Friday, December 17, 2010

The Speed of Trust

It's 5AM and it's my last day here at the Island. I leave at noon to catch my flight back to Bangkok. I slept so good last night, better than any of the other nights since arriving in Asia. It rained again for a little bit last night, but not as hard as it did the night before. My lullaby was the soft whispers of the ocean caressing the shore.

It's astounding how trust is built in lightning speeds here. You sleep in tents completely vulnerable to the elements and wildlife and if you don't trust, this paradise will be hell for you. The tents have no locks, your possessions are fair game if anyone covets them. Likewise, if anyone wanted to accost you, they just need to unzip your tent and stab you in your sleep. They don't serve water in bottles and it's really your judgement call whether to drink it or not. They won't hold your hand while you deliberate. The bar works on an honor system. You walk up behind the bar, grab and mix whatever you want, and write your tab down in the notebook - no cash or credit card deposits required. You true up when you leave. The guards of your fellow travellers are so down, it feels really really really good being around that energy. People forget for a while the identities they wear in the "real world" and allow themselves to just Be.

I told myself that I would stay completely sober for this leg of the trip. Being a solo woman traveler, I have to be aware and conscious the entire time to protect my own safety. It's just the smart thing to do. After the barbeque last night, we were crowded around a table, sitting on mats on the floor made of tree trunks. I looked around and I cannot help but feel a wave of happiness. We were from all over the world, yet here we are, congregated over prawns and amazing chili sauce and interacting as if we have been intimate friends for a long time. So I allowed myself to have a few drinks. I have already trusted five of these guys with my life when I went on separate kayaking trips with them crossing the open sea to the island nextdoor. I trust that they are not going to spike my drink with a rape drug.

I am a little sad to be leaving this place and the friends that I have made here, but I trust that this experience is what it needed to be. The sun will rise in about 15 minutes and in 24 hours, I will be back in Manila with friends and family I have not seen in three years. Alex will stay one more night with Irene and Haiko and Cedric and Tirza. Toby and Elmar are moving on to Phi Phi, Vaughn to Ao Nang, then back to South Africa.

As Alex would say, "La vie es belle."


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