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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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Hallelujah! The Beach!    

By Ken Silver About Asia
2509 Views | 0 Comments | 5/21/2010 11:31:07 AM

Life's a beach, ain't it?

Before you, the waves slide in and out of the world forever… By plane, by train, by bus, by boat, by car, by hitchhike, by any means possible, ladies and gentlemen, we have made it to the beach! Introducing, my favorite Tourist Life Zone, my favorite Live Here Forever Zone, my favorite Everything is Swell Zone…….the Tropical Beach! The tropical Sea Coast!

Don’t get me wrong. I like cold weather beaches also. I mean, who doesn’t like to wander melancholy, shivering in cold clammy fog; having some park ranger up on the bluff telling you via megaphone to put the dog back on a leash. Oh yeah, and going into freezing murky waves with a wetsuit on, trying to catch a wave while wondering how many monster sharks the size of a school bus are about to put in a guest appearance.

Back to the tropics!

It’s on the tropical coast, on the tropical beach, that the low budget hedonism of tropical Asia is at its’ most apparent, and probably at its best. Guest houses - a slangy term for low budget hotels that usually consist of separate cottage rooms - abound, quite often right where beach vegetation takes the place of pure sand. That means a lullaby of waves at night.

Think a $10 USD (at most) cottage with picture windows. Your wet swimsuit hanging on the front porch, along with the mixed assortment of seashells the ocean has given to you that day. You’ve taken a cold shower, dressed for the evening. Your guest house has its own restaurant, but perhaps you’ll stroll down the sands to dine with the friends you made on the afternoon snorkel trip. How does a whole fish in garlic sauce sound?

I could live the rest of my life besides the ocean. In fact, I plan to. The dress code is simple… bathing suit during the day. Go into the warm, clear, water, it gets wet. Hang out on the beach, it dries. Repeat as desired. At night, the same bathing suit, or shorts and t-shirt.

Beach cafes are plentiful. Along with lounge chairs. My personal favorite après swim experience is to have a couple of alcoholic drinks and listen to the waves; comfortable in the palm tree shade. Whoosh… Whoosh… Whoosh… Whoosh. Man, it doesn’t get any more profound and meaningful than that!

I recall… Whoosh… the Gilli Islands of Indonesia. White sand beaches with comfortable large waterproof futons to lounge on while the waiters brought your order. Remember, we are talking low budget. After a while I’d grab my mask, snorkel, flippers and go into the clear warm water. Saw sea turtles, lot of colorful fish. Then I’d lift my head out of the water and stare one island over to Lombok, where volcanic Mt. Rinjani towered over 14,000 feet high. Maybe I am easily amused, but seeing reef fish one moment, then a 14,000 foot mountain the next, never failed to amuse me. A specialty of the Indonesian islands, by the way.

That’s the beach life of S.E. Asia. Sure, you can meet a nice, honest, beautiful Asian woman there, or even another tourist. Scuba dive cheap, snorkel boat to your hearts desire cheap, surf cheap, lounge cheap. And sure there are bars and dance music and lean bodies dancing around. Vendors selling t-shirts, wood carvings, even vendors selling seashells by the seashore. There will be some internet cafes to continue your online dating experience.

A bit too populated, after a while? Rent a bike for pennies a day and cruise down the coast road. For every “tourist” beach there will be 2 more where you’ll be lucky to find a soft drink stand...
Whoosh… whoosh… life’s’ a beach and that is mighty fine with me.

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