I've been to many of them. Perfect beaches, I mean. But the ultimate one? Does it exist?
I got pretty close a few times. They were not just beaches; they were a state of mind. Like Lampuuk, in northern Sumatra, Indonesia. That place- yes, that place, right next to the village, Lhok'gna, the epicenter of the tsunami that wiped out Banda Aceh and all the people living on that coast. I was there in 2001; in fact I was there as the Twin Towers fell.
An existence filled with such pure simplicity and beauty; such utopian silence and exotic basic living. A cluster of bamboo bungalows on the stunning beach. Turtles riding the surf waves. Dinner was whatever was caught in that sea- tuna or shark. With rice. Only. Everyone eating together. Hammocks. An island nearby where deliveries were obtained from. Total quiet. A bunch of weirdo travelers- an unlikely collection of those who were not afraid to go into aceh, a Muslim separatist's land filled with Rebels of the GAM running through the jungles like pumping blood through the veins of the freedom thirsty Achenese people's soul.
That secret feeling of a place almost no one knew about. That feeling of having found a paradise unknown to most of man. That beauty. That beauty.
Wiped out on the morning of the 26th December 2005. Not existing anymore. Just like that- it was all a dream. Our dream.
Other utopian beaches I've been to... Tofo beach in Mozambique. Nungwi beach in Zanzibar. Zipolite in Mexico. Dahab in Sinai. Siqijour in the Philippines. Perhentian islands in Malaysia. These places on the map where I spent some time- time that was significant to me in some way. Time spent in between. In between land and sea. In this bubble beach existence, where time becomes circular and stress gets eradicated from life.
That's where I am now. In between worlds. Just the thought of doing something is impossible. This state of total relaxation is such a surprise- I'm not expecting it to enter, and I certainly didn't expect the beach bubble state to enter into me this time as I'm traveling with my kids. But it did.
It's such a precious time to re-set life. Such a wonderful place to be.
But, back to the question does the perfect beach exist?
The beach I'm on now, Om Beach, is certainly far from perfect. But it's close. I'm very very relaxed, creative and happy. But something is really missing. The food!! Every single restaurant on the beach has the same menu. The local food in India just doesn't work for me. I can't stomach it. And the western dishes that they are cooking are SO BORING. And on top of that, since 2 years back I know that I'm gluten intolerant, so my choices are minimal.
The only reason I see to leave our sandy bubble is that. The food. I miss food. I'm constantly unsatisfied. I think of food from back home, I mean home as in my native country. I think of all the good food I've ever had. I'm daydreaming about cooking my own food. I picture food. I taste it, literally, in my mouth, and it starts to water.
This happens on almost every single beach. Except... In Thailand. The Thai food just works for me. No gluten- definitely not vegetarian. I love it and it loves me. I feel strong, nourished and healthy. No dairy, no gluten, fresh and healthy and so incredibly tasty. But the problem is that on the very remote beaches, such as those in Ko Phangan for example, there's again that limited choice.
Beach food culture. Bad food beach culture. Far away beach food culture. Remote beach food bad culture.
It seems the best food in Thailand is in more urbanized places, the bigger islands like Ko Samui and Phuket- and there you don't find the quiet bubble like beach existence. So it seems you can't have it all.
This is why I can't stay on any of these little pieces of paradise in between land and sea for too long. In between past and future. In between then and there. I always need to move on, because my food-drive gets too strong. My hunger for taste and gastronomical satisfaction pushes me onward. Yep. I see a move coming on, very soon.
Maybe the perfect beach bubble awaits me at another location, at another time in my life. It wasn't here, Om beach, 2016.