Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Karbai to Bangkok, Bangkok to Taipei, Taipei to San Francisco, San Francisco to Sebastopol

Dawn broke earlier than expected but it was a welcomed sight. With our backpacks full of sand and memories, we headed towards the front desk to check out. Our bags were stored away, unsure if people were going through them and collecting our camera, laptop and other valuables. The breakfast room was not yet open, so we took our last walk on the beach. We were flanked on either side of the island by steep mountains, so our walk was brief, but intimate. The beach sand was pink from the sunrise light coming from the other side of the island, and uniquely groomed from small sand crabs. These tiny little creatures managed to comb the entire beach and filter the algae from the sand. Life always has its janitors, be grateful for them as a karmatic notion. The smells of breakfast were enticing, so we headed back to our temporary home.

Walking hand in hand with no shoes on, totally in love, happy to be finally married, nothing could stop us from enjoying our last dawn as honeymooners. Until we tripped over and old oil bottle, still wet and oily from the sea, stopping us dead in our tracks to question the human race. I find it very unsettling that nothing is sacred while everything is coveted. It won’t be long before discarded coke cans, beer bottles and oil containers are a very real part of even the sexiest honeymoon island ads. Usually it’s the one the one that ruin it for the many, but sadly enough, this time I think it is the many ruining it for the few.

After breakfast, we were greeted without English to be escorted to our boat. This is the last time we got to wade out to our waist in tropical water, so we took it in and enjoyed it one last time. This was the beginning of our journey home and the end of one more adventure. We were excited and sad at the same time. This boat ride meant no more sandy margaritas at sunset and wearing real clothing, not just our swim suits. It also meant having our dog lick our faces in forgiveness of abandoning her for the past three weeks. This boat ride was the beginning to real married life and the end of a one of kind honeymoon. But it was time, time to give up luxury and be humble again. And we were ready, even though we both could do without the thirty hours of traveling between here and our bed.

Our private boat ride lasted for about an hour or so. We finally docked in a small fishing town but I couldn’t see the airport. Maybe we had to grab another fairy… The man of no English form the boat grabbed our bags like a donkey and pointed. One would think after being submerged in a country were everyone smiles and points to communicate, we would have picked up the language better, but I think we could have had another lesson.
A dark car, without any government markings, distinguishing marks or even a business name appeared about a block from the dock. Our bags were put in the trunk followed by a loud slam. The boat driver and the car driver exchanged what appeared to be a lot of money and a few Thai words. Then bigger smiles, followed by more pointing toward the back seat of the car. We were hesitant, and I was scared. I thought this would be the last time I saw Alex. I thought I was being sold into the sex trade- the underbelly of Thailand. Our luggage was to be sold, like us, and used for profit. I can forget about the thirty hours of travel, this is the beginning of the next thirty years of my life… The good and bad moments of my life started to play like a movie. I saw traffic lights that merged seamlessly in to beautiful memories of our wedding. Street signs that I would try to remember incase I escaped; became childhood arguments I had with my baby brother. The next sign, said Karbi Airport- 3 kilometers. The biggest sigh of relief came flooding out as I squeezed Alex’s hand to let him know I love him. We were going home after all!
So the countdown started with an hour wait after checking into the Karbi Airport. Our flight back to Bangkok took at least another hour. Once in Bangkok, we had about 6 hours to waste. We had caught the only flight from Karbi to Bangkok in the early morning, and our flight to Taipei wasn’t until the evening.

As I sit here on the marble floor, illegally charging my laptop via an outlet in the floor meant for the cleaning crew, I feel lonely and about as clear-headed as the five coats of varnish on the floor. I am ready to have that “ahhhh” moment of being in my own home, in my own bed eating my own food. I miss my dog, my couch and the steadiness of my routine.

Thank you Thailand, for opening you hearts and opening our minds. We are forever grateful for the experiences and lessons learned. This was yet another step in the direction of adulthood; but with every step forward in life, we also take one backward as an inward journey. We will embrace the teachings of Buddha, learn to smile instead of shout and know what to have nothing really means. Sawadee Ka…