THE MYSTERIOUS ISLAND KOH CHANG
We entered the small, white boat run by skilled hands of not so old but very experienced river wolf. Given that he asked us for anonymity so that he could enjoy his Danube paradise, we’ll call him only by his nickname – Shark.
We cut the cold waves of the green Danube while the blue was preparing afoot cradle of the setting, ruddy, sun. Complete peace. The island in front of us seemed to be larger and larger, and not more than seven minutes drive away and we already stranded on the sand dunes. Shark came out of the boat and helped us to get out.
The sight burst before my eyes! Jungle, vegetation, sand dunes, green oases, flocks of gulls, ducks and swans, wild cod which was playfully peeking out here and there from the Danube dim. Madness! Is it possible that such a place exists here, near Sremski Karlovci, and that almost no one knows about it?
I was very curious, so I suffocated Shark with my curiosity. He led us to the house that he had built. The Bahama Mama style, this same wooden box, you can see anywhere on the Thai islands, the beaches of the Bahamas or somewhere on the Australian coast. Shark argued that he was the one who built it with his own two hands, of a material that was “earned” working seasonal jobs abroad.
The whole wooden structure looked like a cool house from a parallel universe. The house in which Jane and Tarzan would be comfortable to live in happily ever after. The house in which, I believe, the best waking up was with the chirping of wild birds, the lapping of waves, and indescribably beautiful view of the deserted sandy beach. In the lower part of the house there was a bar that was commercialized and prices in it were really symbolic – 50 dinars for mekike, or roasted corn, 100 pounds beer, 120 for wine.
I immediately noticed nice maiden face and an impish look at the bar. It was the landlady. As Shark told us later, his girlfriend and he have long been living on the island, in a small river paradise, cut off from every kind of civilization. And they liked it. He said his wife was just like any other woman so she wanted a manicure, the hairdresser – so, if necessary he takes her with the boat when he needed to finish some work in the city, but they both preferred life on the island to the city noise. I want to point out that they are both college educated, Shark was not satisfied with jobs in the labor market, even rotten taste of capitalism and consumer understanding of the world around him, so he (since he comes from a long line of fishermen and boatmen) decided to take the ship and surrender his life, dreams, and the days that were coming to the Danube.
I, as a woman, know how important my comfort is to me – I had nowhere to take a shower, wash my hair, straighten my hair, God forbid me from being bitten by insects and things alike. The smiling girl to who Koh Chang is home had none of it. Shark said he bathed in the Danube so that he did not have the need for the other bathroom, and his girlfriend heated the water in the bison and then showered herself.
I asked our river fishermen how he withstood the onslaught of mosquitoes, given the proximity of the river, the vegetation, the lagoon … He said he swore by black coffee – the soc coffee should be rubbed into the skin, or greased shampoo nettle – and no mosquito would bite you within a mile.
There was no fancy toilet, in case of an emergency one could use only `Polish` toilet – the squat toilet, hidden behind a bush. Insanity decorated the island. Plastic mannequins from shop windows, carved, colorful pieces of clothing from different eras.
The locals called this island KOH Chang because its appearance was very reminiscent of the Thai island, there was the fine sand which easily penetrated into the clean water, and all was rich in vegetation. I walked to the edge of the water to wet the sandy feet. I did not have the courage to approach a flock of wild swans that had begun to stir and aggressively clatter the wings.
The sun’s light faded in the blue waves of the Danube. It was priceless observing the twilight of this beautiful island, while Shark was telling the interesting anecdotes related to that island and the fire made of dry twigs was sparkling and crackling in front of us.
That was when I met the two “terrible guardians” of that earthly Eden. They were the sweetest snouts in the world, small, ears that were happily hopping, and tails that were frantically waving back and forth with joy. Shark told us that they were born there, on the island, and called Dzumarica and Dzumarica. It was wonderful to observe those adorable puppies enjoying the complete freedom and carefree play, running and rolling in the sand. I really believe that the puppies are always overjoyed and well-fed by Shark and his landlady, given that the two looked more like two furry balls than the dogs.
I noticed some people on the beach – a Frenchwoman, teenage Americans, and the young Polish couple from … How come so many foreigners were there? I asked Shark how those people had found him, and he noted that he did not want to promote nor advertise himself publically and that he would not want for his island to become commercialized and part of the official tourist organization offers of Sremski Karlovac, but that he occasionally agreeded to carry and share his little piece of paradise river with the people who had come to his number `on the recommendation`.
“Can we share with our readers your phone number and a real name?”
“Please, not publicly. only on the recommendation, if the people concerned are okay people … I do not want that word spreads about this and thousands of people contaminate it and destroy the peace. I still live here.”
Although he loves his peace, they now organize trance parties on the island annually. These parties last for a few days, they inflame the torches on the beach and the whole island gets flavor of Thai FULL MOON party under the open sky, which is traditionally held every year on the island of Koh Phang An.
Visitors of these parties are fans of trance and electronic music around the world, and are mostly foreigners. After a few days of continuous entertainment, the music stops and the Koh Chang again immerses in the tranquility and harmony …
… At least until next year!
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