Monthly Archives: February 2013

Am I too old for my nine year old friend?

Koh Tao, Thailand, December 2012

It was a quiet afternoon at the quiet end of Sairee beach. A Russian man played with his little boy in the water while his wife watched them affectionately. A private diving tutor looked for some potential students, perhaps some alone girls whose boyfriends left for diving lessons since early morning. He was offering me a ride on his boat while she came to me. She was tiny. Her skin was typical of people who spend their lives on tropical beaches. It’s smooth. And it’s much darker than mine considering that she is Thai and I am Vietnamese. She held her skinny arms towards me. I had automatically held them before I realized that she wanted me to show her how to swim. Still I wonder why she picked me out in such a crowd! She soon found out that I could not swim either. Plus I don’t speak Thai. So we just paddled in the shallow water and chatted in broken English. She is called Pai. Nine-year-old. She said she wasn’t at school because it’s holiday. I wondered whether she helped in the restaurant that I had my fruit juice earlier. Maybe not. Perhaps she was actually off school today. I wonder why she can’t swim. Her look tells a story of babies who were born on the beach, first washed with sea water and who learn to walk on the sand under the sun. The fantasy story that a city girl like me always dream of! I wonder whether she came to many tourists or I was the special one. I like to think I am the special one. Continue Reading