|| Thailand Tour || Part 2 of 3 || The High Council ||

Tonsai Beach

Tonsai is known for a few things. Climbing the world's best-known cliffs, swimming and hanging out at the beaches, drinking many coconut shakes and lounging in different bars and beach spots. I can't forget about the Thai massages for only 250 baht. Currently 35 Baht = $1. You do the math! It's cheap!. Tonsai is really is a magical place and I can see how it sucks in all the travels who just happened to stumble upon it. It's like never-ever land!

Chill Out Bungalows

We made our way up to the Chill Out Bungalows, a place that held 1-2 beds (or a hostel type of room for cheaper). The floor I could see through, it was just boards nailed together to make a floor for the shack on stilts. Some would call it rough, I called it simple.

The bathrooms were all a little different in each bungalow, all were opened to the outside, which I found refreshing to see over into the jungle. A toilet which has no way to flush anything down mechanically. There was a bucket, a spout and a basin provided. You had to fill the basin up with the water, and pour that water into the toilet. Never flush the toilet paper down the toilet (Yes, that is contradictory, but it's not made for the toilets), However, each toilet came with a Bidet hose to clean your ass if you'd rather. I did, and it worked for me.

There was 1 fan in the room, and 1 electrical outlet. The outlet had the fan plugged in it, but the property only had the electricity turned on from 10 am – 2p.m. , and 6 p.m. - 6. a.m. The fan wasn't on during the hot parts of the day, so it was weird taking cold showers at first but it eventually felt nice. I was taking cold showers 2 -3 times a DAY!

Chill Out Bar 

Just below the Chill Out Bungalows was the neighboring Chill Out Bar. It has open space to relax in, large table tops and sitting areas, along with many Bob Marley and Jimi Hendrix artwork behind the bar.

The High Council played here on their first night. I remember while I was taking photos of the band, I could just see a wave of people dancing on in front of me, around the bar and restaurant, and even while slacklining, everyone was in a dance trance. 

 When we arrived, we all were greeted by Bon, 1 of the 3 brothers (Bee and Aye being the other two) who had moved here, 4 hours away from their homes to live and work in Tonsai. They found their homes and work to be at the Chill Out. They spoke a little English, and knew how to hold a conversation. They would join in slowly with their smiles and laughter. 

Their laughter and joy of life were infectious! I knew I would miss them from the moment I met them.

Tonsai Wildlife

There were many animals that would roam the property. From a front yard goat, to chickens, a rooster, a dozen stray cats, to a few kittens.

There were even snakes, lizards, spiders, and iguanas that made some appearances.

|| Photo Credit || Lily Douglas

From the kind Langur monkeys to the snatching Macaque monkeys, they roam around everywhere on Tonsai. From swinging around tree branches to jumping on the bungalow tin roofs, they were beautiful. Even the mean ones...

When we had arrived almost immediately from behind a Macaque had snatched a bag of fruit out of someones hands. However, more inland of Tonsai, the Langur had a kind presence. I even walked out onto my porch with the biggest one id seen, after I heard Ben yelling “Brie, shut your door...” As I heard him repeat it louder and louder. I walked out to see the Langur perched on the bench, with it's tail draping across the stairway below him. He was staring right at me for a few seconds, we locked eyes for what seemed to be a long time. At that moment I realized I never had a moment like this before, with a monkey 2 feet from me, in the wild in another country. The Langur than ran up the bungalow pole, onto the roof and into a tree. I was stunned and excited and even emotional.

Tonsai Beach Clean- Up Festival

The High Council were the headliners at the Tonsai Beach Cleanup Festival. The purpose was to clean the beach that day, and then bring many of the bars and shops down onto the beach by the stages, in vendor booths in rows on both sides. "The Holiday Band" and "Job to Do" opened up the festival, and really had the crowd moving!

Half way through The High Council's set, there had been a power outage. I saw a dozen of Thai guys trying to fix the 2 small wires that had been powering the whole system together, in the rain.....

During this time there was a 15-minute drum solo happening. At some point I realized that everyone who had been trying to fix the problem were now walking away from it (probably the best thing to do). A large group of us girls went onstage to support them by dancing the rest of the show out of them!

Photo Credit || Lily Douglas - Stage / Zeke Wakefield & Ryan Phillipart

Chuck Hues is an amazing live painter who came along to do a live painting to each set. Chuck makes each stroke with the beats of the music and his paintings are a reflection of the music that is coming out. When the band is done playing a set, the paint is being set.

