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Trigger blues

February 22, 2010

I fought a trigger fish the other day. I was making a photo dive with one of the shop’s DMTs (Divemaster Trainee) when I felt a tug at my fins. When I turned around after the 4th or 5th tug I see a terrific Titan Triggerfish trying to chew apart my fins. It was on after that – I tried to shake the thing away with while finning backwards and that just seemed to piss it off since it kept trying to swim past my fins as I was retreating. I thought if a trigger could roar underwater this would be terrifying. Since I had my camera I immediately started taking some shots, the flashing strobe be damned. None of them really turned out but when you look at them all together it emulates a sense of the chaos.

Diving is still sweet. Ko Tao has definitely grown on me but it’s more of a ‘the sum is greater than all it’s parts’ sorta thing. It’s good to recognize people randomly on the island and a bit of routine and familiarity is nice. All the same I don’t really feel any closer with Thailand. My whole experience is based upon the tip of the iceberg which also happens to be where everyone goes to party.  I’m certainly missing out on other major attractions and a rich cultural experience but instead you carve out something unique and lasting in a more localized sense – which most other travelers would miss out on with fingers always flipping pages in Lonely Planet or tipping to get photographed with the elephant. I’ve always been very impressed with a good friend of mine, Erin in Waterloo. She’s traveled to many exotic destinations and has always excelled in immersing herself culturally and getting involved with productive, grass-roots projects. Granted, such destinations are often off the backpacker trail and it can be just as big deal of a deal for the local community to have a foreigner living with them as it is for the traveler. How excited does the 7-11 cashier get when the door chimes open and in walks another shirtless dude making for the beer fridge. Neither of them care that this guy knows two expressions in Thai or that this is his first time on a motorbike. This is anything but a traditional Thai community, not that I would really know. But were it otherwise, I’d have no work and no money. For better or worse it’s one helluva ride. Where else can you see Whale Sharks in the morning, a German, a Frenchman, a Thai, an Australian and a Spaniard have lunch together in the afternoon, a Lady-Boy cabaret in the evening and then a fire show at night? It’s some kinda decadence that’s for sure. I’m sometimes shocked when I see children on the island. My mates and I often wonder what it must be like for a infant growing up on the island with all these tourists. I’m sure there’s a side of Ko Tao the farang have nothing to do with, but it’ll be a minor side. Surrealism rules here.

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