Rawai Beach, Phuket, Thailand
We headed towards Rawai Beach,
We decided to go there to find a vegetarian restaurant that serves reputedly good raw food.
We did not find the restaurant, but we had a great day strolling around the Rawai area.
Located on the lowest eastern part of Phuket, Rawai beach is not a dreamy soft sand swimming beach.
In fact, we saw no one swimming there and no beach chairs or umbrellas lined the shores.
The best beach to swim at in Rawai, is named Nai Han Beach (also spelled Nai Harn beach).
It is a sandy stretch of clean swimmable beach with plenty of lounging beds and umbrellas to rent, beachside massage and casual eateries and it is located west of the stretch of beach I am describing here.
Rawai beach is edged with tall trees that conveniently shade the shore, and the water is dotted with old motorized boats, offering ferry rides to nearby islands.
All along the beach road, boat owners sit on makeshift wooden platforms, bare chested with permanently tanned skins, browned from a lifetime spent in the sun.
They greet all passersby, and offer boat rides with a nonchalant vibe, as if they were not really expecting you to say: “Yes, please take me there!”
When we finally inquire about a destination on their sign, one that looked to be an island with turquoise waters, soft sands and fish who did not seem to be afraid of humans, he nodded his head, his gaze drifted off into the distance and he said:
“Oooooh, Very far, very far….”
Farther along the beach, the pavement was broken, but that did not deter the local restauranteurs from converting it to a dining area.
They spread low legged tables covered with beach sarongs as table cloths, and offered a simple but fresh menu of seafood from their humble restaurant kitchens across the street.
Basically, if I were to describe Rawai beach to you, I would ask you to imagine rows paralleling the ocean.
There would be a row of old motorized boats along the ocean, all tied with heavy ropes that rise and fall with the incoming and outgoing of the waves.
Then there would be a row of sandy beach fringed with seaweed that looks like white flowers but is probably a white coral seaweed.
Then there is the line of old trees, pleasantly shading the shore, and beneath them is the broken pavement turned into a row of restaurants.
The next row is a line of scooters parked by the road, each with the keys still in the ignition and often with the owner’s sandals in it.
Then there is the two lane busy road that is lined with either boat owners offering rides or with sleepy taxi stands.
On the other side of the road, there are the restaurants, each offering their catch of the day.
Clams, fish, crabs, all ‘protected’ from the relentless flies with an ingenious homemade rusty device that rotates a wire arm at a monotonous pace, vaguely imitating a hand waving off flies.
At the intersection with the main road we ducked into a leafy narrow potholed alley that led to a charming local market.
The fishermen’s children played in between the muddy potholes.
Matted hair, half naked, tanned and sandy, those kids looked a little like gypsy kids, wild and carefree.
They played with handmade balls, made from rolled up newspaper or used rags.
Their parents have small stands in the market, offering necklace strings of the local black or silvery-pink pearls or sea shells.
Farther along was a small fish and vegetable market with locally caught seafood.
Huge tiger prawns, all kinds of crabs and tropical fish that you can take to any of the small restaurants across the street, where they will cook them for you.
They call this “cooking service” and those restaurants will charge you only for cooking your fish, for the seat and for any drinks you might order.
I felt happy.
Grateful that a bit earlier we opted for a good Thai massage in an air conditioned place along Rawai beach.
It was a restful and nice smelling place, a big contrast from the many massage parlors along Patong Road, that offer a massage to mostly lonely burly men, happy to be touched by attractive Thai women.
We engaged a friendly taxi driver to take us back to Patong beach, where our comfortable stylish hotel is located.
He gave us lots of tips about the beaches of Phuket, and warned us to “protect our skins” so we would not turn into “boiled lobsters” like many other tourists.
We asked him to drop us in the center of Patong, where we feasted on a delicious vegetarian meal in an Egyptian restaurant, appropriately called “Cairo.”
Back in our hotel, I took a much needed shower and collapsed into bed.
I was asleep before Jules got out of the shower.
All of the modern apartments in our hotel have large glass walls, making them a human aquariums, when the lights are on at night.
The apartment across from us was occupied by a large group of men.
The lights were fully on and some Thai women were sitting on some of the guys’ laps.
Piles of beer bottles on the tables.
I slept a dreamless sleep and woke up at five in the morning.
All the lights in the apartment across the street were still on.
Some of the men watched TV, others sat on the balcony, one with a girl still on his lap.
All of them seemed to be a step beyond drunk.
I thought of the remaining Thai woman and her other friends who left the apartment before sunrise.
Dressed in mini skirts and some kind of tops that seemed to be made from strings.
Making mediocre- bad love to drunken men who will not remember them the next day….
What a life….
Those women ask so little from life…. And utilize so little of our innate gifts and given blessings….
I resign myself to the understanding that we are each on our own journey towards greater understanding and growth.
You cannot stop a person from having the experiences that they simply have to go through….nor should you….beside, people are not looking for what is GOOD for them, they are looking to experiment.
America seems so far away……a million years from here….. With all its rules and safety regulations, it could not be more different than this place…. yet…..on the news I saw how people fought over holiday discounts in department stores, punch one another over cheap Chinese TV or over towels at Walmart, and I think to myself that…… People are not so different from one another the world over…. Only appearances tend to change….
Happy Thanksgiving to all!