Sunset, Phuket (part 2)

Tired of sunsets, yet? (Assuming you’ve enjoyed Part 1). Let’s take a break, and go sailing.

Sailing used to be my very favorite recreation. An expensive hobby, though, and I haven’t done it in many years. Thailand has beautiful seas, but few sailboats. There are some sailing schools in Phuket, though, and after several failures (we are only taking students who sign up for an expensive 5-day course, or we’re closed completely because all the tourists have gone), I finally got word that someone could take us out on a day sail.

The light on the water, from the cloud patterns above, is gloriously hypnotic. Also, a view of the Big Buddha on a distant hilltop.

We stop at a little cove–the beach is a well-kept secret. I get some snorkeling in (but I can’t show you the fish I saw). Swimming is a great exercise break from sitting on the trapeze.

Back on land, we’re hungry. It will take about an hour to get back to the hotel, and restaurants have now been closed as the province grapples with Pandemic. We’ve been lucky so far, but… where can we eat? Our sailing host tells us, the used bookshop just up the street is also a cafe, and authorities will overlook it because it’s so out of the way. Sure enough, a few minutes later we are wolfing down pad thai in the middle of a funky, well-stocked bookstore!

IMG_3389 books

Okay, back to our sunsets. The best place to see sunsets on the whole island, reputedly, is Promphet Cape. It’s just a short walk from our hotel, but our host rarely goes there because it’s usually so crowded with hundreds of tourists. Now, however, just locals–very peaceful.

As we hike up, we get a good view of Yanui beach–and the Big Buddha from a very different angle.

At the top of the cape, there’s a shrine surrounded by elephants. I ask Esso, what is this all about; the answer is mostly lost in translation. Hero of legend? Local protective spirit? You decide.

A good place to meditate, when it’s not too crowded.

And yes, the sunset is spectacular. My camera catches a boat casting its shadow in the last red sunbeam on the water. (Much more exciting to see in motion; use your imagination).

Another decision point: stay another week or two to avoid the horrible smoke in Chiang Mai? Lodging is dirt-cheap now, and beaches are still open (so far). But we miss the comfort of having a real home in stressful times. I miss my piano. If they will let us fly, we’ll go home. The suspense continues; multiple lines of officials have been added at the airport of to check health status and make sure we are logging our travels so they can contact anyone who comes in contact with a traveler later found to be infectious. But otherwise, no questions. We board what turns out to be one of the last scheduled flights out of Phuket; the plane is 90% empty. March 26 CMU AQI

Into the dark. Arriving in Chiang Mai, even as we enter the airport terminal, I can already taste the smoke. Dubious comfort, to be home.

As I said, sunset is the prelude to darkness. May this help us all brave the Dark.



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