Koh Samui

Amazing landscape and tropical climate coupled with heavily polluted everything it's a paradise with hell-like features. There's so much extravagance neighboring mere ghettos. One minute you come across well-dressed folks being chauffeured around in over-the-top malls displaying grand aquariums and Lamborghinis merchandised with perfection... the next you walk past those shabbily clothed slumbering undisturbed on filthy brick tiles amidst boisterous street vendors. Maybe it's the same everywhere, but that contrast surely is more pronounced and in-your-face, much like the people there. Survival is key. From brand-names, sex, life-styles to new identities, everything appears to have an asking price, to be bargained if only you dare raising your voice.

Off the side of a dimly-lit alley, three small boys cheerfully playing with nothing more than a worn plastic sheet captivated my attention. Their genuine laughter brought tears to my eyes. There's always more to be desired and something else to ask for, but most of us don't really have a right to complain about anything. At all. Life is loaded with opportunities and obstacles that are generally not impossible to overcome.

On the coconut palm lined island surrounded by aqua-colored ocean with incredible stretches of white sand beach, all else seemed minuscule. Amongst luscious fruit trees stood dazzling multicolor gold-decorated temples. A badass gaijin biker with a pious-looking bespectacled monk in an orange robe on the backseat speeding into the twilight left such an impression. Privileged to see. Lucky to live. In the warm winter air, life felt as beautiful as ever.