Phuket wakes up to the sound of roosters crowing, the Muslim call to prayer and the thwack of a thousand hammer drills making their first mark in the concrete for the day. The traffic hasnâ€™t really kicked in yet, but a thousand cups of Nescafe three-in-ones have, and another day in this strange tropical paradise lurches forward. The art of this place for me lies in the ordinary moments, and often in the innocent early morning moments, moments yet to be sullied by the bold and unrelenting light of the day. It is trapped in the sounds of this developing South east Asian country waking up, like the splash of water coming off a thousand bodies wrapped in sarongs, in the metal clanging of a thousand spoons on a thousand woks, in the decisive thud of a thousand knives on a thousand chopping boards, and it is in the collective sighs of a thousand humans going about the business of building a first world tropical holiday experience. Of course, the experience of the tourist barely brushes past this excellent stuff on their way to the jewellery emporium. Beach culture is the dream being sold here, and it comes with beach chairs, endless cocktails, jet skis, parasailing, kitesurfing, the odd reggae bar and a thousand ocean view restaurants to test the strength of your stomach. But there is something strangely hollow about it, something kind of fake about it. A feeling that, if you peer behind the curtain you will see the timbers holding up the set. I guess thatâ€™s what you get when you transpose a lifestyle concept on an otherwise sleepy, unassuming little tropical island. The middle of the day is to be avoided, having been blasted clean of subtlety and left to rot in the baking heat. The nights, on the other hand, are to be treasured, for not only do they come to you significantly cooler, but they can house rare moments of beauty that, if you are lucky, resonate and synchronise with the tiredest of hearts, in the most delving of moments. The other night I was sitting out the front of a bar called Bebop in a funky little street in Phuket Town, watching the rain coming down, listening to some truly inspiring music battle with the tropical deluge for aural dominance, when all of a sudden, out of nowhere, it hit me. Maybe it was the music that did it, maybe it was the saxophone placed dead centre of our table that spoke to me with its misshapen, worn bell resonating with riffs long since past. Maybe it was the sheets of rain falling on the worn pavement that stirred my soul. Maybe the cocktails my wife and I were drinking were having their magical effect or the ridiculously comfortable chair was having its wicked way with me. It couldâ€™ve Finding the Art in Phuket / Tony Cameron
Published on Dec 11, 2017
Published on Dec 11, 2017
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