Cha-am! No wonder Legends say it’s a paradise for the distressed.
In December, as the peak season enfolds, shops distill their products at high discount rates in preparation for a New Year and new change. At this time, the temperature increases as expected to drop. Given that by the end of October the ‘winter’ season emerges gradually. Towards late November and early December it’s also likely not to rain, as the last rain expected to fall in early November. This year’s weather seems to be different from the past, and it looks like every year it changes and becomes more erratic. This intricacy and inconsistency in weather pattern each year is virtually unpredictable as we advance from one season to the other. If one would paradoxically compare the consistent change in weather here with its inhabitants, one would get the picture of the intrinsic nature of their attitudes. Simply inconsistent and superficial at times. Facile explanation isn’t it? OK, continue!
The sun is blazing as I flag down a taxi to Satai Station where I will board for Cha-am, Hua Hin. Sweltering inside the taxi, I wonder how hot it could be on the beach. Probably, there won’t be any shade to rely on against the scorching sun. I arrive at exactly 1:00pm. I happen to be the only passenger awaited to arrive. The van takes off at exactly 1:10pm as I hastily adjust myself in the van. In the van, there are possibly about ten people, a young lad sit to my immediate left, whilst I fix myself at the right, judiciously.
As we journey on, with my eyes fancily preoccupied with green meadows coming from the valleys and swamps at both sides of the road. The hills are festooned with yellowish primroses extolling the veracity and intensity of the sun. I sit calmly in the van appreciating the course of nature and what she could only offer for the moment. My life couldn’t have gotten any better than the craggy peaks coated on the spectacular landscapes at sight. At a distant horizon as far as the eyes could see, a host of birds flirting with shady trees at the ridge of the hill chirping and singing. All I could do is to keep anticipating Cha-am and its’ exuberant warmth.
Half way through the journey, almost all the passengers have succumbed to languor. The drowsiness probably caused by the rippling heat from the sizzling afternoon sun at about 45 Degrees Celsius of ‘supposedly’ a winter season. I look at my wrist watch as the time tick 1:30pm and then, Ozz…
*Opps!* now, it is 2 o’clock, I think I blacked-out for about a minute my mind races against the fastness of time as we stop at the gas station.
First encounter of the day:
“Why are we stopping here?” she asks.
“I guess the driver wants some break and for some other passengers to ease themselves.” I reply. “Normally, Thais travel this way.”
“Ah! OK.” She confirmed.
She doesn’t have one of the pretty faces out there. Her suntanned oily face outlined by the sun. But, her hazel green eyes are enchanting. Her English accent stressed by the anomaly tone in her voice. Her teeth, paled white and uniform. Her neck tattooed a dragon down to her right thigh. Her straight golden hair frequently touching the tip of her shoulders by the ruffling wind. She must be 170 cm tall and rigid in body shape. She wears a grey spaghetti top, and ripped light blue denim shorts. She’s likely to be considered attractive; if not the hoarse voice she has got from last night gyration and parties.
“My name, Oleg,” she continued. “Sorry for forgetting, and yours?” stretches her right arm towards me.
“Call me Ben.” Shaking her hand and smiling hesitantly.
“What are you doing here?” she inspects with a blink of enthusiasm whilst the sun keeps blazing.
“I’m a student here”. I reply as she nods.
“Where are you going? She inquires.
“I’m going to Cha-am, Hua Hin for a friend’s matrimonial ceremony. What about you?” I asked. Walking with Oleg to the nearby canteen clustered with travelers, mostly Thais. Without my consent, Oleg paid for an energy drink I order from the canteen.
“Why would you have to pay?” I frown, fumbling my hands sightlessly in my pocket to reach out for some money to reimburse her. She resists, as I keep insisting.
“I’m traveling around Thailand. I’m actually going to Hua Hin, but don’t know what to exactly do there”. She responds.
“You can come with me then, at least you will get the chance to see a Thai wedding on a beach.” I said convincingly.
She continues. “But I actually scheduled to train for a Muay Thai in the morning and I got up crying….”
“Oh! Why would that be?” I interrupt. Losing touch of what she is saying.
“Well, for a reason I don’t know of.” She said, as the sun faint behind the gauze of clouds, causing a moment of dimness in the horizon as her hazel green eyes glitters. She stares at me, intently, sturdily as I vividly talk about other similar occasions where I felt exactly the same way she felt in the morning. So intentionally to grant solace in whatever grief she holds on the sly. Together, we walk back to the van.
