There are rumors of a beautiful, isolated beach on Koh Yao Noi.
As I focus, the melody begins to crystalize and I realize what it is, the ezan, the Islamic call to prayer.
The sign is glowing blue and undeniable.
Welcome to Patong Beach.
Sometimes you get to a place and you realize it’s just not for you.
The banca boat tugs against its anchor thrust deep into the sand as the waves push it to and fro.
It arrives and I see that the shuttle we’re taking on a six-hour journey is nothing more than a glorified mini-van.
We stumble out into the wet, warm night in Manila.
“Where are you from?” The woman in the food truck pushes two iced coffees toward us.
“Oregon,” I say.
“But my mom lives here,” Kelly added. “We’re just visiting.”
I add cane sugar to my coffee and stir. I notice that the ice cubes are made out of coffee and shaped like stars. I take a sip and the sugar is grainy. I feel it crunch between my teeth.
It’s scary and weird and hard to think about leaving Portland.