There was jamming at the Rock on Sunday nights, with some talented musicians turning up to play, and, sometimes, a Ukrainian girl who lit up flaming torches and danced around the deck to our music. I liked to join in on the djembe, and we all played faster when Anna spontaneously combusted like that. drums, sax, bass and didge — at times the music had a sparse weirdness that was completely right for the treetops, the rhythms of crickets and frogs, and the moon peering over the top of the hill.



I found the place by accident, like everybody does.I’d stayed in Phuket longer than planned, to keep an eye on Apsara’s kids while she finished up in Bangkok and got ready to move down here. I was living in a simple holiday bungalow and had rented another one for them. It was around the beginning of November — late afternoon of a beautiful day, just coming into high season. I headed up into the hills on my motorbike, and stopped at Karon Viewpoint to take photographs. Then I coasted down a side road, a long twisting descent through forest, with amazing views westward out over the sea. I took more photographs along the way. A row of six or seven spirit houses. A forest shrine. The road halved by a fallen rock. And then a strange structure, an open wooden framework shaped like a ship, with a bow section…

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