Morning starts slow but early in Sam Roi Yot, Thailand.
Roosters begin crowing hours before the sun breaks the horizon. Fires are started in the stoves at the small restaurant stalls that line the beach, causing a low hanging smoke to linger in the heavy damp morning air. Shop keepers begin their morning rituals and prepare for the day ahead.
I’ve seen this lady for the last couple of weeks. Each morning as I pass by on my morning run she is either hanging laundry out to dry or sitting in front of her open shop.
Each morning these monks make the walk down the road that lines the beach. I can tell how early or late I am by where I meet them along the road.
Some times they have a young boy with them as they collect alms, other times it is just the two of them.
When I walk the beach instead of the road, the feeling is completely different. The mood changes from small rural town to fishing village almost instantly.
Early morning finds fisherman tending their small fishing boats along the shore, some come in full of nets and buckets of fish, others stay grounded on the beach for days without moving.
As the sun nears the horizon the colors change from the cool blues of the edge of night to the warm oranges, yellows and pinks of the impending sunrise.
A small marina on the south end of Sam Roi Yot beach offers fisherman a place to moor their boats. The marina hold boats of all shapes sizes and colors, most boats are painted with bright deep colors that catch the eye. But while the colors are bright the sun and the salt water take their toll and inevitably the paint cracks and chips revealing colors and coats from years gone by.
Extra nets are piled along the shore line and if you arrive at the right time of morning you can see the fishermen straightening their nets in preparation for the next night of fishing. Most of the makeshift docks are nothing more than a couple of bamboo poles tied to posts that barely emerge from the water.
As the sun rises, and the pace of morning picks up, people begin to appear on the road and on the beach. Some start with meditation, some are riding a bicycle headed to school or to find ingredients for breakfast.
The mist that surrounds the small islands off the coast becomes visible and provides a delicate veil at the base of the miniature mountains.
From the outside looking in life seems simple and relaxed. The pace seems gentle and the people laid back and easy going.
It is hard to tell what life is like for people you see on the street. Judging what life is like for others can be a slippery slope. However I can try to communicate how a place feels. Spending a couple of weeks in this small intimate community has brought me to appreciate the slow nature of the place.
This is my second trip here and I will return again, if nothing else in an attempt to absorb some of it’s pace and atmosphere with the hope of carrying it with me to the next destination.
The thing that draws me to this place, especially in the morning is that it seems to have a cadence, a rhythm that can be seen and felt. It’s easy an easy rhythm to adapt to, a habit that feels right.