Monday, 07 February 2005
I was strolling along Hatrin's Southern Beach (sunset beach) on Ko Phangan when I came across Claire. A beautiful and bohemian young girl who really lived life 'au jour le jour'. She was an art salesman from France, selling paintings door to door in Australia. She spoke English with a really strong French accent and never wanted to go back to France. She had dropped out of school at an early age and decided to go travelling to put all her worries behind her.
I fell in love - not with her - but her lifestyle. I could never live the way she did, yet I found her life incredible. Why was she running from France? How could she live without a permanent home? Without permanent friends or a permanent family? Always on the road. This, to me seemed almost inconceivable, yet she loved every bit of it and made it seem so fascinating.
Zach on the other hand was a very calm and charming Canadian, always relaxed and a good laugh. He was staying in the same hotel as Claire and all three of us would hang out on the beach every evening for sunset and chat away about everything and nothing.
New Year 2005 was like any other New Year, except that it wasn't cold and all the partying took place on a beach crowded with 10,000 other people - come to think of it, it wasn't really like any other New Year. After a few hours of partying I lost my crowd. Armed with a strongly impaired vision, I concluded I'd never find any of the people I had started the evening with. So I made the most out of meeting other travellers - all of impaired vision too.
The following day, Claire, Zach and I took a short trip to Mellow Mountain after which we spent all night strolling the beach and cliffs. The whole evening was bliss and much more relaxing than the previous night. We all felt in sync with each other and with nature until a long overdue sleep started to kick in around 10 am the next morning.
I met up with the pair one last time for some more long and interesting conversations before heading off to pack my bags. As we said goodbye, I chose not to take any contact details from them: the whole time on the island had been so magical that emails, phones and addresses all seemed to contribute to a bureaucratic lifestyle Claire had managed to make me forget. We left it that we would probably meet up later in town for a drink, but the lack of any specific details made it a very simple goodbye.
Note: I hesitated in posting this story, as I don't find it particularly good: I don't think I have managed to describe well enough how fascinating Claire and Zach really were, yet I did promise myself to write about them and post the story, that night I left them on the beach. A bientôt Claire et Zach!