I can’t lie, being in Tonsai Bay is amazing. Our bungalow is small but cozy, and we wake up to a breeze coming in the window, birds chirping, and monkeys skiddaddling around the jungle. We’ve found the best place to eat our meals, Mama’s Chicken, and eat heaping plates full of the most delicious food for around $2-3 per meal. Most days start with swimming, yoga, or reading, and then climbing after lunch. It takes us oh you know, about 4-5 minutes to get from our door to some of the best and most three-dimensional climbing I’ve ever done. The long lines of limestone are full of stalactites, stalagmites, tufa’s, huecos, roofs, tubes and caves. The other day we lost our friends on a multipitch climb because after the first pitch we took the different passageway through a cave. We finish climbing around sundown, eat more delicious food (hopefully smothered in nutella), play cards and go to bed. Every day is warm, sunny, dry and perfect for climbing.
So yeah, its pretty good here in Tonsai Bay. But every paradise has its drawbacks. After a week of being here I got Tonsai Tummy, a cute sounding virus that knocked me on my back with a fever, diarrhea, and a whole lot of throwing up. Since then, Rolf and I oscillate back and forth between diarrhea and constipation every 2-3 days. I woke up covered in little red bumps the other day because some spastic bug decided to go ape shit on my feet and legs, and our cuts and scrapes are constantly infected from the ocean or shower. Beyond our health, we have seen Tonsai scramble to keep up with the boom in climbing tourism in the last decade, creating a faux rasta hippie culture, instead of a true Thai culture. And then you peek behind the reggae bars and you’ll see huge smoking generators; the quick fix to give us access to electricity and wifi. The limestone cliffs form a horseshoe around the bay, so everything is brought in by boat, from the bottled water we drink to the building supplies for the huge (Sheraton?) resort they’re building across the road. This place will be so different in just a few years and we're grateful to be here when we are.
But despite how fast this place is changing, life still moves at Tonsai time: unapologetically slow and relaxed. Before leaving I was dealing with some frustrating tendonosis in my shoulder and getting anxious about being injured before going on a year and a half long climbing trip. But being here has chilled me out a lot and instead of worrying about the grade I'm climbing, I'm enjoying the lines I have been getting on. I'm so damn grateful to be here and I know exactly how lucky I am to get to do a trip like this. Reminding myself of that has given me patience with my body to rebuild the muscles around my shoulder so that I can climb for the next 18 months. And its paying off, my shoulder is getting stronger and I'm excited for my body to follow suit. Besides, the $7 coconut oil massages have done more to help me than the $800 I dumped physical therapy before I left.
I know this was a long post, so thanks for making it this far. There is still a lot to learn about (the real) Thailand and myself, but so far these are my thoughts on our beautiful, slow-moving life.