23 April 2016
These are the last photos of the sea, the palms, the black cliffs and the people who are roaming around the beach, always ready to fetch you a cold beer. Actually, I’m going to get up right now and get a cold Chang from the bar. Chang is a traditional Thai beer, with a golden label, embellished with two elephants who seem to be resting in the shadows of a palm tree. It’s a little bit bitter and it won me over from the first sip. “Classic Beer Thailand, Natural Ingredients” is written on the label. I take a sip from the beer and look up to the beach, where a few men dressed in black work clothes and yellow caps were putting some metal rods in the sand. A few meters further, on another couple of rods, they placed two decorative flags, one yellow and one white. All this decor is part of the event that takes place at the Surin Hotel every Saturday night, the BBQ Dinner. At the beach dinner they serve grilled sea food, vegetables, wine and you can also enjoy a fire show.
As we’re speaking, two more flags are being lifted, a blue one, right after the white and finally, a red one. On Saturday, as soon as it gets 4 pm, the sun beds on the beach are no longer there for tanning and relaxing… they get stacked and become tables on which the food is prepared and served.
A man with a fisherman’s hat is moistening the tablecloths with a watering can that looks like a widow cleaning spray. This helps them stay put on the tables when the sea breeze is threatening to blow them into the pools. Two other men carry ten chairs at once, using a mature bamboo stem. On my right, 8 sun beds are lying stacked in an L shape, on which the girls have already prepared 6 silver globes that have the role of keeping the meat warm and two more for the rice and vegetables. All this setup is lit by 5 lights on a stand, exactly like the ones we use when we shoot in the studio.
Meanwhile, the sun descended some more. On my right, a few people are enjoying the gentle evening sun in the sea. The yellow “medium hazard” flag is up since we got to the beach, shaking in the wind. Far away, the gulf is engulfed in warm steam, as if it were a “fade” Instagram filter, which makes the palms, houses and the beach seem a whole, lost in a shade of grey that keeps intensifying as the sun is setting.
This time next week we will be on the beach again, however by another sea, 10.000 kms away. It’s hard to say goodbye to this place. The same feeling creeps every time I wake up on the last day of a holiday: I feel an emptiness in my stomach that gets more acute with each coffee sip. Today I memorized better than ever each detail of this hotel, each leaf of the rain-forest in which the cottages have been built, each detail in the never ending red railing, each palm tree leaf we took a picture of…
The tables are ready, the girls have placed candles enclosed in glass on each table, as well as a sea shell. A girl with black hair tied in a pony tail asks me if I want anything off the menu she’s holding. I smile, thank her and tell her I don’t. She asks me if we’re leaving today. I say yes. She replies, with a sad face: Take care, ah? Have a safe trip. I smile, she is so cute. I’m going to close the laptop. It’s time to memorize the last details, as the sun is setting in the sea and we’re leaving soon. This is the tradition. We left.