Paradise, Full Stop

Morning on the Beach

Morning in Koh Tao

Wherever we go, we try it on for size. What would my life be like if I lived here? Better than x?

On the first morning I was feeling very favourable about Koh Tao: beautiful beach, good food, and enough Westerners that my bikini wasn’t likely to cause a scene. I was sitting on a little swing by the water, falling in love, when a group of drunken Frenchmen walked up and started pushing me back and forth, laughing and making unintelligible jokes. As I struggled to convince them to stop,  I remembered that even paradise has its drawbacks.

Sunset on Koh Tao

Sunset on Sairee Beach

By the fifth day, my opinion had swung back around. I was perched on some steps, petting a stray poodle and watching the little old Thai lady stand on a wooden block to reach her mortar and pestle with the ingredients for my green papaya salad. The contrast of east-meets-west of the scene struck me, reminding me that not all such meetings result in drunken frenchmen at seven a.m. As I sat on one of the big rocks scattered into the harbor, eating that salad so screamingly hot one could almost visualize its fire purifying my soul, I decided that for all my mixed feelings about obnoxious farang (foreigners like myself) and the nutella, swim wear and expensive cocktails that invariably follow us, the results here on Koh Tao are pretty positive. The island has an unselfconscious charm. Koh Tao hears your complaints about overdevelopment and lack of authentic Thai culture, gives you a half-smile and shrugs. It is what it is, and what Koh Tao is is paradise.

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