Happy Summer Solstice! Being so close to the equator there is less variation in hours of daylight here throughout the year. It is 8:30 PM and it's already completely dark. I’m pretty sure it will still be light out at this time back home.

When busy season comes around and I actually have to work more than one day in a row again I’m not going to know what to do! I got a rare phone call yesterday asking if I could come in right away to teach a DSD. When I do get phone calls these days it is always last minute, usually because one of the head instructors doesn’t want a one-pack. In the beginning, when I was working at two dive shops and Dive Shop X would always call me the night before to let me know what I would be doing the next day, I was very happy. Every once in a while Dive Shop A would call me last minute and I’d always be busy with the shop who was nice enough to give me work the night before. Plus the concept of getting a call for work, ten minutes before they wanted me to be there was too much for me to process. I need to know the night before if I should plan on working or taking the next day off. I don’t think I mentioned it here yet, but after a good deal of drama, shit hit the fan and Dive Shop X replaced me with a bilingual freelancer. They never had the decency of telling me as much, I just figured that was the case after never hearing from them again. Oh the life of freelancing. So now I’m left with phone calls from Dive Shop A, ten minutes before they want me at work, and I’m desperate enough for work at the moment that I always drop what I’m doing and jump on those opportunities.

So yesterday I got a rare phone call that Dive Shop A wanted me there in ten minutes to teach a DSD, and I ran to my bedroom to change and rolled down the hill as fast as I could. I got there to find out it was actually a ten-pack of friends traveling together from Ireland. Ten DSDs! We never have groups bigger than four at Dive Shop A, so there were three instructors assigned to this group. DSD stands for Discover Scuba Diving, and if you don’t know what a DSD is, it is a person who has never been diving before who just wants to try it out before committing to the full certification course. So we throw some gear on them and throw them in the ocean and hope they don’t drown. They have a blast but the whole concept of diving without proper training scares the crap out of me. 

All things considered, it went remarkably well, as well as could have been expected, but you can imagine what it looked like to throw ten Irishmen into the water. They were all having the time of their lives, and were too busy high giving each other to listen to anything. 

For those of you who have never been diving, it is a bit like riding a bicycle, you’re not going to figure out balance right away and it’s going to take tipping over several times to get there. We’re used to walking around on a solid surface our entire lives from the moment we are born, and suddenly that is taken away and we are allowed to move around in three dimensions. It’s not as easy as that though. We’re not used to moving around in three dimensions. In order to do so, we have to find the proper buoyancy. Too positively buoyant and we float to the surface. Too negatively buoyant and we crash into all the coral. It’s a very fine line. Brand new divers don’t know how to find this line. So there’s your first problem, they don’t know how to control themselves so as to stay off the coral and end up damaging it (coral is very very fragile).

Then take the fins we all wear to propel ourselves through the water. They suddenly make our feet two or three times as long as they would be otherwise, but we have no sense of this so its very easy to kick things with fins without even realizing it. So even if new divers do happen to figure out their buoyancy, they’re still kicking up the coral with their fins.

It’s a wonder there is any coral left in Japanese Gardens with all the beginner divers we bring there. With a group of one or two divers, it is easy enough to get their attention and point at the coral they are kicking up and try to sign to them to please be careful. Throw ten DSDs in the water though, and you can imagine the horror of watching coral go up like snow in a snow globe, in every direction, all in slow motion.

It wasn’t actually as bad as all that. Like I said, it went remarkably well considering the circumstance. And tag team teaching was a nice change. It’s always enriching to see how different people instruct; it gives you ideas for things you could do better yourself, and also shows you the things you don’t care for as much. One of the other instructors on the group was R, one of our head instructors who has been at the teaching game for quite some time, so I was very grateful for the opportunity to watch her teach.

Today there were no last minute phone calls, but I had other plans anyway. I had a game plan for a blog post I think you all will quite enjoy. Not this one, but one still in the making. My idea required being a creeper and standing on the side of the road taking pictures. Only the idea of being a creeper and standing on the side of the road taking pictures didn’t exactly appeal to me, so I decided to go to a restaurant on the main road where I could sit and take pictures while pretending to eat. Of course it’s rude to go and sit in a restaurant without actually ordering something off the menu, so I treated myself to brunch.

There is a restaurant right on the main road in Sairee Village called Zanzibar. It has decently cheap western food. I chose it because it was cheap, hoping they would have a Thai menu as well, because every place does, but after I sat down I realized the menu was just western. After that initial disappointment, I did make a happy discovery though. They make breakfast burritos! It is so hard on this island to find a breakfast that is not some variation of a plate of eggs and toast and bacon. Cafe Corner makes something called a Spanish Omelet which I do enjoy. It is pretty much potatoes shaped into a slice of pie. Then there’s a little British bakery called Through the Looking Glass that makes the pasties I was going on about the other day. And now I have found a breakfast burrito. Those are the three breakfast options if you don’t want a plate of eggs and toast and bacon. Don’t ask me what a traditional Thai breakfast is, I’ve yet to find one. Remember this island isn’t really Thailand.

I sat and ate my breakfast burrito and drank some iced chocolate with my camera poised in front of me at the ready the whole time, but I only got one picture. I was way too conscientious of the Thai servers hovering bored in the corner, watching me be a creeper. So after breakfast I walked around Sairee Village looking for an inconspicuous spot to stop and sit and take photos. I didn’t find any, but walked past a hair salon and idly remembered I’ve been desperately needing a haircut. I usually cut my own hair but the only scissors I own can barely even cut paper. No harm in seeing how much a hair cut would be. The lady inside told me 250 baht, but she couldn’t get to me for another 40 minutes. I said that was fine and I’d come back. That would give me plenty of time to talk myself out of it; I really should save my money.

I did talk myself out of it, and then changed my mind and went back. The lady still needed 20 more minutes so I tried to talk myself out of it once again while I walked around visiting all the cute and fluffy kittens and puppies of the area. 20 minutes later I was back on the doorstep of the hair salon. Once seated in the red leather chair, l motioned to the lady that I only wanted an inch taken off, just enough to clean up the ends. I then proceeded to watch in the mirror a scene that looked almost identical to the time I tried to cut my Barbie’s hair when I was little. I figured I’d give her just a little trim, but I could not for the life of me cut her hair across in a straight line, so I just kept cutting diagonal line after diagonal line until she was left with a bob. Don’t worry I still have long hair. It’s just lost a bit more length then I’d anticipated.

On my way home I had a brainstorm for my photo shoot and parked my bike where all the bikes park for the Monsoon Gym which is right on the intersection of the main road and the road up to our house. I then proceeded to sit on my bike for several hours taking pictures, much to the amusement of my roommate who happened to round the corner as I was sitting there stalking passers by. It’s only a little bit creepy. I think everyone will like the result. I’m still missing a few pictures though so stay tuned!