Koh Lipe Thailand
Koh Lipe, Thailand
We have come to Koh Lipe during the rainy season in Thailand.
Last year we visited the ancient Buddhist capital of Ayutthaya during the rainy season, and many of the temples were flooded.
Here in Koh Lipe, the interior of the island is very mountainous, and when it rains, the runoff floods the streets of the small town.
It is a combination of the rainwater from the mountains and the Andaman sea’s high tides, that cause the streets to flood.
The low lying sewer system and overloaded drainage system combine with the runoff to make a muddy slush on the streets.
If it doesn’t rain for a few days, the streets dry up.
But when it rains again, the water goes into shops and restaurants, and the beachfront hotels have to retain their beach with sand bags.
There is a unique local community life on the island.
Yes, many are employed serving the tourist industry.
Along with imported workers from Myanmar, the locals work for the hotels, the restaurants, the shops, the speedboat transport, the long boat taxis or the tricycle taxis, because there are no cars on the island.
Along the beaches, you can see scenes from the simple yet beautiful fishermen’s daily lives.
Traditionally, people living on these islands mostly subsisted on fishing with some agriculture.
A very traditional method for fishing uses handmade bamboo fish traps.
They build these large fish traps by bending bamboo into a frame, and covering it with fish nets.
They drop these large traps in the ocean and later pick them up when they are full of fish.
One day as we were walking down the beach, we saw them building new traps, as the bamboo doesn’t last long being submerged in the salty waters, and strong currents and storms also damage the traps.
While diving, I often noticed that many dozens of fish get caught in those traps, making them an efficient way for the local fishermen to catch fish.
The diving continues to be fun.
Every day, except for the very rainy days, I have dived twice.
Most of the time I have been by myself with Tos, the manager of the dive shop and a very experienced underwater photographer, who is teaching me so much.
He spots all the rare little creatures and then shows me how to set up the lights and the camera to take the best photos.
There are many stray dogs on the beaches of Koh Lipe.
They are never aggressive and the locals seem to be providing them with leftover food.
A stray dog adopted Jules and I.
We named her Scooby Dog, in honor of my scuba diving which
Is the reason we came to this island.
Scooby Dog sits by the door of our room and doesn’t move.
When we are away, she sleeps or waits for our return.
She never goes to the beach or plays with other dogs.
She must not feel safe with any other dogs.
A day after one of the rainstorms, I found a big plastic bowl on the beach.
I took it and washed it and we bought for Scooby Dog some dog food and I feed her a meal in the morning and another each evening, in her new bowl.
She is so happy to see me when I return from diving.
I am a bit worried about her when we leave the island.
Who will feed her and love her?
Then I remind myself that she has been living here before we checked in, and that the Universe will send her other caregivers.
This reminds me of a story about a Buddhist monk who wanted to go into silent meditation for three years.
It is a common practice in Bhutan and Tibet, and even in the past in Thailand, for monks to enter a cave or an isolated room in a monastery, and spend three years, three months and three days in total silence, isolation and meditation.
It is believed that these meditation retreats shorten the path to Enlightenment.
So this monk was contemplating going into a retreat for three years, but his inner conflict was great.
He wondered who would take care of his aging mother, and who would care for his house while he was gone.
As he prayed and meditated about it, he saw a baby lizard which had just hatched from its egg.
Most reptiles do not feed their young.
They lay their eggs and depart, leaving the eggs to hatch in their own time.
When the babies hatch, they have an innate knowledge and ability to survive and feed themselves.
The monk saw that the baby lizard looked around and opened its mouth, and miraculously a fly flew straight into its mouth.
The baby lizard closed its mouth quickly and swallowed, looking satisfied with its daily meal.
The monk thanked the Grand Spirit of the Universe and left for his retreat.
So in the same way, I am hopeful that when I check out of the hotel, new guests will arrive and feed and love Scooby Dog….
Sending you love and salty waves,