We are having property management problems yet again.
Our little holiday cottage, which sits perched on a quiet beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, has been orphaned once more. The situation is not as serious as it was 18 months ago, but it is still distressing to try to deal with agents and cleaners and bills when we are a couple of oceans and continents away. We keep thinking we should off-load our tiny white elephant.
After all, Koh Samui is far from perfect!
It sits in the Bay of Thailand, where the beaches collect all the flotsam that passing freighters and fishing boats can offer. Over the years, the hillsides have been overdeveloped with condos and resorts, exacerbating preexisting problems with regular flooding. Chrome and glass shopping complexes have gone up everywhere, with apparent disregard for the lack of infrastructure around them. The financial proceeds from the various development projects go directly to the mainland, and it seems as if none of it comes back to improve island roads, water, or electricity. There is a brand new, expanded International Airport – but once you are out of the car park, your life and that of your vehicle are in the hands of the fates. The roads are narrow, congested, in disrepair, and often under water. Getting from the airport to anywhere else can take an eternity.
So, why would you bother?
A quick look at a couple of old photos (above and below) might give you a clue. Once you are out of the main resort towns and off the patchy main road that circumnavigates the island, everything is quiet and down to earth. Local people farm the land and fish in the sea. Going through some old albums and the remaining pictures from our last trip cheered me up, and reminded me why we persist in trying to hang on to our island escape.
The last time we were on Koh Samui, the island was playing host to an international Triathlon. During the cycling leg, under a searing sun, we watched as the competitors breezed up our hill from their start at Nathon, many smiling for the camera.
Cycling up long, hot hills was well beyond my energy levels! Although we did pass several delightful days sailing around Koh Phangan and spent one afternoon zip-lining through the jungle canopy, most of our time was occupied in more everyday pursuits like browsing the evening markets. One afternoon, I met with a friend for a walk through her neighbourhood, where we could have been light-years from the modern world.
As we walked past the same Chinese temple that I had photographed after dark a few nights before, I reflected on one of Samui’s true simple pleasures: relatively inexpensive, fabulous fresh food, served up al fresco, and accompanied by glorious sunset skies.
It is these simple pleasures that keep us coming back. We still have hopes of retiring there one day…
IF we ever slow down and IF we can keep the place managed in the mean time.
Here’s hoping! Happy travels.