get chaweng out (sam)
So we got up at 5 o'clock this morning to get the ferry to Koh Samui. We all came downstairs to wait for the cab and everyone had only a small backpack of clothes. I lurched down the stairs with my massive backpack and feel suitably shamed but at least I will have nice things to wear.
We got into Chumphon and waited at a little place called 'Fame' for our bus to arrive. Now who should appear at this ungodly hour, in a small coastal Thai town but big Robbie T, that most missed individual from our Bangkok escapades. I love the random events that let us meet up again. Rob was heading to Koh Penyang to stay with sam and kat for a while. We didn't know each others plans until now because I had no phone and a computer had been hard to come by.
Several forms of transport later and we were on our way the gentle sea urging us towards the islands. The ferry driver let us sit on the deck in front of his cabin and we lounged in the sun, sharing oreos and oddly flavoured thai chips. It was good to see Rob after we had to split in sickness from Bangkok. I had been ripping on my new English friends for ages about their soft pale skin and continued to do so as they lathered sunscreen all over themselves. Me and Rob span some crap about the Thai sun being to weak to burn us. It was very pleasant weather and the sea was calm, we had the wind in our hair, sun on our faces and Samui ahead of us, I slept peacefully with a big grin on my face.
I awoke in pain. Oh no. I had slept way too long in the sun. Rob had left the ferry at Koh Penyang and this whole time I had been sizzling away. Such poor timing, the day we arrive at a tropical island and after ripping on the English I burn my poor face cherry red. We cab to our accommodation on Chaweng beach. It is called Somwang House and we are meeting two other volunteers here, 2 English girls, Ruth and Rachael, who have already scoped out the area.
We spent a nice day at the beach. Chaweng is probably the quintessential Thai tourist beach. The whole place is lined with bars, beach chairs, jet skis, boats and burnt tourists (I saw whole new shades of red). All along the beach walk Thais selling ice-cream, toys and 'hammocks' (marijuana my friend?). The beach is still nice though and its fun being a tourist. One of the ice-cream guys had an interesting technique for selling his wares. He serenaded me in Thai for about 5 minutes hoping that would convince me to purchase his cold confectionary goods. It did not.
It was interesting augmenting our awesome foursome with Ruth and Rachael but they proved to be great fun. To be honest I was pretty stoked running around Samui with all these girls. I convinced on of the guys outside a suit store that Rachael was my girlfriend and the next day I convinced him that Alice was too. 'Ah you lucky man lucky man! Yes I suppose I was. We now had a pretty mad unit of 6 and were having a great time. Thailand, especially Samui, is like the ultimate place to crack onto someone and the constant beach walks and seaside dinners were giving me a great leg up in my endeavors with Alice (she may disagree). I'm of the opinion that anyone who is forced to spend an extended amount of time with me will eventually like me (yeah yeah have a laugh) and Samui was like a super bonus round.
We went shopping in Samui and I was absolutely frothing. I had to keep a tight rein on myself because pretty much every shop is filled with vagrant hippy gear (Grant you would have a heart attack) so I decided to live my shopping through the others. I started teaching the girls how to barter because they really sucked at it. You know how you can't look really excited about what you want to buy? Alice would come in and be like, WOW! That is like the single greatest shirt ive ever seen in my entire life, you must buy it, pay whatever the man asks just do it NOW!!!! But they started getting the hang of it, although I did miss bartering with sam kat and rob, we were rutheless (sam and kat are weapons). I found a great dress for Alice, black and orange and she was looking fineee. Pretty keen on her by this stage, she is a lot like me but less funny and probably a little prettier.
Koh Samui's main strip is a little like Kao San, there are burger king joints, fancy restraints and snazzy bars. A new feature was the animal men. These guys have an exotic creature, be it monkey, iguana, snake or eagle, and they come up and try to put it on you and you pay for a photo with it. Now I didn't really mind the animals (except the iguana, he really missed out when god was handing out the good looks) but I did wonder how the poor eagle got there. But the girls did mind the animals and a couple of times I had to hold my breath as they almost dived into oncoming traffic to avoid a hug from a monkey. To be fair though it did look well rabid.
So after a nice day of shopping, burning and animal wrangling we went back to Chaweng beach at night. The beach is beautiful at night. Full moon was approaching and the big silver orb smiles down over the beachfront. The water comes right up and laps quietly, centimeters from the collection of beachchairs that have been pushed together to form raised platforms. The platforms are covered by a blanket and adorned with pillows. Above this most relaxing setting is a criss-cross network of Christmas lights. Chilled house bumps in the background. We order cocktails and feel pretty damn good. (I have a mocktail because I am still on meds from Bangkok.) But then we are quickly reminded that we are, infact, not in heaven, but on a major tourist beach in Thailand as the animal men descend for the night shift and haunt the walkways with their feathered, scaled and furred accomplices. Men walk by with boards of jewelry and small children challenge us to games of connect four with costly losses and princely wins on offer. Fireworks are sold and earlier purchases randomly explode above us, sometimes very low. Yellow lanterns from a string rising to meet the moon. People by them on the beach, make a wish and light the candle, the hot hair propelling it slowly up. It’s a truly festive atmosphere and with that essentially Thai air or fun without any sort of OH&S. And I dig it.
The next day we head to Lamai beach further around on the island, the coastline is beautiful and this beach is a little quieter than Chaweng. Here the water is very tropical blue and the sand pearly white. Sadly my cherry face still burns and I take cover beneath a big shady umbrella. I think about how strange it is that ive only just met these people but how much I like them and Walt Whitman echoes my thoughts, 'It may be if I had known them all, I would have loved them all.' My pontification is rudely interrupted with a challenge to a table tennis match on the table behind our beach chairs. A delicious pizza, coconut icecream and a few swims later we are heading back to Chaweng. (Yes I did win table tennis. Ok ok Alice it was pretty even). On the way back we see a parade through the streets of Lamai, children wearing skeleton masks and traditional thai clothes dancing down the road to the beat of drums. It is a celebration for the Buddhist holiday that has so conveniently placed me on Samui for the week. I'm tempted to join the joyful dance but im even more tempted to get out of the sun.
That night we hit the beach again and found a cheap place to eat. We are all excited because tomorrow night we will be on Koh Penyang with sam kat and rob for the full moon party. Oh and today I finished my medication course. Hello Chang.