After 33 days of living out of a suitcase and sightseeing nearly everyday, I arrived in Ngapali (pronounced Napoli) Beach where the Bay of Bengal meets the Andaman Sea on Myanmar’s west coast. The calm seawater sparkles like diamonds in the sun and other than a few coves darting from the land, fishing boats and tri-colored stripes of midnight blue, turquoise and topaz water comprise my view. The grains of sand fine, the baby waves roll in and out reminding me I’m at the ocean but tranquil enough to relax. The glass -covered sea extends beyond the horizon and the beach hurries to meet its demands. I play cat and mouse with the tide and when the water catches me and rolls over my feet I’m happy it stopped me as my feet melt deeper into the sinking sand.
The cycle of the sun announces sunset and I taste an orange margarita in the cooling warm breeze. For a moment in life, for three days, I am at the beach relaxing and like the fish swimming in the sea; I’m avoiding the capture of nets. Unfortunately for Mr. Snapper, tonight he is mine. My personal chef grilled the snapper before my very eyes on my private beach. Seriously, why do Americans prefer Thailand? My 15-mile beach hasn’t seen a crowd in years. I overindulged on the salads, skipped dessert and made it an early night.
Watch what the locals do for they are wise. Fishermen in Ngapali hunt their prey at night from sunset to sunrise. They do this because the local stray dogs (and there are many) howl and bark all night and they figured out it’s better to sleep during the day. The dogs screech as if being attacked by wolves and at some stage in the night I wished very deeply that a lone dragon or mythical creature rounded them all up to save me from my misery. If only mosquito nets isolated me from the noise and the bugs. Someone should really look into that invention. When the beasts tired and gave up their vigorous rioting it came time for the monks to start their voluminous praying. I’m curious why they don’t meditate at 3:30 AM when the rest of us are sleeping. I’m absolutely against any religion that needs to call its people to prayer. If they can’t get there on their own, please don’t bring it to the rest of us –so says the Grinch.
I confronted the general manager of the hotel shortly after lunch. He inquired upon my check-in to the hotel why so few American visit Myanmar- specifically Ngapali Bech. When I told him I figured out the problem, he replied, “the Wi-Fi.” Um no….The cocktails. At lunch, I ordered a lobster salad, pina colada and water. I received (45 minutes later), a free sweet ice tea twice the size of my pina colada, a bottle of water double the size of the tea and a lobster salad not to mention I mustered some very valuable sun time to walk a whole five minutes to the restaurant after my third attempt to order a pina colada with the beach guy failed. Americans are much too impatient to expend that much energy for anything especially on vacation. They demand timely service and in an overindulgent manner.
You visit Ngapali beach to experience serenity. A few resorts line the beaches but for the most part it’s a quiet area surrounded by small active fishing villages. It’s a secret to everyone except the Chinese and the Swiss so once the word gets out I fear this sleepy area will be overcrowded. Until then, I plan to take long strolls along the beach at sunrise and sunset, swim in the pleasant, calming, and clear ocean waters, eat papaya, watermelon and fish to my hearts content and struggle through a massage or two.
I’m here at the beach with my clearly marked footprints in the sand. I am collecting polished stark white shells and kicking up water in the surf’s sand. I’m resting yet restless. The ocean recycles day in and day out and I’ve watched it churn up the seas bold waters for hours but I want this moment to last to be hypnotized by the sun and the moon and the stars. It will last for three days. I will take it.