once upon a time on an island far, far away in the gulf of thailand there occurred an event so profound that all the natives went into a deep shock and everyone wondered if things would ever return to normal again. this island, called ko tao in the native language, had enjoyed for the last several years relative luxury with the delivery of electricity.
one day, without warning an event occurred that drove everyone out of doors and onto the beaches. the lights went out and the boats stopped running. the lights stayed out for two days and two nights. the inhabitants of the island arranged for ice to be brought from the cities to keep their eggs, dairy and vegetables refrigerated, not to mention the usual supply of cold beer. candles were lit and distributed to all of the houses and all of the inhabitants stayed up very, very late outdoors because it was too hot to be inside the houses.
another consequence of this event was that none of the longtail boats were running and no one could get off of the island safely until things were back to normal. the only thing to do was to wait out the event. those who were in need of transit to the mainland would have to wait until it was safe to depart. the more nomadic of the villagers, those who were used to coming and going from the mainland frequently, were forced to stay put. in order not to go stir crazy with island fever, these nomads simply lit the candles in their houses, joined the other natives on the beach (the more permanent natives) and waited it out in the darkness. it wasn´t much of a problem because there was fresh fruit and a good breeze from the sea to keep them cool at night, and during the day they could lie under the shade of the palms away from the blinding hot midday sun.
during this waiting period, things began to change with the nomadic people. they became content, happy even. after the lights came back on and the longtail boats were again running, it occurred to the nomads that there was nowhere else they wanted to be except on the island. they figured that even if the lights go out again and the boats stop running again, it won´t really matter. being stranded on the island for a fortnight or more had shown them that it´s really not all that bad to be stranded on a small island far, far away in the gulf of thailand, lights or no lights. boats or no boats. they never looked back or returned to the mainland again. they had gone bamboo.
here is a photograph of some people who have also gone bamboo.
#special thanks to anthony bourdain, sans permission, for use of the term ‘gone bamboo’ from his novel of the same title. love ya, tony! i´ve gone completely bamboo!!!