We were almost there…I was sitting on the aisle, regretting not having booked a window seat, I hate to fly sitting at the window and having to ask the person next to you to move every time you need to use the bathroom, but this time it was different, I should have taken that sit, I wanted so bad to look outside that little window and see it…It had been almost thirty years since I had been back, the memories were rushing thru my mind bringing excitement and tears to my eyes; I was finally almost there!
I caught a glimpse, when the lady next to meet moved her head, yes, we were landing, the sky was so blue, the sun was out there reflecting the rays into those indescribably beautiful waters..everything seemed like I had left it so long ago…
The plane touched the runway, the pilot used the powerful engine to bring the big machine to its final stop. And so we did, we had arrived, I had arrived.
I waited impatiently for the hostess to announce we could take off the seat belt and when she finally did, I jumped out of my seat and rushed to get to the door…I was lucky, they were opening the back door and I was sitting at the last sit of the plane so for as much as I hated sitting there during the flight now I was really happy and glad I did.
The door opened, the heat of the humid air outside met my skin, I took a deep breath and smiled, I felt like I was home again.
Walking toward the airport entrance to collect my luggage I felt like in a daze, a dream, I could not believe I was actually there; there where thirty years ago my life had begun again, or maybe I should call it the place where I always felt I finally become a woman…thirty years before…I had just turned eighteen and little did I know that this place would have changed my life, would have changed me forever.
I still remember it like it was yesterday.
My birthday had just passed a week before and like a madly rushed teenager soon to be an adult the first thing I had done was to apply for a passport.
Didn’t take me long, passport in one hand and ticket in the other I had jumped on a plane and left.
I wanted to be free, I wanted to feel alive, I guess I wanted to be like many young adults wanted to be…running away from a small town that had little to offer and from a mum that was really strict and hard to speak to.
I loved her, I love her, I always will, very much but when you are 18 little you think about the consequences of your action and you never fully understand until further down in life how hard it is to be a mother.
There are many things I would love to say about her but I leave this for another chapter. Today it is about that first day, thirty years before when my new life began on a small island of the Indian Ocean.
I had arrived very late at night and it was impossible to see outside, had booked a room in a small resort, and went straight to bed, I was really tired after a 12 bus trip to get there.
In the night I had laid awake in bed, listening to the sound of the trees, a lot of palm tree all around me, and the crickets and frogs making funny noises and making me feel like I was definitely not alone.
In the morning I had woken up very early, excitement was running thru me, I wanted to go outside and explore, see my new world; what would have become my world for the next ten years of my life even thou I did not know it yet.
I stepped outside the room, the clouds were playing with the sun making a game of hiding and seek, one minute the rays were coming thru and a minute after they were hiding again. I walked down the two small steps that were in front of the bungalow and finally saw the garden.
God, it was so beautiful, so bright, so full of vivid colours, the flowers, purple, pink, white, there were orchids all around and then these giant coconut trees staring at my little me from above. I took a deep breath, how wonderful everything was.
I turned to the right and head in direction of a small path that seemed to take me to the reception area and also to the main street. I was looking for the sea, that’s all I wanted to see, the big, infinite Ocean…actually to be more correct I should say I wanted to see the beautiful Andaman Sea that was waiting for me …
As I reached the main street, I turned to the right, the road was narrow, not many people, around, I guess it was too early in the morning for any tourist to be walking by; a little girl smiled at me and waved, she had beautiful black silky long hair, a blue skirt and white shirt, wearing white socks and a pair of black shoes, it looked like a school uniform. She had a sweet smile, not just with her mouth, but with her eyes she seemed to smile in joy and staring at me at the same time with a curious look…she was holding a plastic bag with what looked like a sliced pineapple inside, biting a piece from a wooden stick that she was holding in her hands.
I waved back at her and continue in my mission…my one and only mission were to find the beach.
As I walked down the street I began to hear the noise of what seemed to be water crashing on a shore, mixed with the noise of a few bikes that were driving around in the early hours of the morning.
It could have been maybe three hundred meters and as I lifted my eyes up I saw it.
The sea was right ahead of me, two more minutes and I would have been there.
I crossed a small road that was separating the beach from the rest of the small village and finally put my feet into the sand.
The clouds were still up there, I guess I thought I would not burn since the sun was hiding for now and I looked: The most beautiful beach I had ever seen.
I walked on the sand admiring the colours, the entire spectrum of colours seemed to be just there.
I was playing Tracy Chapman on my headphones, and the beach was still deserted. It was just me, Tracy and this wonderful show of nature in front of me.
The sand was, creamy, and golden, grey and off-white, at moment even orange when the sun with its rays was reflecting its light on it.
It was warm and thin, I touched it with my hands, letting the grains of the sand running thru my fingers. I usually hate sand, it seems to stick on you and a week later you still find it somewhere in your shirt. But this one? No, this one, was special, this one was different, it touched your feet, it swallowed your toes making them invisible and as you lifted your feet up to make another step it almost seemed to dissolve into microscopic, infinite grains that one minute would embrace you and another would let you go again.
I remember looking down, just in front of my feet, turning right, and turning left, and then I looked at the horizon and the water in front of me. I had never seen in my life water so blue and turquoise, and green and deeper blue, I had never in my life wonder to such beauty innocence, love.
The waves were coming in, but they were gentle, gentle like everything around me; they say sometimes you feel like you are in a place and you would call it paradise; I guess that is how I felt.
The tepid temperature of the sea seemed to call my name and invite me to go in, I touched it, I played with it, but I did not have a swimming suit, not yet, I should have thought about it, now I would have to run back and find a shop and buy one as soon as possible. But it did not matter, what matter was that I was there, I had arrived, and for as much as I had never seen or been in this place before I felt like I was finally home.
Fast forwarding to thirty years after, here I was again, when I landed and I guess I was afraid that how I felt, the first time, would not be the same, I had set my expectations so high that now I was even afraid of looking out and maybe find that everything had changed.
But it didn’t, not for me, not the feelings, the emotions, the joy, the sensation that I was home again.
Yes, the place had grown, yes it had developed, what doesn’t in thirty years? But I did not care, I looked at the sky, I smelled the air all around me, with the aromas of the food, the heat, the people talking, the noise of the sea not too far from the airport….and I just knew it: I was home again.
My beloved Phuket!
A little piece of my Memories…I hope you have enjoyed it.