Complete and utter paradise. That’s where I am. After a long and slightly sketchy trip south from Bangkok (I’ll explain more later), I arrived on Koh Samui, an island in the gulf of Thailand where my yoga teacher training will be held. I hailed a taxi and was relieved when he nodded and he said he knew where “the yoga place” was, because I wasn’t sure of the exact address. 20 minutes later I arrived in paradise. The friendly receptionists took my bags and sat me down at the desk to check in and a moment later I was handed a cold towel to wipe my face and a sweet refreshing iced tea. My room wasn’t ready yet, so one of the attendants showed me around the retreat. We passed a nice gift shop stocked with yoga clothes, mats, props, books, and some beautiful locally made jewelry that I might have to splurge on. Next on the right was the wellness center where we can sign up for massages, detox treatments, etc… They look tempting, but a little pricey after my 7 dollar foot massage. After the wellness center was the juice bar and restaurant/lounge. The juice bar offers (for an extra price) fresh juices, smoothies, whole coconuts with a straw and a few sweets. The restaurant is buffet-style and is open for several hours, so you can come and go as you want. There’s a nice open-aired place to sit with comfortable cushions on the ground that looks out over the ocean. Across from the restaurant is the yoga shala where I’ll be spending much of my time, I’m sure. And finally, just before you reach the white sandy beach lined with palm trees, there’s a blue tile pool with lounge chairs and a steam room.

Not having eaten a real meal since lunch yesterday (Cabbages and Condoms!), I browsed the buffet before choosing granola, homemade yogurt, and toast. It tasted great after having eaten greasy noodles and rich curries this past week. There were a lot of people milling about, so I introduced myself to a few. In all there are 39 students in the yoga teacher training course, plus more just here for a retreat. I met Caesar from Brazil who now lives in Australia, another video game programmer originally from New Hampshire, Eva from Holland, a girl from Ireland, and Janet, who happens to be my roommate as well as a massage therapist. She was born in Holland, but now lives outside of Banff.

Now when I say roommate, I mean we share an entrance and a bathroom. Oh, and a balcony looking out at the palm trees and water (are you jealous yet Mom?). Our ‘rooms’ are more like suites. There’s and upstairs, where Janet sleeps, and a downstairs, where I am. We have a refrigerator that gets filled with fresh water every day, lots of closet space, an outdoor shower, safes to lock our valuables, and a wooden Buddha at the head of our beds that gets illumined when we turn on the reading lights. I don’t even care that it’s raining out right now.

To take a step back, though, let me tell you about how I got here. I take back what I said about easy traveling in Thailand. It may be relatively easy, but it’s definitely not straightforward or fast. After being dropped off on a street corner last night and told to wait, I stood there for two hours with Ariel from Barcelona and Mark from England for the supposed bus that would take us south. After an hour I began to get worried, but then other (white) people started to arrive and I succumbed to the wait. At 7:15 the double-decker bus finally arrived and we all boarded and found seats. One advantage of traveling alone is that I usually get my own seat, which were actually pretty comfortable when reclined all the way. At around 11:30 we stopped at a roadside… restaurant isn’t the right word… for a half hour break, then got back on the bus for another few hours. I think I must have slept a fair bit because the next time we stopped we were told to get off and change buses. Since there were people going to several different places, they divided us up and sent us off in what seemed to be random vehicles. Myself and two other guys had to wait an hour before our minivan arrived. Then we were taken five minutes down the road and told to board another bus, this one full of travelers bound for the islands. An hour on that bus brought us, finally, to a dock where the ferry would transport us to Koh Samui. It was a nice ride even though the sky was grey and it looked like it might rain at any second. I sat outside on the deck and enjoyed the cool breeze and rocking of the waves.

We arrived in Na Thon just past 11 and I didn’t have to walk far to get a taxi. Like I mentioned before, he knew where I wanted to go and even the price was expensive (relatively, I guess. It was only $17), I was ready to be done with traveling.

So here I am now, resting a bit before we all meet in the yoga shala for introductions and an opening ceremony. Did I mention I was in paradise?


One Response

  1. HI Becks; So glad to hear you found paradise! Great travel story, you have lots to smile about. Enjoy your stay and training. Keep the blogs coming, they are great!

    Love Dad

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