Before the sunrise
"Aha, I'm now in Baan Tai, and this is a South of koh Phangan, each sunset here is spectacular. But to meet the Sunrise better to move myself to the nearest mountain" - with this idea I found myself at Haad Rin Nok - between the Full-Moons its usually almost no-one here - that's how big party once a month protects this magic place the rest of time.
Then the new idea comes to mind - to climb upper - to watch the Sun better - being to Him closer. Done with pleasure! Its also give a chance to see how Mountain Bar looks like - jungle telegraph told that "Kangaroo" now also over same management, as previous owner planning to start something even more interesting on the Wild-Wild East of the island - (what can be more interesting that "Kangaroo"?! - will investigate & try to highlight on my next visit). Before 2 talented sistazz were staying in Haad Rin and painted murals in "Mountain" so good that its give me reasons to dive-in to art and order the painting of Boddhidharma in our first tea house. At the morning empty bar looks amazing too!
Being a curious by nature, mind drives me further to pre-Kangaroo party fields - to the bar behind it - where we had a wonderful time years before. This time picture was different - let's say that bar now closed. Also it was a row of 7 or so bungalow going up to the mountain to the right side - now the path was non-even-visible.
So I follow my way closer to Heavens.
A little more above, a picture a little more different.
That was a place where I suddenly understood that I'm somewhere on the middle - between Haad Rin & Haad Yuan, East & non-East, Eden & hell - so its more reasonable to continue the journey - first throw the jungle forest with stones & views all the way, pyramid-stones, rare trees, depicted in sacred Vedas, and other wonders.
The next part of the nature trail is a waterfall flow - with cold clear water it saved me from heat and mosquitoes - those little vampires hasten you all the way! After quite long path I saw visible sign of civilization - "Russia"on a stone.
On a cross-roads I'm surely chose the right direction, and was guided by view-point of Haad Yuan. So trust to the master - always try to chose wrong way and never use guides and software applications, maps and tips of "experienced" folks - we all stealing priceless pieces of your own experience - your Life - religious people like me believe that its theft from God, not from the person - from The One who enjoy. Courage myself with that ideas, I was looking around, in a middle of a day Sun get its Max power.
Attempts to relax on a hot stone, and I following my way - last part was hard because the road was hot and not comfortable to walk without shoes (I left them in Haad Rin, because wanted just to walk on a sandy beach there:) - Until eventually "Stone Bar" sign appears. What's a good name - we just created page for "High Stone Villa"and it was looks like a good sign.
This gives the feeling to stop making pictures and have a lunch at the best restaurant at the East! If you know it - you would agree, as photo will not be provided (as food not getting better with super-popularity of the already popular place:). Way back I made on boat - same 300 THB as at night to the party!
scenes from AFTER-LIFE at Wat Samai Kongka
Common theory is that we're immortal and will never dye, continue our everyday activities forever. But there are some who still think different - that people are mortal, the length of life is unknown and the path will not ends even with death. To show what will happens with some of us artists at Wat Samai Kongka created that demo - "scenes from the hell".
This is more like a photo-story...
This was a place where time ago my friends invited me to work - I arrived and next morning saw the beauty of the island. Sleepy beach with low water level half of the year, lazy dogs on the beach and rich vivid colors of Moon & stars every night, atmosphere of relax & chill. Place was empty, but well-known - Princess Beatrice was staying here little bit before us. Our team was a party-gang, and the loud tech-parties was our almost-nightly event. Party-goers from all around the island coming to join, and its lasts quite for a while...
What is all about? - in a genre of real story here gonna be idea of public-owned "Phangan's special" place as a community center which otherwise soon will be sold and closed for public entry. Following the way of this tale, what is also part of my life, I'm looking to try a new effective forms in "saving common values".
What's on today? - 6 cheap bungalows, reception space with common kitchen and terrace on more than 1 Rai = 1600 sq.m. of koh Phangan surface below the temple, from where we hearing the pre-sunrise bells.
THE BEGINNING - WILD ART TEA HOUSE in khao tam area of baan tai
The story begins years ago, when I was dreaming to create an open air tea house and found the perfect place for that - picturesque concrete ruins with charming views on sea & greenery around, in the area below Wat Khao Tam - internationally known today for its silence sessions. Great man - friend, who has a resort nearby told me: "No one heard from the owner for years, even the owner of abandoned building next to it. So sure, it's the best place for a Meridian tea-house. Together we'll launch it quick!"
I met our first artists - The Alien Sisters, who awesomly painted half of Haad Rin, including the legendary "Mellow Mountain". So that night I was going to "Jungle Experience" to make an appointment at our space and start to create huge wall-sized artwork - it's supposed to be the root-scene, a meeting in ancient China, which changed the whole wheel of human history while at the same time changing nothing - pre-birth of Tea, Zen and Shaolin temple - Bodhidharma, sitting with a shoe on his head meeting the great Emperor Wu of Liang.
