Day 2: 'Surfing' Khao Lak's frothy waves
Thought about bringing the action camera out with me into the waves, but didn't want to risk losing it. So, douche selfie in black and white is what we get for this post. Photo: Isaac Stone Simonelli
THE wax on the surfboard smelled like bubble-gum flavored toothpaste. I was already questioning the die's judgment on this one. An entire night and day of storms had whipped the ocean's surface into a frothy mess and I was the only one stupid enough to be on the beach, let alone grab a board.
I was dreaming of bursting fire hydrants this morning. I could hear them gushing water as I slowly woke at about 7am. My eyes opened, but the sound of the water didn't fade – it was still storming.
The torrential rain was pounding against the metal roof above my bed. I slipped back into the dream. An hour later, I woke back up. The rain continued, seemingly unaware that time had passed at all.
It's a beautiful moment when you can snuggle under a blanket and listen to a storm all morning, fading in and out of sleep. I decided that today, I would start trying to play catch up on blog posts and sorting out some media issues. I am becoming increasingly aware of the burden of documenting everything as well as I would like to. Everything takes time, from writing to presentation.
Of course, since all day was dedicated to media solutions, I could also sleep in.
We all have crutches in life. Many turn to drugs, alcohol being the most socially acceptable form, others workout and others simply fall into denial.
Me, I sleep. Sleep, picking my nose and masturbating seem to be key coping mechanisms for me. It's an odd combination to say the very least, not exactly what I'd consciously choose. However, after years of watching myself having to cope from time to time, it's clear these are pretty much my go-tos. Given that, it's not really a surprise that I ended up hiding in bed today. The weather, hampering forward progress in a geographical sense, was a bit of a gift.
The rain continued throughout the day, softening and then returning to form with sheets of rain hammering Khao Lak.
In the middle of downloading some video editing software, the power went out. I could still write of course, but I'd already spent the better part of two hours sitting in a bamboo chair typing away.
“Oops no internet...Practice the magic with people. They would love it,” Julia says in a message to my phone.
Of course she's right, but I really do have more writing to do. So the die is thrown: odds is writing, evens is magic.
It came up a three. Apparently, the die doesn't always go for what's going to be most fun.
After finishing up about four hours of work on Dice Travels, it was time for a break.
The die was given three options this time: magic (again), go for a ride or surfing. The surfing was thrown in there just so I wasn't giving magic another 50% chance. Given the stormy weather, you didn't have to be by the seaside to know the Andaman was going to be rough.
Three again, which this time was a vote for surfing.
I'm not impressed. Not impressed at all.
Nonetheless, the die had spoken. I was to suck it up, not get myself killed and move forward with life.
Back at Memories Bar (and surf school), I scan the tumultuous ocean. It's a mess. White caps stretch far out into the ocean and the shallows are a milky froth as waves after wave tumbles in. The key is to find somewhere that the waves are canceling each other and try to swim a little way out with the board.
I have the 200 baht in my hand before the guy sleeping behind the bar even realizes I'm there. He hesitates for a second, giving me a subtle look to question my decision.
Of course, it isn't really my decision at that point, is it? I'm just riding the wave, so to speak.
I grab an 8' 2” longboard and figured I'd play in the white water: I don't have the drive necessary to take to swim through the bigger waves in the back. It's simply too chaotic for me to completely understand.
Luckily, when you are on a longboard you can catch almost anything. I deeply believe that if the tortoise had a longboard he would have had no problem beating the hare.
After playing a solid round of jump-up-and-down-with-a-surfboard in the shallows, I catch some white water. There is no turning right or left, it drives my forward with an exhilarating amount of power.
Well, that's that, I figure. I did what the dice commanded. No, I didn't actually stand up, but I'm out here feeling the waves. I've taken the board for a nice jump around and even took it swimming.
However, surfing (if that's what you call what I am doing) has the more-ish quality one finds in movie theater popcorn: even if you say your done, you're going back in for more. So despite not really surfing, having an unreasonable fear of accidentally stepping on a juvenile Bull Shark in the zero-visibility shallows and in general not really pulling up my socks and going for it, I keep wading back out through the waves. Diving under some, jumping into others and occasionally even paddling out, I'm sure I looked like an idiot, which is terribly fitting.
I do finally manage to stand up before one of the white water rolls runs out of steam, which is something I guess. Shortly after I bodyboarded in, catching a bit of a wave and skimming sideways along it, coasting up the beach – even on my stomach it's clear that this is what it's really about.
The wave runs out of steam in knee deep water near the mouth of a canal, which is dumping heavy silt and other organic material into the ocean. Suddenly aware of the potential for an ungodly amount of untreated wastewater to be nestling into my pores, it's time to call it a day.
At the end of it, the die wasn't wrong. My body feels good. My mind feels good. I feel good.
So good that I go ahead and laid the bike down on the beach.
A black bike hardly needs to work on it's tan, especially when there's so much cloud cover, but after taking a couple photos of it in the thick leaved Beach Morning Glories clinging to the edge of the beach, it decides it's tired.
It's a slow, tight u-turn to get back to the sandy road. The weight is too much as the back wheel catches on something. I'm able to gently lay it down in the sand, though not rescue it.
I am to preoccupied to take a picture. A few people who had appeared on the beach were undoubtedly watching – I'm really not feeling like a bad-ass, world-touring biker after dropping the beast into the sand. I quickly heave it back onto it's wheels and get the engine started.
The fact that I could put it back upright is a relief. After watching Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman drop their BMW GS1200 in the mud countless times and struggle together to get it back on its wheels during their “long way around” I had been worried. Thankfully, having a much smaller bike is already paying dividends.
There was no damage done to the bike. So, with all in good order I bop back to Tiffy's Cafe and to do some more work.
Rain or shine, I'm heading back out to the road tomorrow. I'll role to see if I travel by destination or cardinal direction when I have my coffee. Either way, I'll have to re-bolt my windshield, which came loose before I even left Phuket.
P.S. Die chose another meh food option. Or perhaps the food at Tiffy's isn't really giving it many decent options when I won't let it spend more than 120 baht.
Daily Updates are not edited and function more as daily journal entries – so if the plot seems to be allover the place or missing entirely and the tenses changes faster than a kaleidoscope, well, that's just the way it is.