Inside the van, Oleg sits in front of me. I could see her sleeping tiredly to an uncertain future. She is probably one of those people who seemed not to get their plans going for them. There’s one thing we should understand about failure in life. Life involves failure, and it is an inevitable cause. If we have choice to alternate it with success and other life’s fortune, I bet we would. I keep worrying about where to exactly drop off. I am going to beach1 Cha-am, Hua Hin.
Cha-am is at the outskirts of Hua Hin, but I initially thought that it’s at the center of the province itself. We arrive in Hua Hin, and I worry about my next move as I adjust my seating position to ask the driver to drop me at Lagoon resort, Beach1. Only to realize I’m about 10 km ahead of my actual destination.
I drop off right at the consent of the driver’s conscience. Going down from the van, Oleg keeps a constant stare at my dismissal. Wandering around Cha-am beach2 where the driver dropped me, I felt a pang of sadness at her departure. In the street walk to beach2, approaching the beach, a lady tells me that my actual destination is about 9-10 km away from where I stood and suggest I take a motorcycle—promising to arrange a cyclist. I solicit for a taxi, as a motorcycle would be inconvenient in the flogging sun and also for safety reasons. She declines, advising that any taxi at the spot would want a fixed price rather than the standard way of using the taxi-meter. In other words, improbable, and unreasonably costly. After many years in Bangkok, traveling around Thailand had got me worried due to uneasy access to transportation. Finding my way out of Cha-am Beach2 a handful of ladies along with ladyboys haggles on me to come to their bars. It is hot, noisy, and bustling with activity. The place is humming with life. And people, here and there, loitering about.
“Come here na, hansome mennnn…..sexy mennnn…..our bar, ship na” They hustle.
“Thank you.” I respond, ignoring them with slow nods and calm smiles.
The wedding is about to begin by the scheduled time as I’m still roaming around Beach2 after an hour of confusion. I finally arrive at the resort. The atmospheric condition of the resort and the screeching of the sea are bountifully engrossed—like an accumulated anticipation. I book a room which is 100 meters away from the beach and rush to the wedding.
Catching up with Lee who is marrying Soraya, and Tommy his best mate on the shore to take a classic snap; I register my face in the wedding photo album. Approaching further, the entrance is wreathed with elegant white silk fabrics on the plastic tables and chairs accompanied by a constant sound of unsettling wind as it flaps the silk violently against the plastic objects. At the center lie a red thick rug that stretches parallel from the entrance to the shoreline. Lee and Soraya on their barefoot more like a unique traditional style of matrimony their faces etch to glimmer of good times. At a corner of the entrance, a set of buffets glaze with several foods including cashew nuts cuisine, sausages, fresh salads, boiled chicken sauce, watermelon, fish oh! (I love them), and pineapple et cetera, symmetrically align. At one end of the entrance corner, stacked a courtesy cupcake designed after Lee and Soraya’s matrimonial ceremony. An erratic banquet it is, indeed! We feast, consume sumptuously and dance to Deep House music projected by Tommy. Whilst some attendees continue raving mad under the waves of alcohol beverages and were delicately send to bed before sun-break.
At about 9pm the celebration still goes on. I leave the party scene in a retrospective manner. I stand still on the beach, glancing at the stars that lit up the dark skies and occasionally distract by the fireworks put up by Lee and co. The wind is unstable, as friends’ chit-chat in the background. The noisy sea is now been glided away from its shoreline by the evening wind coming from the west side of the coast, pushing the water bank eastwards. Thoughts of Oleg pervades through my mind along with a nagging worry of where she might be. I‘m enthralled by her openness and courtesy. Pondering consciously on how Oleg could be honest even when she barely knew me, a sound of a firework breaks the silent beach as it blast in the air, colorfully, fashionably, exquisitely, and landed in chunks.
At some point a fleeting feeling of swapping Cha-am with Bangkok arose as my thoughts were held captive of these words below:
Here, my wish.
If you like,
the leaves of
Cha-am sums up in 13 lines of poetry consisting 10 syllables each line:
Pale yellow sand contrasting with green grass,
quite horizon with enthralling landscapes.
The eyes purely muted from what it had seen,
conceived in solitary fortunes of breath.
O! Nature; my eyes, where do I begin.
O! No bureaucracies, no intrusions,
and surely not those Bangkok procedures.
Birds gladly sing to solitary hills
as solitude of beauty thoughts emerged.
A face ever will see through pristine beach;
whilst zeal to stay lied indoors of the eyes.
Sound of beach entwined, distilling the night,
violet flowers rose to vision pleasures.