It was the moment of our first meeting with Kris - together with 20 kg of tea & tea-ware she arrived to Phangan just days before from the most beautiful and largest tea house in the world; that night she was preparing tea for the our common friends on a way to the "Jungle" - somebody was complaining that he sobered up after a few cups of Chen Puerh. The meeting with Kris that night changed ALL and predefined the following chapters of story.
At that time we were just few friends & partners, including Natik - a very strong, beautiful and inspired big person, who also loves tea, preferring Chu Puerh with Syberian herb. Things and jobs which are taking weeks for others Natik could do in hours and minutes. So soon the first tea in a natural surrounding should be served. Natik is an extremely strong player in table hockey - he even has a page on Russian with his rating. This hero made electricity and lights, ropes around the area, ordered and improved furniture and made many of other things.
Our local helping force is Shine & Ja - the beautiful owners of resort next door. Shine made us a lot, preferring things which are barely possible - acess to each of places, toilet, wooden details for the interior and lots of other decorative touches. He also the Big story teller, who's keeping his stories for the perfect time, place and company.
With this support our first tea house was opened and people starts to come, drink and learn the main kinds of Chinese teas - in a centre of Baan Tai on Phangan Island our first tea stock included various Chu & Chen Puerh, Oolong, roasted Oolong & Gaba, Te Guanin, Da Hong Pao, Longjing, Taiping Houkui and herbs for add or make herbal drinks, as we learned more about the plants for the hot water and its benefits for us. Also few yogis comes sometimes to do the yoga.
The owner of building soon arrived - first time after many years of absence, and looks positively surprised. He found time and money to complete the house of his dream and swiftly started to built it to freeze it later again - now its beautiful; also deserted, but not like at that time of very beginning.
And our nomad company moved to the building right next door - to the place even higher, where we were staying even less - our tea dog Bombay* couldn't climb there and people staying at upper house didn't like it too - from every evening til late at night (we just discovered how cool is to sit under the Moon) different people climbing up and down in a front of their balcony. We didn't had stairs to 3-d floor, where was a tea space, what is also stopped some of our friends from visiting us. Looking around from the top of the terrace, we saw the Big Stone and loved him.
big ston -TEA HOUSE-3
Big Stone was belongs to Shine & Ja, so there was no danger from 3-d party. Also there was place for the fire in front and tree blossoming with 2 kinds of different flowers at same time behind our place at the top. It was next step for us closer to nature - we could make a water on fire and tried all waters with various teas, what we could get. It was a time of deeper diving into tje tea action, hovewer something "steel" still existed between me as a newbie-tea-master and the Source. So me with Kris decided to leave and travel, others has got similar idea and tea parties was paused for years.
news from time before we return
Soon from that time, due to the personal circumstances our friends should sale the Big Stone, together with 2 houses below, and Shine left for long time the island. Now one of the biggest villas on Phangan hurrying-up to completion there - right on our Big Stone, and maybe it will be offered for rent throw Dozen Villas (in case in owner wants to rent it we have a common contacts).
Other news were that our other common friends built the large spacious terrace under 2 trees at reception of remaining 6 bungalows, which is perfectly suits the purpose of new Phangan Tea Center - with new knowledges and meetings our itea dea got more global and interesting!
Also we founded Kalos Fund - UK-based non-profit foundation to optimize and run all our current art, Eco and creative-marketing activities, which supposed to promote Center of Tea Culture on Phangan.
birth of tea travel
One of the reasons we left the island was to complete our it-project - built our own hotel booking engine, which should be easy in use enough for small hotels, who don't has dedicated staff, and requires low speed of internet.
We made it and started to play with new actual travel niches, when the idea of Tea Travel appears as a light in the darkness - 1) accommodation place with clean water from nature = also clean air + 2) area on nature to enjoy the tea and run tea parties and ceremonies +3) collection of best teas for that place - now its optional, and most of the tea-places don't have it yet.
Other news comes from the north of Thailand - our new friends found plantations of tea trees, as well as wild ancient trees - some of tea trees there 300, 500 and even older than 1000 years old. Learned for long years in mountain temples of China how to collect, ferment, roast and press the tea, now he sending us best-iever-try Chen & Chu Pu-erh, and also from time to time Oolongs, Assam and others. What makes us tea-lovers incredible happy! Mostly its made from Thai tea tree leaves.
Mostly because there are also Burmese unknown treasures - wild-wild jungle very old tea trees - peobably alive deserted remains of powerful ancient empire. And Phongsali - fascinating and unique area of Lao. Together they're creates geo Tea Triangle.
NEW HORIZONS - KHAOTAM art'n eco COMMUNITY CENTER
While we love to continue our Tea journey, there are many other things start to happens on our tea-jungle-arena.
photo-stock: bungalows of the center