|The view South on Beach Road, Pattaya|
You definitely get to know friends, co-workers and casual acquaintances better when you travel with them.
|Some days I'd give up an arm|
to be on a beach like this.
I learned that many years back, so when I go anywhere away from home with friends I build in time away from them, somehow. It's beneficial for all concerned; be they your partner, family or your life-long best friend(s). Co-dependents excluded, of course!
Part of the reason of for this trip was to again attend a conference put on by an arm of an organization I'm involved with, and a friend from that same group and I spent some of this trip together. He'd come along with another couple of guys in 2010; all newbies to Thailand.
Two of them are scuba divers and have branched off to other places since, but one returned in 2011 and again this year; partially for the conference, but in all honesty more for the rented admirers. Everyone has their reasons, and I'm certainly not judging anyone; my stand is this: as long as it's legal and you don't do it in the street and scare the horses - enjoy your vacation however you wish.
|From the conference - very nicely done outdoor buffet|
Last year he'd established an ongoing connection with a couple of people in Phuket, so this year he wanted to be there for a fair part of his visit. This worked fine with my wishes, as I had new things planned and a couple of old friends to check in with, although of a different variety.
Some of them were the students I sponsor (and the charity folks who are kind enough to help me), as mentioned in the May 25th post about helping underprivileged kids with their school fees - where there's still far more of a need than funds available, by the way.
Most trips there I tend to over-book myself, and this time I intended to have more time to just wander on my own; time for some strolls along the beach, some reading, maybe a little shopping - and definitely more naps, one of the few guilty pleasures (other than food) I still allow myself.
|One of the sights I can enjoy just fine on my own|
As the conference was drawing to a close on Sunday morning, my friend was on his way to the airport to catch his flight to Phuket, leaving me on my own. I walked along the beach, sat in the shade and watched a few beach boys get looped, got a couple of massages from the blue shirts wandering up and down the beach and caught up with notes I'd scribbled on a pad along the way, foolishly thinking that a couple of words would spark my memory and allow me to fill in the details. HA.
Nevertheless, I had the melody and words of the old Afro-American spiritual - "Free at last, free at last, I thank God I'm free at last" running through my head. Feel free to insert the name of your own higher power there.
Now I could begin the side trips - and my actual holiday would begin.