Hello there! This is my first blog post ever. So bear with me as I tell you this story. I am teaching English in Thailand right now and over New Years I went to this beach called Hua Hin. This beach is known to be the Royal Beach because it is where the King goes on his lovely vacations. Now this little get away was pure bliss but I do not want to tell you about the entire weekend. There was one part in particular that stuck out. One day the group (Liz, Moses, Jeff, and I) decided we wanted ice cream and so we went on an adventure to find, not any ice cream shop, but the best in Hua Hin (or so says the Lonely Planet). Seeing that the theme of the weekend was “avoid using any form of transportation other than our legs” we began our trek to 18 Below.
On our way there we passed many store fronts and came across many obstacles. Such as dogs and pushy cab drivers. At one point, pretty far into our journey, we saw a sign that read “books, postcards, art and music” all in English. We were intrigued instantly. I walked in the front courtyard area and took off my shoes in excited anticipation. I walked to the door. Pressed the lever. Locked! We were all disappointed about this misfortune and decided it just wasn’t meant to be. We continued our journey to 18 Below. Once we got there we could see why it was considered the best in Hua Hin. The menu was diverse and the ice cream was cold and creamy. We were completely satisfied sitting in the quaint ice cream shop talking about what world we would live in and who we would be if we could live anywhere or be anyone. Our lives were not altered because of a simple book store being closed. However fate changed on our way home. We passed the sign again. I insisted that we check if the shop was open. This time we hesitated to enter the eclectic courtyard . We were afraid of disappointment repeating itself. It was not me who had the courage to try the door a second time, but Jeff who stepped up to the plate. He gently pressed the lever to the door handle and it clicked. It was no longer locked.
We went inside. The little shop was just as eclectic and intricate as the courtyard lead us to believe. It did not let us down. As we walked in the man inside greeted us with open arms. He wore a t-shirt and jeans and a pair of round frame glasses which finished his look off quite nicely. He was a tall man, but not intimidating. He had a calm, content way about him. He asked if we wanted water. His English was fluent. When we declined he insisted that we had some of his dwarf pineapples. They were delicious. And as we started perusing his little shop we began to see and read and listen to the story of his life in the books and pictures and music that we found ourselves diving into. The postcards that he was selling were images that he had captured himself. A few of the books were books he had written, and the rest were his own collection that he was selling as well as the music, all his own. The longer we stayed and the more I learned about this man the more inspired I felt. This kind, modest man took us in and shared with us, what seemed to be very personal details about his life. His passion was thrusted upon us and any other customers who entered. He was in a vulnerable state with his writing and photography and life out for criticizing. Yet he laughed easily.