melodrama on the high seas
Today you join me in a marked contrast to the last reflections on moon fuelled madness. I am listening to Jack Johnson and looking forward to a massage and a swim. We are at one of the many reggae bars and today im going to try an oil massage. I lay down on the mattress, under a big shady tree on the beachfront. The masseuse asks me to take my pants off. Good thing i wore underpants today. The oil goes on, nice and warm and its feeling pretty good. But then a real technical difficulty occurs. I believe the scientific word is 'friction'. Curse my hairy nature! The pleasant oil massage soon turns into an elaborate form of torture, more so because i am paying to have it done. The girl is laughing maniacally as the massage turns to a waxing and the hair starts to come off in her hand. The relaxed state i was in just moments ago seems a distant dream as i grimace my way through this 'pleasant' experience. Finally we are finished and i leave the massage place a little more streamlined than when i entered.
We get a table and sit down for a long late lunch. Everyone is pretty tired from our escapades the night before and the relaxing scene is just right. We end up staying till late and order a few cocktails. The best introduction ive seen for some time was when a younger waiter gave our friend a 'fuck on the beach'. Keen to continue the strange sights we had so far encountered we decided to go and see a ladyboy show.
The ladyboy's are a strange phenomenom in Thailand. For some reason it is funny when a Thai man dresses as a woman wheras it is distrubing when a white man does. The show was really funny and pretty well done, maybe even 'classy' if i may use the word in this context. Well it was at least classier than some of the other ones we had glanced into. The really dodgy thing about the ladyboy show is how feminine some of them are. When you are no wearing glasses and you've had a few beers it gets pretty hard to tell which is which and if that was your flavour...well i could see how a few poor boys got caught in the rain. After the show we walked the 'seedy' streets in Samui to see all the hookers and dodgy bars, red lights and all plus free pool!!! I'm sure thats not the only suprise you'd get in one of these joints.
After full moon rob came over to Samui and we hatched a plan for him to roll with us in big Chumphon. It was nice to be heading 'home' with everyone and i was looking forward to starting teaching (kind of). The plan was to be home on the saturday night in time to see P-boys live band at the bar.
No dice. Remember how i fell asleep on the way to Samui because the ferry ride was so smooth? Not so much this time. We walked out to the wharf and i said to everyone, 'hey dudes it looks a little windy today, it might get a little bumpy' or some such statement. By this time, however, our little crew knew that i liked to spin a tall tale now and then so they chose to call me on my possible bs'ing, nautical experts that they all are (damn colonialists). Long story short i was right (was it in doubt?) and it was real stormy and looking pretty perfect storm.
Now these ferries are designed to travel between islands in most weather and we've seen worse on the trip from Manly to the city so i wasn't too worried. What was worrying was how everyone on the ferry handled the bad weather. I think at least 10 people earnt Academy awards that day. It was like a bad drama play directed by Mr.G. I mean, i haven't seen this quality melodrama since Days Of Our Lives (a horrible daytime soap for our international readers). Two basic rules on a boat: keep balanced and always hold onto something. I guess thats not common knowledge in old Angleland. Dear god these tourists were diving about the place, trying to avoid sea spray, screaming bloody murder everytime they got wet, crowding one side of the heavily rolling boat, slipping over and sliding everywhere. I could have sworn i was in a live reinactment of Titanic (which is you've seen the movie is one time too many). I saw one girl, on her stomach, clutching desperately at her backpack, reaching, streching as hard as she could for her friends hand, her friend, sitting on the bench and screaming, 'Sarah, please grab my hand! Don't give up!!' It was truly a ridiculous sight.
Across the table from me were 4 boys chain smoking. Now girls have no problem screaming and carrying on but boys don't like to be sooks infront of their mates. So these guys were all doing the overly hearty laugh that poorly hid their intense fear. They posed and smoked in all sorts of shapes, leaning on rails, each other and jumping about the place. One guy 'jokingly' puts on a life vest and his whole crew follows, all 'heartily laughing' even as they take one from one of the girls. One of them even took a valium and offered me the other one! I guess we take for granted how comfortable we are with the water (Yew Australians are sick units). It would have been scary if you weren't used to it and the boats morale of melodramatic hysteria was really not helping.
The girls were really not digging the whole experience and at one stage we actually started to really roll a lot. It was still safe but me and robbie knew we wern't going to make it to Chumphon that day. Chumphon was another 2 hours after the next stop, Koh Tao. There was no way we could convince our little pale friends to continue. Anyway i've heard Koh Tao is nice. At this stage it was still pretty bumpy and Rachael was squeezing my arm. At first it was not a problem but each roll resulted in a tightening of her hand, and seriously Rachael has little hands of steel. Just as i was preparing myself for a life with one arm something miraculous happened.
The morale of the boat at this time was ridiculously low. It was foggy and stormy all around and people were clutching loved ones, ready to face the lukewarm tropical water, prepared to be the next Jack and Rose. But then oh, at the most dire moment, a cry rises from the front of the boat. No, its not iceberg!, its 'Land! I see land!!' A most joyous eruption of cheers flows through the boat and everyone rejoices as they realise they will not be headlining CNN today. But then, at that most perfect moment a horrible crack rends the air and our boat of love snaps back to its former state of black fear, everyone wondering which important peice of the boat has broken. However it was only a plastic chair breaking under the weight of two chain smoking boys embracing. A big laugh rises and the boat of love returns. Ah the perfect comical timing of our valium fuelled heroes is hard to describe, it was a beautifully amusing moment capping off a hilariously melodramatic ferry ride.
We arrive in Koh Tao and it was sure nice to be on solid ground. As a price for our detour me and rob had bartered a few beers from our companions and it was time to pay up. We head to 7-Eleven and get paid. The important work being done, we set our minds to finding a place to sleep. Unfortunately the full moon bandits were all island hopping back to Bangkok and had filled out the popular side of the island. Through not inconsiderate research we found a place on the other, quiet side of the island. We jumped in the back of our courtesy ute and a very hairy suprise 4wding session later we were at 'Hin Wong Bay Bungalows'. The detour to Koh Tao proved to be very entertaining but we'll talk about that later.