As someone who has never heard of Krabi, I was lured in by those sponsored Instagram Reels the first week I arrived in Bangkok. All those reels that targeted me visualized the beaches a travel agency would use in their marketing to show the perfect vacation that to some avail, I couldn’t resist.
Ao Nang Beach
The first day when I sat by Ao Nang Beach there, I was shocked by the layers of colours of the ocean. This was not just a dream coming true, it was a moment beyond my wildest fantasy.
Don’t get me wrong, I am based in Vancouver and we have insanely beautiful beaches, waters, and sky here. It is not like when I lived in Toronto where people say they went to the beach over the weekend but meant one of Ontario Lake beaches. Which isn’t actually a real beach. (Sorry, but not sorry.)
Lake Ontario may be the most polluted out of the five Great Lakes. You can even smell the pollution without seeing the water yourself. It’s like a constant reminder that much more needs to be done to deal with the many chemicals that enter our world’s largest surface area of fresh water. The feeling of being powerless has haunted me despite leaving Toronto for 2 years.
Now I am in Krabi, Thailand. Even though sometimes I see plastic in the water here, as long as I pretend they are not there. I can still enjoy the view. “Just enjoy it and don’t think about it. Just don’t look, as if they are not there.” I calmed myself down. Once I got to the real island, I can swim in the clean water.
Krabi Shoreside (Thailand)
Finally, I got to the small island with beaches and lagoons, the real paradise, where true nature can be found. I jumped into the water, and dived deeply, without scuba gear. The water was cool but my heart was warmed. There were so many fish. All I had was my swimming goggles, and I saw Nemo (aka clown dishes) and their little family in sea anemones. The low tide kept the water clear and waves down while my body floated above them. I could’ve watched them for hours.
One of the fishes with stripes bit or kissed my butt and when I swirled around, I ended up touching even more of them. The noise I made almost had me lose air and take in water, but I couldn’t keep the thrills in me. This wasn’t cheap thrills. It was one of the most sensational pleasures I ever felt, running through my fingers to my whole body, and then rippling back into my heart.
Even at the very moment as my fingers are typing on a keyboard, I can still vividly re-live that moment simply by closing my eyes and touching the air.
Playing with those fish was one thing. The water on the other hand was the real deal that made it so real and somehow surreal. Swimming in the ocean isn’t like going to a summer pool. The warmth and coolness took turns to surprise me, in a refreshing way.
Then I felt something familiar, oddly, it was a plastic bottle, at least been there for weeks. Maybe even years. My mind was not really surprised, yet my body was still shocked.
I started talking to myself:
“What are you expecting, Lydia? A wilderness that is untouched? But you are one of the travellers? And it is not even peak season.
Didn’t you just buy a plastic bottle of water this morning? It is a hot day and your water bottle won’t be enough for the whole day. Why are you still clinging to the idealized tour? Yes across the ocean, swimming with fishes, and breathing with breezes make you feel like you live out of fantasy.
Wake up, you need to acknowledge the reality of what surrounds me since I am here: there were always plastics every day. You have been seeing them, you have been using them, and you have been putting a lot of them in the trash bins every day since you got here.
When plastics showed up, you looked the other away and focus on the sky or water so you could disregard the thought of them going to a landfill (our earth) or the water.
Don’t forget to mention, how did you get to Hong Island? On a boat burning gas. Have you calculated how many carbon footprints you left during your trip? You probably will be so shocked. Do you dare to do the math even?”
“Time for lunch, my friend!” The tour guide interrupted my spiralling thoughts.
Maybe I am being too hard on myself. “At the end of the day, I am trying my best right?” I picked up the plastic bottles and put them in the bin on the small island.
The guilt seems to have eclipsed a little, and so did the pleasure.
Then I took my combo lunch like everyone else on the tour: a single-use plastic bento box and a plastic bottle of water.
- Tags: Travel Blog