was amazing too. We mostly ate ate our bungalow's little place but a few spots down from us was a great bbq place. We just picked what we wanted from the spread and they grilled it up for us. We had fresh tuna and red snapper. Great shishkebabs with pineapple, hot peppers and chicken in a spicy rub. It was so good my mouth waters just thinking about it now.
All of our yummy choices for din din
Red Snapper
We did do more than eat.... not much more but some. We went snorkeling around four islands and that was interesting. I have always love the water and snorkeling has been a lifelong dream of mine. I was torn between my interest in snorkeling and the fact that all of the coral that I saw was brown and dead because of the pollution from the boats. I honestly didn't think of the terrible ecological impact that those daily tours have until I saw it close up. I will go snorkeling again but I want to make sure it's in a more Earth friendly way. I found myself singing songs from The Little Mermaid and Bedknobs and Broomstick the entire time I was snorkeling. The fish were close enough to touch and the sea urchins looked like beautiful works of art left on the sea floor. It was beautiful and it isn't even the brilliant colors of a live coral bed.
Unda da sea

I love the sea urchins
Here fishy fishy fishy
We got to know the staff pretty well and had some enlightening conversations with them. Most of the people who work on the island are Cambodian and came to Thailand because they can make so much more money than at home. How much money you ask? 1500 baht a month. That is equal to about $45.00 a month. Yeah you read  that right. Don worked an average of 17 hours a day, every day to make what the three of us spent on one meal. He still has family in Cambodia so he makes sure to send about half of his salary home every month for his sister to go to private school so that learn English. He learned English completely by interacting with the customers at his restaurant.  Can you really imagine living on $20.00 a day even let alone a month. It really helped remind me that even when I feel like I have no money and compared to my friends who have a car, house, big TV, stereo system or all of those other must haves. I am still rich compared to most people in the world. It was very humbling to have conversations with the men who worked so hard to move from doing laundry to one of the "best paying jobs" of being a waiter all for pennies really. I know that their stories and words will stay with me as I navigate my way through the rest of this trip and my life.

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