Old sage pete and the dismembered squirrel
Hin Wong Bay sounds like the scene of an important battle but it is actually a really nice place. Koh Tao is known for its excellent diving and snorkeling and this was evident as soon as we went swimming. We had rented a family room, which is basically just 2 double beds, 2 mosquito nets and 2 of the saddest fans in the world. All this for 100Baht each, which is about the price of a beer. After killing a few resident spiders we locked the room and went down to the water. Me and Rob were hoping the storm was making swell but sadly it was very peaceful. The bay was beautiful, surrounded by those very Thai rock formations lazing and lounging around in all shapes, fringed by coconut trees. There was a wharf of questionable integrity that led out to a diving point (there was no sand). As usual Rob managed to cut himself but it wasn't that bad. We set a course for a rock formation about 100 metres out and started swimming. I hadn't swum this far in a while. Eventually we made it, scaled the oyster riddled rocks and sat down. Unfortunately we then realised it was a fairly pointless expedition to have undertaken and sate getting our breath back, slowly losing blood to numerous oyster induced woundings.
By this time those lovely slow pale friends of ours had roused themselves and come down to the water. Roberto and myself decided to go oldschool and swam out from behind a boat with our swimmers on our heads, collaroy style. Oh some of our well bred colonial friends were truly shocked, having never been skinny dipping themselves (bar ruth who was already drying off on the dock but was back in the water in a flash when she heard skinny dippping was going on). Our tactful coaxing remedied this, the only loser being the diver waiting on the dock who had to witness me and rob repeatedly doing periscopes and diving whales.
After our pleasant swim it was about time for a feed and a tall chang or two. I had a green curry that was otherwordly tasty. Our meal was rudely interrupted by a feral cat who strolled up and dumped a dismembered squirrels tail next to us. The waitress squeeled and would ran off and would not return until the grisly entree was removed from the immediate area. Charming. now Hin Wong Bay is a real quiet little diving establishment and pretty much consists of the dock and a few bungalows and a whole lot of insects. The restaurant closed at 8 but ever watchful i had noticed, on the drive in, a small house at the top of the hill with a small sign that said 'Pete's Bar'.
Keen to celebrate our survival from our previous nautical adventures we were not ready to go to sleep, plus there were 7 people in 2 beds so we wanted to be pretty tired when bedtime came around. We decided to walk up to the house on the hill. The house rested peacefully on the hillside, a long deck curling around the outer extremities and a well used pool table that must have travelled pretty far to be resting on the concrete slab it was on, under the protection of a bamboo roof. Upon the deck lay several pillows and hammocks and we made ourselves at home. 'Pete' came out to greet us as we settled down. He emerged from his room in well worn shorts and a loose singlet, looking like an old sage emerging from his bamboo hut, creased face heavy with knowledge. The old sage sat next to me and began to tell his story, a familiar one in Thailand, of having travelled for a short time and returned to live, drawn by the charming way of life in the islands. He was of Irish birth and now had a Thai wife and child and lived in the house on the hill. Beers were dispensed from the fridge and due to the death of pete's mp3 my exultant ipod provided relaxed beats. The old fellow disappeared for a moment and returned with his meditational goods, a bag of the dirty lettuce and a great big bamboo bong. he sat himself, cross-legged before me, and having told his life story, began to ennumerate the pros and cons of the drugs before him, intbetween great big hoofs of smoke. The old boy had obviously run off the track a little, smoked a forest in his time, and kinda just found himself in old Koh Tao, lost but happy. I wasn't one to judge and from the pits of his herbally enlightened brain, some worth spilt forth during our conversations. After some time everyone went quiet and sat back in their hammocks and on their pillows, and felt the serenity of the quiet bay, lit by the big moon above, trees gently whispering in the sea breeze as a little Shwayze beats relaxed me soul. I looked through the rising smoke out into the bay, took a big swig of my beer, cold condensation running down my hand, and felt pretty good. Soon enough it was time for bed and we trooped back down the hill to our little family room for a well deserved kip. My wiley ways snagged me a bed with three lovely English girls and i caught the train to spoontown with old mate Alice, capping of a pretty good detour of a day.
Oh man someone turn that fan back on. The damn power clicked off at 6am before the sun had even peeked its cheeky yellow head above the horizon and our charming family abode quickly turned nightmarish. The gecko's on the wall trilled 'up and atom bitches!!!' in gecko language and i was inclined to agree. I sullenly left the comfort of my spot and ran down to the water for a blessedly cool swim. Not much later we were back on the tourist side of the island and we somehow squeezed onto a pre-booked ferry (rachael is very persuasive) , heading back to good old Chumphon town. The trip was still bumpy but the melodrama was less and we plugged in some Norah Jones, comfortable in the VIP room and gloating in the fact we had done it for free, and settled into the oversize chairs, content to sleep the trip away.