Well, I spent a great 4 months on Kapas Island, and it took me a few months before I was finally able to get down on paper what it was like to live and work there. To live and work anywhere with tropical waters always in your view. So, here is the piece I wrote in hopes of showing you my island:
“A man with a beard walks toward me and takes off his sunglasses to inquire about a cold can of Coca Cola. As I walk into the kitchen to grab the soda, I chuckle to myself thinking of how this man has accidentally stumbled upon a perfect mixture of Robinson Crusoe meets David Caruso. At this point in my travels, I have been living and working on a small island called Kapas off the coast of Malaysia. Returning with the iced drink, I find the bearded man looking out over the ocean and to the mainland in the distance beyond, “Terrible place to work, huh?” His voice is dripping with sarcasm. “The worst.”
Thin strips of sunshine break through the window and I head down to begin another day of work at the resort. As I walk down the poorly-made steps of concrete embedded with uneven stones, I feel the wrongly positioned rocks jutting up from the steps and into the bottom of my feet. Months of living without cumbersome shoes has turned my feet to hard strips of leather; thickened, jungle-made organic boots. All of the guests remain in their beach bungalows, hidden under soft sheets and mosquito nets as I head down into the ocean for a swim in the early dawn waters. The ocean is surely raging somewhere else, but here in the morning it is a turquoise lagoon; quiet and clear. Coming out from the water, I take two large buckets of my lagoon up with me and pour its quiet life into the basins that sit in front of each bungalow; an island luxury to stave off sand between the bed sheets of guests. The resort is still unmoving aside from the first footprints I add to the beach. With a small green rake I create a zen garden in between the ocean and the bungalows, then just for a laugh I sign my name into the sand. I hear footsteps and people begin to emerge like flowers blooming again after a long winter. The sound of glasses, plates, and cutlery fill the restaurant as people sip their coffee and eat before heading out for a snorkel. For now, the ocean belongs to them. Sheets fly off the beds, pillows are plumped, and bathrooms cleaned; erasing the evidence of previous tenants in order to welcome the new.
When the resort is renewed and the guests are entangled within their own relaxation and enjoyment I am finally able to return to the ocean. There has always been a certain fascination with the ocean. From the surface, it is blue-green glass that extends as far as the eye can see, but when you break the membrane and fall below the surface, there is an entirely different universe locked underneath. The worst part about the ocean, the cruelest joke it plays on us, is that we only ever get to be tourists within it. And so, I stamp my passport in 30-second bursts as deep as I can travel. With a mask pressed tightly against my face, I swim until the surface above is a distorted window and the sun is a shapeless light trying to break through. Fish of all shapes and sizes swim past in schools, a clownfish comes out from its anemone to tell me, ‘move along, sir. This is private property.’ Stingrays, jellyfish, eels, and sharks are scattered throughout the reef and don’t fear my presence anymore than I fear theirs. My camera films as much as possible before my lungs remind me that my visa is about to expire and I must return to the oxygen-rich world I belong to.
The sun begins to fade and the night rests upon the island like a leaf upon the water. Bats fly out from the cave to feast upon the mosquitos and flies that deserve what is coming to them. Small colorful lanterns of every color are lit and placed upon each table as the chef runs back and forth in the kitchen to prepare a meal that will inspire the nostalgia of home and invoke an honest compliment. Cocktails, beer cans, and wine glasses alike are toasted in the air with a cheer to slow-paced island life. Eventually the sun has disappeared and tiredness creeps into the veins alongside the alcohol; calling each to their own bed. The fan whirs back and forth cooling the humid room as rain clouds turn my light rooftop into a snare drum. The thunder booms a sweet lullaby in the distance and I slip away into unconsciousness.
Tomorrow I will lasso the island with a kayak.
Tomorrow I will harness the wind with a catamaran.
Tomorrow I will jump high off of the islands edge.
Tomorrow I will stamp my passport once more. ”
P.S. – While I was on the island, I filmed a few videos, if you would like to check out my work then head over to my Youtube channel. I would suggest the two Island Life videos. The other two are joke videos (which are also enjoyable) that I made with friends for a laugh.