International Writers Magazine:Phuket
a Long Walk Down a Short Pier
Rawai Pier - Function over Form
lets not get carried away here. Lets get things straight from the
start. We're not talking Brighton or Blackpool here. This is not
a pier for promenading or funfairs. There is no candy floss, no
ice cream and the only hot dog is a mangy old stray mongrel (and
that will soon push off and find some shade).
Other things it
doesn't have in competition with the Victorian's are arm rails (best
avoid if drunk unless you want to sober up quick), no life jackets,
no benches commemorating some dear old deceased ladies fav place to
sit, but best of all there's no entrance fee and usually no one else
on it apart from the odd local hoping to catch the very fish I enjoy
looking at with a hook where a net would make life easier and the evening
meal more satisfying. But if you have nothing to do, walk slowly enough
and don't mind sitting on concrete you can easily waste an afternoon
there - I did and loved it.
Rawai Pier is a pier to fish off, or as the local children seem to prefer,
jump from and scare the fish off! But it works perfectly well and if
it takes you a little bit further out into the blue blue Rawai Bay than
you would normally be able to achieve without the aid of a boat or (in
my case) water wings, then it can't be a bad thing. Actually you could
almost drive up it if you had a car you didn't care about and an ambition
to be a stunt driver. But that seems about as sensible as trying to
land a helicopter on it which an expert might well be able to do but
just like the car might be better used to take you to more exciting
places (like one of the many islands in view).
I'm not really selling this well am I?
As for the construction I would describe it architecturally as Brutalist
or maybe brutally constructed would be more precise. Planks of wood
and concrete seems like a good way to build a pier to me as it must
of to the constructors. And as it goes you have to say it does the job,
it supported me and a handful of casual fisher people (men and women)
perfectly well although a few bits were hanging off in places and I
would recommend getting there quick to see it at its best.
So what's so special then? As a writer can I describe it as... you just
have to be there? No? Can't get away with that? Well it's uncomplicated,
it's a simple pleasure of a walk over the clearest bluest water alive
with fish of all shapes and sizes and colour (sorry I only know the
names of the ones coated in batter). It's being out over this water,
feeling the warm breeze, feeling relaxed and feeling like this part
of the world is alive with the things it should be alive with - nature,
feeling like cars, celebrities, soap operas, game shows, ambition and
£1,000,000 houses are totally ridiculous - as is judging the construction
over the experience. It's perfect without the frills, here the form
is pointless, no architecture could compete with these surroundings,
the only 'thing' that looks right is something you take no notice of
and if it's function gives me this experience then I choose function
over form anytime.
© Steven Tothill
Steve Tothill in Phuket
from the sandy beaches its well worth spending time wading through
the wok smoke to discover refreshing architectural gems
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