1 Sep 2012

End of Season

The season was brief this year, 5 weeks if that, from mid-July. Hordes of tourists pouring onto every beach, every coastline path, every scenic spot, camper vans, motorbikes, family cars converging towards every resort across the island, traffic jams, heatwave, full-on madness.

Us year-long residents get caught into that big holiday buzz that gives off that artificial happy vibe although we are not part of it. Tourists and residents glide past each other, each to their own with no or little interaction unless you are a tourist-based service provider. The buzz just ceases as quickly as it fused in the first place. A mirage all to itself.

The vast majority of tourists and visitors are now gone, and it feels eerily silent. Not that we felt part of the buzz in the first place as I said, just that we got caught in it through our daily lives. To me it feels like I have been beached. They've all gone back to the reality of modern urban life, their hectic lifestyle in the city, their careers, their fast-paced social activities that I can't help but embellish in my mind and envy... Up in the sticks on the island I feel totally out of it, totally left out, like I am missing something, like I am stuck in a bubble.

I am a city girl at heart who happens to live on an island. I've been here for two and a half years now and I am still adjusting. Island life deserves a blogpost all to itself and I will let out some steam about it in the coming weeks, no doubt.

Tourists love it: the hot weather, the profusion of beaches, water sports, trendy bars and clubs, music festivals, tanned chicks with foreign accents strolling past wearing little more than insouciance, a heady cocktail of sea, sex and sun. They love it so much that they don't wanna leave, but they always do though. City life beckons. They come here for the good times, but don't necessarily want to know about the reality of it 365 days a year, when you lot end up finding yourself stuck with that same old clique of locals, going round in circles in your head and in your car (it's an island, man!), the dragging October-March months that cut you off the rest of the world. The internet might be a godsend but it is hardly a substitute for life...

Yeah people do get lonely in cities, I agree. Now how about lonely in the countryside, I'm asking you? Lonely sat on that great stretch of sandy beach, lonely standing on that mountaintop with commanding views across the island, lonely down that bucolic forest path, in the middle of that charming village square, in your lovely little house up the hill...

Every week-end I get invited to parties and I turn most of them down. Not sure what the reason for the parties is, there is usually no birthday nor engagement nor divorce nor job promotion in sight, nothing worth celebrating. It's more to do with people wanting to get together, to kill time, forget their problems with booze and try to find themselves in this common denominator of solitude. There is an air of defeat about. Some individuals have indulged for so long now that they are paying the price and are well on their way of losing the plot altogether. One or two even look like they have never come down since ten solstices ago. Some believe they are still in Koh Phi Phi. One Iggy Pop-lookalike even calls himself a guru. It's unnerving. This is not my scene. I choose life.

I know some natives old enough to be my parents who have spent their whole lives silently suffering solitude and physical and mental isolation. They tell me no-one can get used to this, so it's best to just resign oneself to the idea, yet they are incapable of locking that front door one last time and board the next mainland ferry once and for all to experience something else out of life!

As for me, I'm gonna do something about it. I have a plan.

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