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One weekish in

November 12, 2009

Has it been a week?  maybe more?  There’s really no sense of days of the week anymore.  In Vietnam, we had work days and off days – here it’s simply work.

Work is intense, and I’m still waiting for it to bear fruit.  Fruit as in money.  Not that there’s a lot to buy on the island but whatever there is, the tally starts to add up.  Basically, you spend your money on rent, food and beer.  The shop where I’m working is strictly commission based.  As with most classic dive operations you get paid when you book a course, sell a mask or have customers on the boat.  Once you get the ball rolling, you get paid quite well but it’s that hump you have to pass before you can get settled and focus on the diving.  I tell you, I gotta give credit to salesmen/women.  It’s not easy trying to coerce folk into spending a big chunk of change with you when there’s another 10 shops offering the same thing.  You gotta be careful not to be too pushy, but at the end of the day, you have to make a living right?  I don’t think I could do it for the long haul.  Thankfully, there have been literal boat loads of tourists coming to the island.  Good news for diving, but at the same time, tourists just hammer on the environment.  It’s a bad scene watching heaps of styrofoam trays and plastic water bottles being discarded as fast as they can be trucked off the island.  Waste management is simply not a priority.  It’s interesting to note that myself and the one other Canadian working in the shop are the only two who routinely bring a water bottle to the shop or on the boat.   The island does have a large organic waste water treatment area – smells something fierce from time to time but it’s keeping the water swimable.

I’ve done a handful of dives – just shadowing the other leaders/instructors.  The sites are great, lots of variety and the visibility is slowly getting better.  Now that I’m insured, I can finally have my own customers and get credited for it, but I don’t expect to get must action for another number of days.  I’m going to have to put off underwater pics for just a little bit.  When you’re on the boat, you’re working and you’d get chewed out in a moment if the boss found out you were snapping photos, with the exception of running a photography specialty.  Not only that, but the only time off you traditionally earn is when you have to do a visa run.  Takes a couple days and you head to the nearest border. but at least you get out of the shop for a bit and get a chance to peek at other parts of Thailand.

The hours between work are real nice.  There’s a beach side bar called Sunflower in the styx of the island.  Quite secluded comparatively, with good music and reasonable prices.  Myself and a couple mates wound down the night there last night.  It was cool to see the dim of Phuket on the horizon  change as the tide went out.  Off to the side you could see the bright lights of a fishing boat.  The sky was pretty clear and since light pollution hasn’t swallowed up the island quite yet, the stars looked quite impressive.  The walk back to my room was quite peaceful up until I hit my front door.  There is some kind of loud-ass frog colony in the front garden that keeps it going until well into the AM.  I’ve used my airplane earplugs more than once.  I expect I’ll get used to it though.  I doubt I’ll stay in this room the entire time.  12000 baht is quite cheap for one room from what I hear but I may explore split room options a little down the line.  Unless of course the dam blows open and I start rolling in it like Scrooge McDuck.

Thanks for the comments, it’s nice to hear back from home.  Hope things are well and that you’re absorbing lots of hockey for me.
Cheers

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2 Comments
  1. jenny mook-sang permalink

    well ben,
    you’re doing a good job of providing an excellent vicarious life for me. really enjoying your blog.

  2. Steph M. permalink

    Hi Ben,

    Everyone at work keeps asking if I have heard from you….I keep directing them to your website….I say that from what I can tell you are doing very well!!

    I have some funny stories to tell you whenever we get in touch again…

    Thailand sounds awesome…and I am still being jealous over here!!

    Hopefully we will talk soon!!

    Steph xox

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