Pirate Sunset Bar

Part reggae, part Thai and part Burning Man infused venue with a chill vibe filled with hammocks, tiny tables, swinging chairs, and mushroom shakes for the people looking to get weird. This was a place that The High Council played at all because of an encounter with the bar owner, Toffee.

Toffee is like the mascot of Tonsai. Everyone knows Toffee, everyone loves Toffee, and everyone knows all of Toffee's sayings. “Get Dat Shit” Why Not” Shut the Fuck up, please.” I don't like it. I LOOOVE IT!”

Toffee and Pang met through a tragic encounter. They had witnessed a man plummet to the ground in front of them at the beach. The base jumper didn't have the parachute open after jumping off the cliff. Toffee, Pang and another one of his friends helped this man to the hospital, which was quiet a trek out. The guy survived, and after that experience they shared, Toffee invited Pang and the band to play at his bar, and they were close ever since!

" The Wall "

Island Hopping

15 people deep and we all decided to get a long boat as a group, and go out island hoping for an afternoon. From Tonsai, to Ko Poda to Ko Ponanak, Tup Island and Ko Khom.

From snorkeling (First time!), swimming and not enough sunscreen, I was living the life of a screensaver, and it didn't feel real, but SO REAL at the same time. Was this my life?

Our boat captains even made us a meal, one with lots of rice, chicken and fish. The fish was the best part, it was whole and full of bones.

We spent 5 nights in Tonsai, played 4 shows, new friends, ate many phad thais and spring rolls and gained more friends that I thought was possible to meet in a 5 day period.

Tonsai Tummy – Most people in the group got sick, but I somehow managed to escape the sickness train. Some people were sick for a whole day or two. It could have been the food, the water, or really anything. One person could have gotten sick from eating the same thing another person did, who didn't get sick. I was lucky enough to not experience this. Or some would say... maybe I didn't get the real Tonsai experience without getting sick.

In the time I was with the band, I felt like a rockstar, and I was only the photographer! I had gained some new friends while in Tonsai, from the owners and workers of the bars to the people working at our bungalows, to the paired up or solo travelers. I was in a blissful state of mind when we were leaving. It was time to leave Tonsai.

Part 3 of 3 coming soon, so pretty please, stay tuned :D

East Coast Trippin

I gotta say, from the moment I left San Francisco till about now, has been one hectic trip. Not to hectic in a negative light, but just as in…. busy.

I arrived in Orlando, feeling drained from the 16 hours it took me to drive to Seattle from the bay. Along with Thelma breaking down a few hours after I picked up a rideshare. Long story short with that – she is fine, and made it back to my parents house the night before my flight.

I go on the plane exhausted, and had no sleep the entire way across the country. I walked outside of the airport doors, and my hair stuck straight out as if electricity was flying through my body. I booked an Air BNB on my 4 minute layover. I never have used Air BNB, because couch surfing seems like the way to go, but this time I didn’t have it in me to be entertained, or to be entertaining, I just wanted somewhere to sleep. This air BNB was a hotel room… which was odd. I guess the manager of the hotel puts the booked, empty hotel rooms up on AIR BNB, hoping to get someone last minute. Luckily, I was that last minute person for the night.

The next day my friend Chuck picked me up, we were both in town for work. We last saw each other in San Francisco, were we worked on the tour he was running. The premise of me being in Orlando was to work for this company again.

To be honest, most of Orlando was boring. Theme parks that included water, rides, and one that even included Jesus (See on Religulous with Bill Maher), took up the land. Working in the humid heat was shitty, but… we all pulled through and I didn't get heat stroke. Id say the coolest part of Orlando was the sunsets, but don't take that literally, because that humid heat still stirred up tropical rain storms in the evening.

We stayed at a resort through the company, and it was so big that I didn't want to spend my energy after work walking around the huge place. Instead I spent it watching sunsets on the porch. When the thunderstorms came through, so did a little tree fog. We named him Pete the guard frog, because he always came out when the tropical storms arrived.

Once we were done with work in Orlando, it was time to road trip up the east coast, where the last event was to take place NYC. We only had 2 days to do it, so there was not much to stop and see on the way. We stopped for a free sample of fresh orange juice, had a bite of gator jerky, and after around 80 miles and 50 billboards later we had to check out "South of the Border", which is described as America's favorite highway oasis & gateway to the southeast. It had a huge tower that was closed for the day, and Mexican statues of the mascot – Pedro.

It was dark and late by the time we decided that North Carolina was the first stop for sleep.

We headed out early the next morning from that lonely hotel on the side of the highway, ate some free hotel breakfast, and continued on our way, next destination D.C.