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The International Writers Magazine:Phuket

Take a Long Walk Down a Short Pier
Steven Tothill

Rawai Pier - Function over Form

Now 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

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Steve Tothill in Phuket
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