Om Shanti, Om Peace


13 hours of sleep on March 13th. It would be awesome if it was too a Friday. I am a witch, a magician, a fairy and extremely well rested.

A morning stroll on the beach leads me to Time for Lime, a cooking school that donates all profits to a local animal center.  The owner is a foodie and animal loving Scandinavian with crazy roving eyes under funky hipster glasses and no bra. I love her already.

We chat about her passion for animal health, a center created with the intention to increase sterilization for strays, to shelter homeless animals, to provide all forms of necessary care. Lanta Animal Welfare is a non-profit organization run on donations and funds provided by the cooking classes and tasting menus at Time for Lime; the shelter is a private organization with no support by the Thai government. I recall my first official job at the age of 14 working at the North Shore Animal League in New York, cleaning the cages of puppies and kittens, assisting with the adoptions of the difficult adult cats, the ones with FIV (feline HIV) in particular. It was one of the most memorable experiences, 8 hours every Sunday. I loved the smell of it all, the wet fur and medicinal hand sanitizer, my parents I am quite certain, not nearly as fond of the scents I carried home as they picked me up at the end of my shift. My uniform blue t-shirt with white paw prints was removed promptly before entering the car.

The Swedish sister also shares why there are masses of Northern Europeans here, one couple came years ago and opened a successful resort and the tribe soon followed. Tourism is quite new to the small island of Koh Lanta; in addition most places are only open 6 months a year due to the monsoon season. Simple and direct responses. I leave and play again on the nearly vacant beach, walking, swimming in the perfect sea although missing my rasta company.

Alas the universe provides as it always does, a friend summons my attention out of the blue from the bamboo hut bar next to my hotel. He wins the prize for the best dreads yet and is more foreign in the assemblage of Scandinavians than I. His name is Om. No joke. Om. Om and I hang for a while, he has been living here for two years working at the restaurant. I am recommended countless fruit shakes and other blended concoctions. OM!

The evening falls shortly after I take an extensive walk to the next beach over, Pra Ae, where I find the only yoga studio on the island with a beautiful platform overlooking the water. The space is divine, the teacher a Swede expat. Classes are offered only a few times a week for there is no demand. I imagine practicing asanas under the setting sun over the Andaman sea to be perfectly complimentary.

Back to the hotel area to enjoy street food nourishment and hang with the couple from Vancouver Island. They are old enough to be my grandparents and free as young birds.

Om is requesting my attention but regrettably my belly is filled with sufficient blended fruit. We will all play again soon; perhaps I will accept his offer to make a single dreadlock in my hair.

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