Monday, September 25, 2006

Singing in the rain... on the beach in Koh Tao???

Sept 25th. Shamelessly hurried off the bus by the driver at 3am this what seemed like the middle of nowhere. Hmmn.... how exactly do we get to Koh Tao from here? No fear.. eventually a wee bus came to pick us up and then it was a hop and skip, another bus and a ferry then we are there! Ahhhh beach time here we come! Welcome to Koh Tao.

We made some new friends on our trip to the island; David, an American just starting out on his travels and Arri, a lovely Finnish boy (first Finnish person i've met so far!), so when we hit land, we all headed off to the Tao Tong Villas together...

As San (the owner) drove us up and over the island via the wierdest "road" AKA totally "off-road" rocky path that you literally had to hold on for dear life, we did think, hmmmn... where exactly is this place.. pretty much on the complete other side of the island actually. But it was lovely and quiet, only tiny problem being if you wanted to go into town, you had to get a lift in the 4x4! But actually its perfect for us to just chill out, and relax (yes, i know im not too good at that but im going to try!). After checking in to our "gorgeous" (aka nice but rustic!) bungalows looking out onto the beach, Nadine and i headed into town to get some surprise bits and bobs for Jeremy's birthday the next day! As we pottered around, we realised we really liked our out-of-the-way place, as town was full of lotsa divers and beach chickies; KT being the big dive island in Thailand. As we drove back, i was a tad worried about picking up Jeremy's birthday cake tomorrow - i mean seriously you have to hold on for dear life in this truck, exactly how would the cake hold up?

Later on, we met a bunch of Germans staying at our guy, San's (so lovely!) cousins place next door - a real character called Talik. They told us about the Sky bar, 10 mins up a rocky path that they have frequented most nights..hmmn, might have to check it out later! Took a wee walk around the "resort" (not really!) and then off to wrap up Jeremy's pressies including (and this is key!) a ton of chocolate as he has as sweet tooth as myself! As we sat eating dinner at the restaurant, looking out over the water, we all thought "how lucky are we?".....lovely time!

So off to bed after a lovely day, or so i thought! Pretty tired from our overnight bus trip, so ready for a nice relaxing snooze. Hmmnnn not so fast! As I looked over the pressies i had so nicely wrapped, i realised they were all ripped up, there was quite a lot of "mouse" poop and some of the chocolate had been nibbled on! Damn.. should have realised i was staying in a pretty rustic place after all. But hey, i've been traveling for a long time now, i'm almost good with mice.. so i thought i could handle this! And then I turned around and saw what looked like a pretty big mouse run along the edge of the bed...gulp, its ok, i can handle this! Wrapped up all the chocolate, and went out to throw it in the bin away from my bungalow. OK that done, back in the room, sitting reading and writing in my journal when i heard a rustle, then these two giant (i'm not exaggerating i have witnesses!) rats come out of the side of the wall and pretty much saunter past me, giving me a cheeky look! AAAAHHH. Rats i can't do! I screamed my head off, i have to admit, merely in an attempt to scare them away. Phew... job done. Lay there hoping they wouldn't come back.. but of course they did. Began to have some minor panic attacks and realised i couldn't sleep there so banged around to get rid of them again.. then made a run for it and woke San up... he thought i was a nut case but gave me a new bungalow to move into. Meanwhile the rain was pouring down, the wind was howling and it was quite a miserable night. Terrified, i went back to the room and gingerly (but very speedily), i began to throw all my stuff into my backpack... Damn it, here they came again... this time making a direct beeline for me.. i mean it! One of them slid all over my backpack then made a run for the door; think i terrified it with my screaming but i didnt care!

For those of you who know me well, I'm sure you can imagine that by this time, i was FREAKING out! Grabbed my pack and ran out of the bungalow slipping and sliding in the mud as i went! Great! Found my new place and walked up the stairs only to realise it was Jeremy and Nadine's bungalow and i had woken them up. Oops! As they asked whats wrong, i of course tried to be brave but clearly i was a complete (and pathetic) wreck. As usual, they were so brilliant and lovely! Jeremy took my bag and checked out my new abode and approved it "rat free!"... they even said i should stay with them but hey, i pulled myself together and pretended i was fine haha! Didnt sleep a wink but at least I didnt have any little friends running around!

