March 24th, 2005

Pai full moon

I have not seen the moon as yet. I came in the Internet cafe after a dinner of padthai, a savoury lightly fried noodle dish. But the number of notices posted around for full moon party for tonight told me that it must be full moon tonight. The scene is nowhere like that of Koh Phagnan full moon party. I guess any parties here will be very quiet in comparison.

I was first in one of those KP full moon party way back in 1991 when it first started. Since then, it grew and grew in KP to the point that I tried to avoid going to KP on full moon as no rooms and accomodations were available. The atmosphere changed to techno music which I did not like.

I had not moved about much yet as I will be here for a while and I just walked about the town which was a small hamlet when I first came here 4 years ago. I tried to recognise the old places but found so many new shops and places and guest houses that I gave up.

Then I came across a group of guys playing chess. I was surprised they were playing on a good tournament chess board and set unlike those miniature sets I normally see. I was drawn to them like bee to honey. Two were playing watched on by the guru, a Dr IP Garuda. Dr Garuda was an American who married locally and is resident in Pai and the chess was played on a table outside the shop owned by his wife. He told me Garuda was given to him by a Tibetan monk from the Milerapa lineage in USA. My ears sparked up as that mystic Milerapa was a favourite of mine. We exchanged our views until that game was over.

We then played. He was strong. The tension was high as after a few moves, he realised that I was also very strong. The fight went on after a complex middle game and into the end game. He could not stop my pawn from queening and he resigned. The others were stunned. I told him that he stretched me much more than any players I encountered in my many years of travelling.