Simone, Izzy, Anna and Gayle stayed the week 24th - 31st August
The third evening we broke out the joke about covering each other with homemade peanut butter, I realized that something special was happening. The evening orchestra of singing insects with a
throaty baseline of ribbits was drifting in on warm wafts from the jungle beyond and below us. Lamplight glow gargoyling our giggling faces.
The peanut butter is special of course, I’d never had homemade peanut butter before coming to Eco Logic Resort for Charity, but I mean something special was happening to us travelers. Eco Logic had lifted some layers of life weathering and we had shifted into a space of dancing, healing, sharing wonder, and despite my melancholy tendencies, joy.
We’d come to Eco Logic Resort for Charity, and the charity it supports, The Thai Child Development Foundation (which runs among other projects, a school for special needs children) for a week of daily yoga and volunteering our help in the sustainable gardens and school. All solo travelers, wanting to have a different experience of Thailand than that found on the long stretches of tourist riddled beaches.
Given we’re here for a good cause and to refresh ourselves with yoga one might expect the experience would naturally give rise to special feelings. I’ve discovered, however, that joy, and transformational epiphanies (which also happened at Eco Logic) don’t necessarily happen just because you volunteer in support of a worthy cause or attend restorative retreat. Having just come from a 5 week volunteer mission followed by a week yoga retreat on a Thai island, I can see there’s something a bit different about Eco Logic.
Let me track my steps to this realisation.
Getting out of the TAXI on the day of arrival it struck me how vibrantly happy the TAXi driver was. Her smile seemed larger than her face as she leapt upon my backpack to help me carry it up, laughing when she felt it’s weight. We walked behind a colourful, stylish women who’d saved Ana and I $280 baht on the bus from Ranong, when the teenage conductor appeared to misunderstand our destination. She spoke Thai.
Ana, the Dutch girl I met at the Kiwi lodge in Ranong, and I had been over-cautious hydrating and needed to visit the art deco bathrooms immediately. The bathrooms were lovely, made of wood finished with cement, with a thatched roof and a water barrel with floating yellow flowers. Afterwards we reconvened in the living room.
It’s actually a restaurant but it has the feeling of a living room. A wooden platform, with gold patterned ceiling and study wooden railings which seal us in safely and frame the view. The view is a vista of green, a jungle, real jungle with hills in the near distance shifting gently, that lush vibrating green of the tropics, both healing and invigorating. I don’t want to look away. I meet Izzy, the third guest, a glowing Londoner, Gayle, the American volunteer yoga teacher and Ingrid, the stylish woman from the bus, who is one of the two Dutch owners and founders. Izzy gazes at the hills, ‘I love it when some of the landscape is moving and some is not’ she says.
It is as she says, a glitter of movement darting through the foliage as the palms whirl round and back, amidst more solid groups of trees standing their ground. It’s mesmerizing. We are close enough to see individual leaves but far enough to see for miles. I learn later there are palm oil and rubber tree plantations mixed in with the native flora, from Eric, Ingrid’s husband. Knowing that doesn’t detract from that shiver of energy running up and round the hills.
We’re greeted by two Thai women, Gun and Pe Pui who bring us a welcome drink and cake, and check us in. This is followed by an attention grabbing lunch. Thrilling though subtle flavours, it’s just a taste of what’s to come. Salad, two stir fries, curry and rice, which seems a lot for us five. Anna and I make room although it feels like we just had breakfast. Being vegan, I avoid the egg for the first and only time of the week. Everything is cooked egg free after that; the stir fries, pancakes, tofu fritters, but I will talk more about the food later.
The good news is that Ingrid has upgraded us all from the shared dorm to private rooms. ‘They’re available at the moment so I can’ she says. ‘That’s just the kind of person Ingrid is’ says Gayle. We take our packs down to the rooms which stand beside the powerfully flowing river. The rooms are set in a long white building; a stretched out bungalow. They are fine rooms, solid and spotless, care in every detail, but they have the vibe of your arty auntie’s batch by the sea. There are artistic touches everywhere, leaf imprints in the red porch, sun, moon and butterfly drawings outside Izzy’s door, shells set in the bathroom mirrors, and tide of river stones set into the walls.
The rooms are silver inside, there’s a large sketch of skeletal apple core beside a massive clay vase filled with birds of paradise flowers in my room. I had a flatmate once who would draw like this. She was a interior decorator. In each room there’s a single and a double bed with delicate flowered sheets and mosquito nets. The bathroom opens in an outdoor garden and has hot water and bamboo taps.
One day Izzy has a bat come to hang in her bathroom, ‘Pet or pervert?’ she posts on facebook.
I am so jealous even though his furry little face is as evil as Bran Stokers dracular. Always when we are in the rooms or in yoga, we are accompanied by river, a soft roaring which makes me think of renewal. Forceful renewal. All of this, the relaxed vibe, attention to detail and thrillingly beautiful surroundings, are forecasters of the week to come.