Sunday, November 16, 2008

An Island

Thoughts of Asia never seem to be far away.

With FC in town right now from Beijing, and SL coming for a visit next month from Hong Kong, the winter of 2008/2009 is starting off with a strong Asia focus.

And just the other day, PC found me on facebook.

December 2005, I spent 10 days at the Kamalaya Resort in Koh Samui, Thailand. I didn't want to go home for the holidays, but I needed to get out of Beijing. And I was hungry to just be alone. An Iyengar yoga retreat in a gorgeous resort fit the bill perfectly. Besides, I was going to meet WC in Bangkok (en route to Bhutan) later that month so getting a head start to Thailand made sense to me.

It rained every single day I was in Koh Samui. It should have been dreadful. It was perfect.

My days there were reassuringly well-ordered. I started every morning with yoga in my room, had a lovely breakfast by myself, followed by 4 hours of yoga with the other participants. Then lunch with the other yogis, followed by yet another yoga session in the afternoon. A spa treatment, then dinner - sometimes in my room, sometimes in the dining room. There was never any pressure to be with other people.

I'm not sure if everyone who was there went there for the same reasons I did - in search of peace and solitude - or if somehow it was obvious that I needed to be apart.

I made two friends while there, despite myself.

HS, who incidentally, will be in town over Chinese New Year for the NYC premier of his movie, My Beijing Birthday, was absolutely lovely. He was one of the investors of the resort, and an avid yogi himself, and he always seemed to know when I wanted to be alone and when I was in the mood for company.

PC was there with his gorgeous, glamorous wife, F. They lived in Hong Kong, but were building a second home on Koh Samui - just minutes away from the resort.

I contacted PC in January 2006, letting him know that I had decided to relocate to Hong Kong, and he was wonderfully generous in introducing me to everyone I needed to know there.

I look back on that time with wonder. I wouldn't have thought it was possible to make connections with people when I was busy building walls around me.

The walls are still up. A bit thinner perhaps, and more transparent, but they're still there. It should be easier to pull down a wall than to build it in the first place. But apparently, not always.

But while I'm on the topic of building walls...

PC's amazing house in Koh Samui has since been completed. And his recent email to me contained probably the loveliest words known to man: "If you are in the neighborhood you are most welcome. We have lovely VIP guest quarters. Come."

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