The leather back turtles that enchanted us before our journey will have to wait for another time. Making a conscious, executive decision about the impact tourism has had on all the wild life; we agreed that the turtles would be happier without us. Since the tsunami, tourism is booming, and with that goes everything selfish that humans do. The leather backs are changing their nesting grounds to more hazardous areas to avoid contact with continuing pop of a flash bulb, eating cigarette butts or taunting children. For each hotel, each restaurant, each person, the turtles suffer and the numbers drop.
This is not the first thing we have chosen not support in our way of being conscious people. Shark and stingray leather is sold on the street as if it were some piece of plastic, negotiating its worth between a few dollars. Maybe I am just a So Co person trained to view the world with open eyes, but these precious animals had a life. They are not food left to flap away on ice waiting to die or a posh wallet or belt with a fancy label. A life where the only purpose was to live long and breed with many, is now destroyed for the sake of tourism. Now as a result, our children’s children, will only know these creatures by the items we leave behind in our closets.
Forgoing the turtles, we went to Patong Beach. The heat was heavy and just as thick. Locals trying to make some money would approach my bed- that I was charged 100 baht to lie in- and try to sell anything. Most of it was the typical tourist garb, some food and sometimes a water sport adventure. This added to the sidewalk sales abrasively asking us to “take look, I make good price”, followed by the taxi drivers that only say one thing; “tuk tuk”. Between the “sarong, excuse me, sarong”, “you jet ski, only 1000 baht”, “excuse me, spring roll”, “Madame, you like try” it became less of a beach day and more of a lie there and watch the flea market day. All this denying the advertising called for a beverage, as my moth felt like sand. I sent for chilled coconuts with the tops whacked by machetes. Pull up the top, insert a straw that probably would go un-recycled, recline the bed and watch the sun say good night.