We are on Hin Wong Bay, on the island of Koh Tao, in southern Thailand, and we have decided that this is a good location for the Kebe and Fast Company winter headquarters. There is no internet, no phone, no mail, barely a road – so, perfect! If you want to contact us, please come to bungalow #8. It’s the farthest one up the path, if you don’t count the one next to it which the owner says is haunted, and they never rent out.
We came to Koh Tao looking for that elusive beach experience that is getting almost impossible to find in Thailand: great location; cheap accommodation; good food; and NO TRANCE MUSIC ALL NIGHT. Hin Wong happens to be all of the above, but the big revelation we have discovered is that we don’t actually like beaches. OK, I’ll qualify that: Radha Nagar on Havelock Is. in the Andamans is great. And a long scimitar of white sand backed by lazy palm trees and a breathless blue sea is a stereotype for paradise. Nevertheless the reality is often a little different. For one thing, if you have found that prototype of a tropical beach, chances are that the developers have as well. Sai Ri beach on the west side of Koh Tao is a case in point. No one can deny it is pretty, but all along its entire two km length it is non-stop bars and clubs and dive shops and hotels. And the other thing about beaches: sand. That fine powdery white stuff you have come so far to find gets everywhere, until you and everything you own are just variously-shaped bits of emery paper.
The grains at Hin Wong, on the other hand, are about the right size: the smallest are like a washing machine. You definitely don’t track them into your sheets at night. And while your expensive beach-front place at Sai Ri buys you a view of a lot of Scandinavians walking by mostly NOT looking great, at Hin Wong we have an unimpeded jungle-covered slope down to the turquoise waters of the bay. It’s a good place for K to get all of our summer advertising work done.
Another good thing is that there is only power from 6:30 pm until early morning. This gives K a maximum of about 4 hours of battery time on the laptop, and then we have to do something else, like go snorkeling. Koh Tao is an international diving hot-spot, and in fact issues more PADI certifications than anywhere else in the world. We, as snorkelers, are the scooter riders of the underwater biker community, but the scenery off of our rocks doesn’t make us feel second class. We spend much of the day swimming around our 3-dimensional screen-saver of a reef. Next time I’ll come with a water-proof camera, and show you just how beautiful it is.
Right now it is 2pm, and the cicadas are buzzing in the heat so loud it sounds like feed-back from an electric guitar. There are probably only 3 or 4 of the large beetles in the palm trees around us, but we can’t talk over the noise. There is actually a lot of insect life going on around us. Between myself and K, 3 feet away, is a hive of tiny wild bees. They are wonderful neighbours, going about their business industriously from their home in our porch wall. Although they often bump into us – we sit, work and eat right in their flight path – they never bite or sting. Up until the full moon the insect activity around the lights at night wasn’t too bad, and we could comfortably sit inside our bungalow with all the doors and windows open. The night after, however, there were such swarms around the bulbs that in the restaurant Soe, the owner, was scooping them away with a mixing bowl. There was a definite spike of activity that night, but it hasn’t been the same since. Now we have to close our door before we turn on the light, which still didn’t stop a beetle the size of a hamburger patty from trying to smash it down.
For more (and more) shots of cerulean waters, go to http://www.kebeandfast.com and click EXPLORE.
Signing off from winter HQ, Koh Tao
Your Foreign Devil Corespondent