Travelling & Koh Tao – day 379

Up, showered and dressed, we started pulling stuff together and into packing cubes. We stopped when we got the signal that breakfast was ready. We were going to miss the owners, the resort, our strip of au natural beach and the sound of the waves. Katherine finished the packing and I did a bit of a spring clean on the beach. I didn’t want the plastics washing back out to sea at the next tide or for a large pile ending up on the bungalow steps when it got in to full monsoon season. A quick zip around filling up only one plastic bag and I must have got about a dozen cigarette lighters and thrice that in bottle caps. I think the scorn from a princess at the posh resort next to us was a bit much – rubbish that everyone throws at the side of the road, in to the stream or sea will eventually end up in a pile like this, and because of the extortionate price tag on her room, the hotel can afford cleaners to take it over to other sections of the beach. I felt good for doing only a small bit, but she had annoyed me. Grrr!img_2660Another free ride in to town, we arrived well before our ferry was due to depart. Thus, we exchanged our travel agency docket for our stickers and ferry tickets. Plenty of time for Pad Thai noodles from a little stand in the ferry terminal grounds. Queued up in a well organised system and found seats out of the way with the air conditioning keeping the cabin a bit cooler than outside. Screams from some lads outside kept annoying people as it was a bit like crying ‘wolf’, everyone thinking that something had happened, but that it was only them messing about on the stern. We arrived and joined the throngs of people milling down the jetty to get out in to the town. Katherine and a few others were misfortunate to be stuck behind some girls that couldn’t even lift their backpacks, let alone get it on themselves. We eventually met at the end of the walkway and proceeded to walk in the direction of our resort. Another case of wrong location on the part of Booking.com, the owner of Happy Bungalow wasn’t impressed that this issue still hadn’t been fixed and hundreds of tourists want to walk through his establishment to find a non-existent resort. We did find our place (he knew exactly where it was) and settled in to a cosy little hut.We went for a walk across the beach. We’ve never been anywhere before that had so many dive centres in such a small area. Everyone was trying to undercut someone else on a particular package. It was astounding that there was a steady stream of dive boats passing off shore and students sitting around hotel pools and wading in/out of the beach. We might have to look in to some diving. For now, we walked the beach, enjoyed some crisps and electrolyte drinks on a rock and dodged the minefield of jellies hiding in the sand next to the clear plastic bags.We didn’t know where to eat. Everywhere seemed to be doing the same type of food, with varying degrees of success. Some places were jointed, while others were a ghost town. Plus, the further we got away from the tourists and main beach, the cheaper it got. So, we tried a small place near the garage and resort, as you’ve guessed it, that had some locals eating there – always a good sign. Fed and watered and more tired than expected from the heat, we called it a night and watched the iPad for a bit before trying to sleep on the bed donated by the Flinstones.Thursday 20th October 2016

Koh Phangan – day 378

I suppose we needed to get tickets to Koh Tao at some point. We had become isolated in our hut and stretch of island and didn’t fancy being social or venturing into town. Yet, it was fortunate for us that the owner was heading into town himself and offered us a lift. Not having the hassle of tuktuk taxi drivers was going to make it a bit more manageable. Dropping us off outside a ticket office and pointing to others dotted along the street, we did what we had promised not to do oh so recently ago… purchase tickets straight away without comparing prices. We did however have an idea of costs and the brochures on the desk quoted the same price as the office on the ferry terminal. So, with that sorted, Katherine made a bee line to tat and souvenirs across the road. A corner of a building formed a mish-mash maze of clothes, bric-a-brac and jewellery. The walls were occasionally adorned with the images of thieves caught in the act. We picked up (and paid for) two cute bracelets. Thus, Kat has managed to get a bracelet in every country we’ve been to and I’ve been to the cinema at least once in every country. I wonder if I can blag another cinema trip as we’re technically back in a different country to Cambodia???We strolled around to the ferry to make sure we had the right terminal for the next day. It was fortuitous we did so, as it looked like the tickets sold at an agency needed to be exchanged for the ferry tickets and stickers at the window. So, we knew ahead of time we needed to be a bit earlier than expected to skip the massive queues. With our intel reconnaissance mission proving successful we explored more of the town we were avoiding. We found a market area that was slowly trying to get ready for the afternoon/evening trade and enjoyed a papaya salad with noodles and smoothies. The tuktuk drivers sent us from pillar to post, none of them wanting to miss their opportunity with newbies off a ferry who would pay ridiculous amounts. We knew how much it should cost and that as always annoys the hell out of them. But, we finally had transport back home. With a few near misses from tourists wishing to have a new Koh Phangan tattoo and a kid driving a bike, we walked down our steep hill, back to our resort and saw the devastation the high tide was doing to the beach. A mass of rubbish and weeds all gathered from the surrounding hotels and resorts, slowly gathering in front of our strip of sand was now within spitting distance. And somewhere amongst the weed and rubbish there was another rotting carcass. The smell was unmistakeable, but there was no way of finding it until the tide went out. With the carcass buried under the sand and the fresh sea breeze bringing instant fresh air, we enjoyed a burrito and burger for dinner. We had just finished when the electricity went. So, being generous and helpful I held up torches and phones to illuminate the kitchen so they could finish cooking others meals. We slinked away with the lights from Koh Samui twinkling across the water. We were enjoying a few episodes of Dexter when the power came back and the fan kicked in to action. Just in time for bed. 

Wednesday 19th October 2016

Koh Phangan – day 377

The night before I did something incredibly clumsy. Shuffling and bouncing down the bed to turn off the light I managed to run a finger nail across my thigh. I have no idea how I managed such a monumental idiotic thing. But, it left me with a gash like a feral cat had attacked me. And wow did it sting like heck in the shower. Nothing a spot of breakfast and a full pot of fresh lemongrass tea couldn’t cure. Grown in the garden by the owners, three bunches of aromatic stems were uprooted and steeped in hot water. Even Katherine enjoyed some of it. Without being vulgar, I was hydrated enough for the day.

We tried to go for a walk along the beach to Haad Rin, hopefully see the infamous site of the full moon party. We didn’t get at when we found a big dead fish on the shore. Later we found out that it was a baby dolphin. It is very uncommon to have this happen and now in the space of a week there has been two. Our owner reckons that fisherman have caught them in illegal nets and dumped them so not to be prosecuted. Whatever the reason, the rotting carcass of the cetacean hummed above the smell of the seaweed as we crossed over the rocky outcrops to the next stretch of beach. We weren’t able to get very far with the high tide making the route impassable. We doubled back, had a chocolate shake and chilled for the afternoon. There may have been a rather competitive game of monopoly that I shouldn’t have won, but someone was too generous with their trading of properties following my spectacular strop of going to jail for the third time. img_2624img_2625img_2626We got further along the beach in the afternoon. The ebbing tide allowed quicker progress and we got around another few peninsulas. However, there was no visible route to continue or perhaps it was still too high, but we retreated, chilled on a rock watching some kayakers and continued down the beach in the other direction past our place. It made for a quicker way to 7 Eleven where we found coconut jelly drinks and custard bread for an incredibly late lunch. img_2637img_2640img_2646img_2652img_2654img_2656I just made it back to the room in time. Tummy cramps berated the last few kilometres and I was in agony. Not sure what gave me the stomach bug this time – normally I have an idea from my dodgy experimental food stalls – but, it was carnage and draining. A bowl of plain green curry and rice for dinner to settle everything out again, we confined ourselves in the room with tv episodes and the fan to pass away the rest of the evening.

Tuesday 18th October 2016