The last week has been pretty slow. I’m not sure why. Here are a few guesses:
First, the “high season” on Ko Jum seems to have already peaked. Yes, we expect to see a bump for Chinese New Year in early February, but the island has definitely slowed down (as if it could get any more relaxed in the first place). Not sure if it’s the global economy or terrorism or just seasonality. I’ve learned that Ko Jum has a lot of “repeat tourists” who visit on an annual basis over the winter Holidays. The island may not draw as many new tourists consistently because the beaches aren’t the nicest or cleanest in Thailand; there is basically no nightlife; and services are minimal (e.g., no ATMs). But there is something about the people and quiet life here that is pretty fantastic once you experience it.
Second, with the major renovation work completed at Uza Beach Residence, the work requirements have been reduced to basic day-to-day operations of cleaning, cooking, serving, etc. Several Helpers have left. Our lunchtime table for 11 is now reduced to about 4.
Third, it’s been crazy hot with little wind and no rain – a combination that just sucks the energy out of all of us here.
Fourth, I’ve realized that I only have another week here, which I’m bummed about. So I’ve been trying to go slow, relax, and just enjoy the time and people here.
Despite the slowdown (or maybe because of the slowdown), I did take a couple of excursions to the neighboring islands of Koh Lanta and Koh Phi Phi. Thanks to my friend at Jungle Hill Bungalows who let me ride along in his long-tail boat as he ferried passengers to and from the islands. In Koh Lanta, I stayed overnight and rented a motorbike for half a day so that I could explore more of that island. I have to say, it wasn’t my favorite. I was happy to return to the peace and quiet on Koh Jum.
The slowdown has given me time to think and reflect. Because I leave Thailand in a week, I have been thinking about what to do next. With a broken camera, I’ve cancelled my planned trips to Myanmar and Cambodia. (I even had to turn down a great volunteer opportunity in Cambodia.) I’m returning to California at the end of January to get the camera fixed, pay taxes, and re-rent my house.
I have a couple of local volunteering opportunities that I may pursue while in the Bay Area, but then I hope to leave again in March, at which point I have a few sailing opportunities that sound very exciting.
I’ll be sad to leave Ko Jum and its kind people, but I know I’ll be back. In fact, I’m already dreaming of seeing Ko Jum off the port bow as I sail down from Phuket…