breakfast with fellini

I made it up the beach, about twenty kilometer (yes, here we speak in metrics) away from my last place (lets not use names, not to provoke old ghosts…) – I am now on Tonsai Beach in Dive Master Class and having a fun time. It’s a bit awkward having seven class mates half my age and clearly I don’t blend in; foremost, right now it’s Buddhist Lent which means between the eights and the eleventh’ full moon we should not drink, eat meat or smoke… Not the best time to join the “coolness” of my study companions, but having to explain it would be making me even odder than the fact I have an accent in every language I speak… So I let them “whisper”…
My job interview to Singapore was quite an odyssey! First I checked myself into a Hotel in Phuket; the Garden Hotel. Please never go there. I changed rooms four times until I had one with a working TV to discover, they had all along only one TV channel; Thai! So, missing my CNN I went to bed.
The next morning I had to be at the airport very early, hence I stood at the breakfast door by 6AM. A sleeping cook, yes, dressed and snoring on the first couch by the entrance, jumped into action and with all his apologetic Thai friendliness, invited me to sit down anywhere in the ballroom-like dining room. “I make omelet” he announced, busy marching into the dark kitchen. It looked like a Fellini set: The draperies once silver now stained grey, shred apart under their own weight. Remember when bands played on stages where speakers were taller than the musicians? Three of those on a far wall in front of what once was a cool seventies stained mirror. Cock roaches fleeting the early morning sun and parts of the parquet floor along the backside was pulled out, as if someone needed firewood… When the cook came to my table and sat down an instant coffee brew I felt for a moment as if I needed to pinch myself out of a dream. He apologized, holding in his other hand a mixing bowl with a foul smelling substance and explained: “The eggs… not good…” and pushed the ranzy batter in my face. “Don’t worry” I heard my self saying “ I will have something at the airport” and I fled.
Singapore was amazing. The city is sooo green and very clean. It helped I stayed at the Conrad Hotel; What joy – and CNN! I could move there in an instance. The meetings were fascinating. My work would require lots of study and inventive cooking, it has to do with healthy awarness and definetly targets the global future of eating. Let’s name it for now “project Q” as I promised not even to tell my mom… Sorry dear, I know that agitates you. Indeed, I got the job offer and now have to make a very difficult decision; This work would require me to pack up in Thailand immediately, go back home to Los Angeles and basically move all my belongings to Singapore  within two weeks… At first this is all flattering and exciting, but the longer I think about it the more difficult and complicated things become. I need a shrink!
So, for now I am back in Tonsai Beach (with Conrad shower gel and conditioner) quickly re-adjusting to the simple life and patiently participating in my dive training and study with Phi Phi diving www.ppscuba.com – Things were much easier when in my twenties. In all aspects. Although there is no way I want to trade… I’m sure some of you out there agree and smirk with me – Indeed: Youth is wasted on the young.
Mom is having hip surgery this week. I wish her a quick and easy recovery.
Raphael

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Let me bitch for once…

So I left Zeavola and the whole experience behind me, hoping I could part in good. I moved down the beach to neighboring Tonsai beach and signed up for a Dive Masters course. You might remember, this part of Phi Phi Island is the precise spot where the Tsunami caused entire Hotels and villages to be washed away. The devastation is still clearly visible. Now it’s re-living with mostly back-packers from all over the world, still attracted by the world famous diving spots. Becoming a Dive Master is actually quite a challenge end requires study and practice… It’s fun. Last week a huge Whale Shark swam between our diving group, scarring me; Apperantly this is a big deal since divers with much more experience never get to see one of those. I’ve become a beach bum living in a little shack and talking “young dude” dive-lingua. Mom wrote something in her last e-mail about midlife crisis… I ignore her comment.

Technically I am still employed by Zeavola, cashing in my twenty-four days overtime. Not sure I will be paid as regulated by the Thailand Employment Department. HR threatened to cancel my Visa before my legal work time has lapsed; in a last attempt to make things tricky!
My promised return ticket to the US was denied by the incapable Resident Manager, although clearly a part of my contractual agreement with the proprietor. I have it in writing that these is a part of my coming to Thailand and Zeavola accounting even confirmed a return ticket with me, which now disapeared… Is a ticket not a personal document as regulated by aviation laws? The discovery that the Hotel owners word himself has no value is a surprise to me. I truely believed I was dealing with respectful people. Already ugly comments from HR and Resident Manager come to my ears. He complained to employees and even calls guests that I am “full of my self” and a difficult and immoral person…” (Clearly he is unfamiliar with the meaning of some words used) The RM even had the balls to lie to visiting friend, saying I had left the Island, while I was still working in the Hotel. I think that wanna-be RM should fully concentrate on preventing the entire Hotel from slipping through his fingers instead of bad-mouthing the only functioning entity he had with a very well together kitchen. Now, while the food spoils in the Hotel refrigerators, my chefs are frantically looking for a new job;  For the last three days Zeavola facility had no fresh water nor electricity, the last guests left infuriated, complaining and did not even received their money back… I doubt with such serious problems on hand it is advisable to try damaging the reputation of your resigned Executive Chef while incapable of “leading” a Luxury Hotel of the World team… I’m glad I’m outa there, personally surprised that the Hotel owner never even contacted me; That, regardless of cultural differences is a sad sign of human interaction.

After Richard Quest, CNN came to do an interview on my recommendation, for which I received absolutely no acknowledgement from Zeavola’s leading team, I am forced under the disastrous circumstances not to support this Hotel any longer. Clearly the people in charge of Zeavola’s management share no good intentions to split honorably and in peace…

I will concentrate on my midlife activity and write mom a letter explaining that I am very content with my age and state of mind. Back to the decompression studies on hand…

Greetings from Phi Phi Island