There are few people who touch our lives to the core of our being, those special people in your life that know you inside out, those people where you are able to strip off all the masks and be yourself from the inside out. Those people who strike something inside you to let it all go and be who you were meant to be in this world, those people who accept everything about you as you are, Jenny is one of those people for me. One of the things that I know about myself and have been told by numerous teachers, guru’s, readings is that I could use more joy & laughter in my life. All of the things that have made up who I am, my personality, all incorporate seriousness, perfectionism, getting it right, doing the right thing, appearing a certain way – the challenge in my life has been to let go of all of these things that made me who I thought I was for a very long time. Jenny is one of those people who tickles my funny bone, who has a similar sense of humour along with our history of silliness over our lifetimes together.
It seems that when we are in the air this complete ridiculous, silliness surfaces and we act like children. The flight to Phuket would be no different we would disrupt or entertain, depending on what end of the spectrum people sit, with our laughter, our silliness, and our complete attention to one another as we let loose and became children once again.
After an hour of fun we would be greeted at the gate by our driver and driven to our new home for the next six days, Phuket, Thailand. Spend the days exploring the rather large city, frolicking in the ocean, boogie boarding, and eating great vegan food. My fist pumping vegan daughter is teaching me with her very passionate, informed, activist vegan viewpoint the value of being and maintaining a vegan lifestyle. She is impacting the way I look at the world through the eyes of a vegan. I am not a vegan yet but see myself living that lifestyle in the future, it is a transition like any other transition which means it takes time to settle into the newness of a way of being, a lifestyle.
Exploring the island Jenny – Jodi style would include beach time …
Jenny kicking ass at surfing lessons while I took the rightful backseat and took pictures. I am learning to know my limits and play within it, sometimes! It is has been a difficult transition into my 50’s and realizing my limits and playing within them especially when I get together with Jenny. We have always has this competition with one another and I have always made it my mission not only to keep up with her but to be the best that I can be at whatever we are doing and sometimes my injured spine and neck have to let me know the hard way! After observing people put their bodies on this surf turf and ricochet off the walls bending their bodies into unnatural positions I just knew this was not something my body could afford anymore. Sit back and enjoy the little voice screamed!
It turned out to be a good decision as Jenny moaned about her neck, back and body in general recuperating after her spills on the surf turf!
Touring around on a speedboat to Coral Island for some tourist action, a full boat of excited tourists ready to see the sights, we would take the front seat on the vessel only to realize a few minutes into the ride that this was going to be a thumping ride with the waves rolling is as high as the side of the boat hitting down hard several times reminding me of my body that has taken a beating over the last 50 years and that perhaps I should be inside holding on for dear life. Too late. I would endure the spine snapping ride of terror to Coral Island with its beautiful white sand beaches and thousands of tourists snapping pictures wildly. White sand volleyball action, back on the boat for a bumpy back-breaking ride to a tiny island for lunch, back on the boat to Raya Island for snorkeling, mango shakes and people watching, back on the boat for another round of spine alerting thuds, bus, home to rest and secure the neck pillow that would become my neck brace for the next few days!
Scooter ride of TERROR would be next in line. Since leaving on this journey I have always wanted to rent and ride a scooter but in keeping with my safety plan decided instead to wait until Jenny arrived. My vision was of a sleepy little town somewhere remote where there was very little traffic and very few vehicles on the roads. Phuket is nothing that resembles any of that but somehow it was next in the line up of fun that Jenny and I would get up to.
Gotta love the thought behind being on a scooter all day … flip flops, exposed limbs … what were we thinking!
A butterfly blessing prior to take off!
Phuket is a large, busy centre with vehicles, cars, scooters, trucks, all fighting for rights to the road. As we travelled along I felt more and more confident as the time rolled by, it was a beautiful sunny day, the roads were dry and we were sailing along with the traffic along the edges of the busy roads through the bustling town up in to the mountains with gorgeous views of the City below, moment by moment the traffic lessened until at times we were virtually the only ones on the road. This was looking closer and closer to my vision, my speed. We had no direction, no map, we were simply Thelma and Louise driving around on our scooters without a care in the world. At some point I, yes me, decided that I wanted to go to the beaches we had passed the day before as we returned from our day trip the previous day. How hard could it be? Follow the Ocean, glance at a map travelling back through the bustling city limits of Phuket and straight onto a busy highway with four lanes of traffic, we stayed tucked into the bike lane at the edge of the road, no problem. I was shitting my pants the whole way and asking the universe to please, please, please take care of us the entire time. We persevered, took a bunch of wrong turns driving through heavy traffic, highways, up and down massive hills but we did end up in Chalong at Rawai Beach. Starving we pulled over to feast our famined bodies on some vegan delights, peeled my aching fingers off the handlebars, straightened out my aching body and climbed off the bike signing the biggest sigh of relief I could muster, I didn’t realize I was holding my breath the whole time.
