A chat with Bruce revealed all sorts of interesting stuff about why Mayan Apartments was built.
Steve arrived in Phuket just after the tsunami of 2004 when he found that property was cheap. He’d already been teaching in Bangkok where Patrick was born and had had assignments in Singapore.
Steve’s original vision for Mayan Place as it was originally called was to create a school with each apartment being a classroom.
The incident in Papua which was to change his life forever moved him to ask what his life was now all about. Like his father and his on Steve felt his calling was still with teaching.
Steve applied for a license for an international school but found the red tape and ‘fees’ too much and changed his plan and modified the rooms so that they could become apartments.
The shape of the building had some thought behind it. From the pinnacle the building slopes down almost like a pyramid reflecting his interest in Egypt.
Initially only the top floor with 2 apartments had names Kang (meaning ‘hard’ in Thai) and Emma.
Steve found that repeat customers could remember the room they were in but not necessarily the number. So he decided to give the rooms names to help people remember where they had stayed. It also gives a personal touch to the room I feel.
Apartments on the 1st floor were given names associated with Egypt namely Cairo, Giza, and Nile. The room Alex is also on this floor but it has a particular story behind it. The apartment was named after a Russian guy who was a regular resident along with his girlfriend. They often travelled Asia and would use Mayan as their base, often leaving personal items with Steve for safekeeping till they returned.
Alex eventually married his Indonesian girlfriend Devi and Steve was invited to the wedding in Bali. Bruce reports that Steve had some reservations about returning to Indonesia given the awful experience he had had in Papua. But he went anyway. He didn’t want the past to adversely affect his life.
Ground floor rooms were than named after local beaches those being Rawai, Kata and Karon: local landmarks with easily remembered names.
The land that now houses Russian- owned Crystal villas was originally a large pond. Steve wanted this to be a natural science area. He eventually wanted to build an old-fashioned brick school house where he would host free schooling in the English language for local disadvantaged kids. He made regular contributions to the Mosque for children’s school programmes.
Mayan Place was also an annual sponsor for the Rawai-Naiharn Dragonboat club. He also had a huge soft spot for live music which is where I personally got to know him as I sang at many of the venues that he liked to visit.
Bruce tells a couple of tales which in many ways sums up the kind of person that Steve was.
When he rented out his house Star House he would more often than not be resident at Mayan Place in rooms Emma, Kang or room 1 SES. However on some occasions he would find himself without a roof over his head as he had double booked or found someone down on their luck and who needed a place to stay. Bruce recalls Steve actually staying on rooftop area for a few days. He would joke with him that he was a big land Baron with no bed!
A poignant tribute to Steve came when at his funeral the local musicians came out in force to play at the wake at Mayan Place. Once word of his passing was out people were asking if they could play in his memory. Bruce remembers the place was rocking to sound of the entertainment such that the local police were called concerning the noise.
Bruce said and I quote………
‘I thought he would have been proud to have had the police come because his party was too loud!!!
On reflection it would seem Mayan Apartments (formerly Mayan Place) is more than just a building. Its original conception is infused with the energy of someone who cared about teaching and people generally. And while the new vision for Mayan Apartments is emerging, it’s pretty clear that people and their enjoyment of the place remain important in its development.
It is hoped that people return year after year to enjoy this magical hideaway………………..
Nestled at the bottom of a private road in Saiyuan, Rawai is a magical place set in a quiet, lush garden.
Mayan Apartments has been a hive of activity since I arrived.
One last little discovery in this intriguing story of the development of Mayan Apartments.