Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
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As the sun set on the west side of the island, I was treated to a colorful display in the clouds to the east. Normally when I see clouds I forget that they are true, three-dimensional objects and just kinda project them onto an imagined flat ceiling high above me. However, when the sun sets and the clouds are low, you cannot mistake the shadows those in the front row cast onto the back. It's a strange reminder of sky's geometry.

Standing on this coast and looking at the one across the way I was estimating distances and my swimming speed, trying to visualize that scene in the Beach. Speaking of which, the movie was filmed on a nearby island named Ko Phi Phi (to which I didn't go). If you haven't seen it, I'd highly recommend it. I'm sure I'm not the only person to say that it was in no small measure an inspiration for my traveling, and indeed very accurately captures a key sentiment shared by the entire "backpacker" community. The sentiment is rather hard to summarize, and can be described in several ways depending on your cynicism. However, I'll put it like this:

Travelers "ruin" their destinations because what they seek in theory is differs from what they want in practice. Thus, the "unspoiled" beaches of the world are quickly being replaced by strings of bars and resorts, because people that theoretically go to these beaches to "get away" actually would prefer to have a drink and sleep in a nice bed. Thus, t... [more]
On the west coast sits a few lonely restaurants literally hanging off the side of a steep slope. The establishment I chose looked the least like it would crumble under my not-so-enormous weight, and I'm happy to report that my evaluation was correct. The entire building is constructed out of driftwood, and I'm not talking about major logs. I mean, the thing is made out of pieces of driftwood perhaps an inch or less in diameter, nailed, tied, and otherwise fastened together like a toothpick bridge gone mad. I suspect that were I to step wrong and put the whole of my weight onto a single stick, I'd break right through the floor. Anyway, once seated and having received my sacred "cha jean" (as I quickly learned it was called in Thai - indeed, tea was the only thing I could reliably order in the entire country) I was able to relax, gaze out to sea, and overlook the strange half-submerged land bridge to a nearby island. Walking along this bridge was a man and his dog, occasionally stopping to poke and over... [more]
Thailand's culture is closely tied to the water, be it sea, lake, or river, and their preferred mode of modern transport is the "long boat". Named presumably for the fact that the boats are indeed very long, these oversized canoes are equipped with a single enormous outdoor motor. This motor is attached to a very long shaft, at the end of which is the propeller. This motor and shaft is being hauled down to the bank in the picture.

Copyright 2021 - David Barrett -