As we sat enjoying our lunch, as we sat conversing about the trip and both of our fears mirroring one another, suddenly the words rolled off my tongue that I was so happy it had not rained, a few seconds later it suddenly grew darker as the black clouds started rolling in, the wind started its familiar warning of what was to come, I felt my heart sink. The next thing I said confidently wishing with all my might “it was simply going to blow over” hung in the air as we stared into each other’s eyes realizing we did prepare in any way to travel in the rain.
The clouds blew by, the darkness descended and the roads remained dry so we saddled back up and took off on our journey searching for those beautiful beaches we had come to see following the windy roads at the top of the cliffs, stopping at various locations to let our toes settled into the white sand beaches taking it all in.
Not less than an hour afer the firt warning the skies darkened and the wind started signalling that time was up and it was tie to let loose. We were once again a little lost trying to find our road to start heading back to Patong Beach when the skies opened up and cried heaving sobs of mositure throughout the entire island. We had just stopped at a tiny local grocery store to fill up my tank and ended up hiding inside as we watched in horror. The winds gustling in a matter of moments, the monsoon had hit and buckets of water fell from the sky. I was filled with terror and absolutely did not want to get back on that bike and ride those busy roads on a scooter with my precious daughter in tow. Many thoughts flooded my mind, we could stay for the night, we could hire a truck to take us back home, we could wait it out, we could pray real hard for the rains to stop … none of that happened and we slid into our rain ponchos and got back on the bikes and started to make out long journey back home in the pouring rain. Terrified!
We drove slowly as the rain pelted down upon us. We didn’t really know where we were going, we would stop frequently asking the locals to point us in the right direction.
At one of those stops we would have to turn our bikes around and head off in the opposite direction. One of my huge fears of scooting is turning around afraid I will hit the gas too hard and lose control, this is a real memory as it has happened before. The roads were wet, it was raining hard, dusk was settling in and I had to make the turn as Jenny had already scooted off and had instructed me to stay close to her. In a bit of a panic I hit the gas and slowly entered the opposite side of the road making the transition with control only to glance up to see the rear tire of Jenny quickly approaching. I had a choice run into her and both of us go down or swerve and miss her causing myself to hit the pavement. All I remember is seeing the rear of her tire, swerving to miss her and then jumping off the pavement picking up the bike and high tailing it over to the side of the road for fear that I would be run over by an oncoming vehicle. Jenny was off her bike and at my side hugging me before I had time to realize the impact of what has just happened. The pain registered immediately after I was safely to the side of the road, road rash sending my pain centre into a frenzy; left elbow and hip! Jenny immediately hugged me right before we laughed so hard tears streamed down our cheeks. I have to admit some of mine were terror, fright and pure adrenaline. Three men across the road were loosing it laughing as I pulled myself together and got back on the saddle. I was reminded of a time my young daughter of 4 years old lost her balance and fell of the galloping goose trail and straight into the blackberry bushes. The voice of her father raged in my head … your okay get back on your bike and finish what you started! The very last thing I wanted to do was get back on that bike and ride for another second but I did! We road the rest of the way beside the traffic going up and down the steep slopes of the roads inching closer and closer moment by moment over the next hour and a half.
It was a moment of triumph, stupidity, and a resolve to never, never, never get back onto another scooter as long as I live.
I got down on my knees and thanked the universe for getting us home safe!
Licked my wounds and laid my aching body down onto the soft bed as we replayed the day over and over again with Jenny bursting out laughing for days to come remembering the sounds and the vision of her mother laying on the concrete in the middle of the road with her silly rain cape tucked underneath her helmet looking like a dweeb!
A rest day would be imminent!