Sunday, 21 February 2010


'Another Tequila Sunrise, please!'

'Hahahaha,' Khun Son, the barman, beams the sunniest most radiant smile you've ever seen in your life. He returns moments later with a pineapple shake laced with psyllium husk and some other mysterious murky ingredient. 'Your detox shake.'

This has got to be the worst pool bar in the world: I mean not a single bottle of Malibu Rum or Curacao to be seen. Not even a beer. Not even a light beer. Instead the bar fridge is piled with carrots, pineapples, watermelons, coconuts, ginger, limes ...

Let me explain. I'm at Absolute Sanctuary on Koh Samui ("Thailand's premier detox and yoga resort" being their claim). Just beyond the Morrocan-styled cupola of reception is the South China Sea. Directly in front of me is a wonderful infinity pool, around which laze an assortment of bodies in various states of repair and disrepair. In animal kingdom terms there are gazelles and there are hippopotammi. People who clearly take care of their bodies everyday in the real world, and those who are suffering from years, nay decades, of neglect.

There are Finns, Japanese, Brits, Europeans, a gay expat couple from Hong Kong, a couple of Thais and a lot of Aussies. There's a whippet-like model from the Gold Coast. There's a madam from a Kings Cross establishment. And a 114-kg poker king whose checked in for five weeks. 'I just really let myself go, I had to do this,' says Richard, proud of the 12 kg he's already shed in a couple of weeks of farting, er, fasting, fruit shakes, and fitness including yoga, swimming and jogging.

For the fasting programs guests are put onto a program of four fruit shakes a day and four packets of 'supplemental' tablets, which is breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner effectively. That's it, jing jing! The tablets are Vitamin C, chlorophyll and some really disgusting brown ones.

'Most disease takes  root in an acid environment,' explains British adviser and Emotional Freedom Technique practitioner, Alister, 'so we need to get into  more alkaline state. All the secret is alkaline.'

The Love Kitchen dishes up suitably alkaline raw and vegetarian food such as spinach gaspaccio and Broccoli Delight. Yes, dear readers, people fly across the world and pay good money to do this. Funny thing is, after day two, I'd KILL for Broccoli Delight! (Absolute's new expanded kitchen due to open in mid-2010 will dish up more fish, seafood and chicken options.)

Guests can also enjoy a daily program of meditation (including sunset sessions on Karma Beach), massage, and yoga for total wellness. This is the passion of executive director Claire Bostock-Huang -- former banker, psychologist and yoga instructor -- who is the living embodiment of the Absolute ideal. I mean, this 30-something Singapore Eurasian radiates ridiculous amounts of good energy, with calf muscles that could choke a water buffalo and glutial muscles that could probably crack walnuts (this is all the product of my increasingly feverish imagination, I hasten to add).

Which is in direct contrast to myself and other inmates around the pool, where the Bob Dylan lyrics leeching from the speakers -- such as 'Knock knock knocking on heaven's door ...' and 'There must be some way out of here ...' -- possibly sum up the current mindset of most who are still mid-fast.

'It's bloody hard but I've glad I've done it,' Richard beams. 'It's ridiculous but I've got so much more energy without eating. Why do I eat pizza? Now I know I don't need it.'

'I needed a kick in the face, and I got it,' opines a large American lady enthusiastically.

After my three day 'Ultimate Detox' I have lost a couple of kilograms, feel very clear-headed and do sense I have more energy. Now I understand fully why people do this to themselves.

'Hey, Khun Son, I was only joking about that Tequila Sunrise. I meant Pina Colada.'

'Hahahaha ...'

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