local time: thursday, september 30, 2010, 2:30 p.m.
i'm still on ko phangan. i was supposed to leave for krabi yesterday, but i was able to change my ferry ticket and am going to stay here for a few more days. i'm doing this partly because i like this place so much, partly because the weather in krabi provence has been pretty bad this week, and partly because i have made some new friends here with whom i would like to spend a little more time. they are some truly lovely people, and i find it interesting that i met them all the day after my big moment on the beach that was the subject of my last post. i finally get to a point where i'm loving being alone, and all of a sudden all of these people want to know me. funny how the world works, no?
while i've still been enjoying plenty of time on my own, meeting and befriending these people (a mix of fellow travelers and thais who live and work in this area) has changed the pace of my holiday. my mornings are still pretty quiet (long solitary breakfasts and walks on the beach), but in the afternoons and evenings i've been meeting up with friends to cheer for the local teams competing in a 10-day soccer tournament on the beach; to eat delicious dinners (i'm still ordering the mildest dishes on the menu but am adding a little more spice each night - there's hope for me yet!); and to drink and chat with the locals at my two new favorite spots - bamboo bar and yai bar. i've been having a little more fun and getting to know some really kind, intelligent, and interesting people.
but even before this turn of events i was already thinking of extending my stay here. i know that i need to see other parts of the country (and i will - i've still got some time), but i just can't seem to pull myself away from this place quite yet. and i was feeling that way even when enjoying only my own company. then i met some people who work and hang out here, and they started talking about the half moon party, which is happening this friday. apparently it's much smaller, less touristy, and less crazy and intense than the infamous full moon parties. it takes place in a clearing in the jungle, and the music is supposedly fantastic. i've been told that half moon and the after party on the beach the next day are parts of life on this island that i must experience. so it's been decided: my new tourist friends (a german woman, a french woman, and a guy from holland) and my new thai friends and i are all going to the half moon party together tomorrow night. and while i've been enjoying my quiet solitude, balance is important, and i'm really looking forward to letting my hair down and dancing the night away with these fine folks.
i will leave thong nai pan on sunday, leaving me a week to check out the andaman coast and islands before going to the retreat with which i will end this journey. but for the next few days, i'm going to shamelessly continue enjoying the little slice of heaven that i've found here.