Sept 26th. Jeremy's birthday!!! Yah! Went into town with San this morning to pick up the birthday cake and some new "rat free" chocolate...Back to the ranch to see the birthday boy.. with the cake almost intact. Nadine wanted it for a surprise tonight so San hid it for us ....had a lovely time just chatting over breakfast...where does the time go when you are having fun! Of course for us camera geeks there was lots to talk about..Jeremy had recently bought a new camera so him and i spent lots of time discussing shutter speed, ISO's and of course landscape or auto??? (hey, thats not boring...well Nadine WAS pretty patient with us, I have to say!). But of course we had to do SOMETHING today..couldn't be totally lazy so decided to do the famous "cliff walk" along the coast. There wasn't actually any cliff to speak of, but we had a great time, gorgeous sunshine, beautiful sea, bobbing boats as we sat at a waterfront cafe having a wee drinkie..ahh the good life! Pottered around the town area and had lunch on the beach then headed back to the bungalows to celebrate the big day with cake, cerveza and lotsa chat with our new friends David, Arri and some of the Germans..Jeremy even got the guitar out and David played the bongo drums ...Then we all headed up to the Sky Bar where Talik, San's cousin was playing bar man! Had a great night ..although i did make Jeremy (in his tipsy birthday state!) check my new place for rats .. phew a-ok again tonight. Thank goodness. Well, i had tied everything possible up outside just in case the rats were partial to toothpaste or anything else i might have, so clearly it worked! Have I mentioned how lucky i am traveling with Nadine and Jeremy....feel like i've known them for years....and actually quite enjoying the pottering too; thought i'd need to be doing more but happy doing very little!

Sept 27th - 30th. Ahhh.... another few days in paradise! Tough choices.. what do we do, sit in hammocks all day, rent motorbikes and zip around the island, check out some other lovely beaches.. kayak in the beautiful blue water.. ahhhh yes, all of the above. Just lovely. Oh, but before i forget, we did have yet another "beastie" incident. Not me, thank goodness, although i did find more rat poop in my room damn it! No, this time it was Jeremy and Nadine who had all the excitement! After saying goodnight after dinner one night, they headed off to their room only to return pretty quick smart telling us there was a huge spider in their room. Come on now, a spider. No biggie right?
Well, actually after David, Arri, myself and Jeremy and Nadine trooped back up to see it, I have to be honest this spider was bigger than any other spider i have ever seen! HUGE doesn't describe this thing! It became quickly apparant that all the boys were scared of spiders (admit it boys its true!). Finally had to get Bom, one of the guys who works there (who thought we were all mad!) to come and help out. He was useless and only managed to pull some of its legs off. Yuk! Jeremy had to finish the poor thing off ..... i know, i know we sound awful but it had to be done!

Thought that was the end of it but no, about 10 mins after the spider incident, they are back! This time they found a scorpion about 2 inches from Nadine's head! WHAT!!!!This place was becoming more dangerous by the minute! We were all pretty freaked out by this point so demanded (ok asked politely!) if we could get one of the newer bungalows that Arri and David were staying in (i mean the only beastie they had was a 5 ft lizard living in the wardrobe next to Arri's head... that's nothing right!). So luckily there was one free, and with our new abode, the three of us (yup we hunkered down together for the next 2 days! - told you we were close!)...felt much more relaxed and beastie-free...phew!

Had a great chat with San before i left; he had asked me about my impressions of Thailand, I wanted to know his thoughts on the military coup and what people thought (everyone very happy apparantly!); we talked about the change that tourism has brought about in the country and how unfortunately, the Thai culture had been hijacked and nowadays is really all about money and it was hard to really get a feel for the real Thailand any more (his words not mine)! Really lovely man and so smiley and happy with his life, just like his cousin Talik. They both said "Hey, if i have 100 baht in my pocket every day, that's fine with me. If people don't come to stay, we just go fishing for the day. Life is good. We are lucky to live here." I told him it was great to have such a positive attitude about life!!! Hard to find that kind of contentment and happiness these days! Felt quite sad to say goodbye to them and our fun time on Koh Tao!

Sept. 30th. And so it was time to leave our little island paradise (where it had rained every day.. but hey, it didnt ruin our lovely time!)....heading back to the big smoke of Bangkok for a few days before Jeremy and Nadine flew off to Australia and me to India .....Arri decided to join us on our trip back so yah, more folks added to our merry bunch!

Oct 1-2. Pottered around Bangkok with the gang and had a leisurely last few days in South East Asia... went to the giant Chattachuk market again.. you just have to shop in Bangkok. It's obligatory! Had a wonderful "last supper" with Jeremy and Nadine (thanks so much for that folks!) and wished each other all the best in our onward travels. So so so sad to say goodbye to these guys.. can't believe its been just over a month we have been together! I mean seriously, they put up with me for that long! They are off to Australia and then to live in New Zealand for a year, Arri is going to Cambodia and me, well, it's a hop and skip to Delhi then hopefully i'll fly out the same day to Kathmandu in Nepal to start the last leg of my amazing adventures! Stay tuned!


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