As I watched the sun gently sink into the craddle of night, I smiled; something that has been infused in me lately just as it is woven into the very fabric of this country. The azure waves, darkening with nightfall, laping at the shore provided a soundtrack for the cinematic view of coconut palms, forested cliffs and great expanses of warm ocean that surrounds me. (That was for Joey)
So… nearly a week here on Koh Pha Ngan and I have to admit, the place has surprised me. I didn’t think I’d dig the 24/7 party, lazy days sitting on the beach, the topless women and copious amounts of alcohol and pretty much every other recreational pharmacutical known to man that seems to fuel the the non-stop engine of the island… but it’s actually pretty ok.
The first night here Jurgen and I hit the beach. It was great… all the beach bars just lay out mats where you can sit, drink and watch the fire shows (see my photos that are soon to follow). The best part was that, in a marketing technique I’m not entirely sure I understand, the bar gave out free drinks. It was only three, but that vodka and redbull goes right to the grey matter.
We met some girls that were going snorkling on the north end of the island the following day and were invited to tag along. Though getting up for the 9:30 meeting was a bit of a chore, it was well worth it. My underwater experiences are really limited to SCUBA diving in Lake Huron (nice wreaks, but no fish) and spending about an hour at my birthday with Brad trying to achieve nutral boyency in the middle of the deep end with a beer bottle – so, needless to say, I was eager to be impressed, and not disappointed.
First getting in the water and swimming I was a little let down as I was just confronted by sea slugs (sea cucumbers?) and some small fish… but after getting out a bit it was simply jawdroppingly beautiful (which physically is a danger when said jaw is securing your airway to the surface). I was surrounded by hundreds of fish… and the sea floor was just painted with multi-coloured coral and various other sea life. I also got to see some sting rays, which really defined the experience for me.
Unfortunately, even with a good amount of cloud cover, I got right cooked on my back and have been nursing the burn for two days. But it was worth it.
Mostly I’ve just been sitting around, reading and relaxing. I don’t feel any need to go-go-go in this place and am more than happy to finally be able to just relax… something that ironically is often hard to find when you are travelling.
Two nights ago I was getting a bit nervous about not being able to stay at the beautiful Sun Cliff bungalows that Jurgen and I called home… as he wasn’t staying for the Full Moon Party on the 6th… but rather flew to Shanghi yesterday. Fortunately I ran into a guy named Martin that wasn’t sad about leaving his bungalow and moving into the more scenic one I was offering… and today Jin showed up, so it’s now quite cheap… if not a bit crowded. But hey, it has a fridge.. I mean, a bloody fridge. So great!
I hit the Chang beer pretty hard two nights ago, but was quite well behaved. I met a girl from Sweden (not blonde!) named Jessica who REALLY reminds me of Vanessa (this brings a whole new depth to the Vanessica thing) and basically just stood on the beach by a bar playing rock music and chatted to her until about 5:30 in the morning.
I woke up mid-day yesterday with a bit of a Changover and vowed to take it easy last night… but such was not in the cards. I, again, dived into the world of Chang beer, and again was quite amazed that I woke up (a) in my bed and (b) with my contacts safely not in my face. I think getting sick helped.
Martin wasn’t so lucky. He wasn’t in his bed when I woke up, and I was just beginning to wonder where he was when the door opened and he stormed in with a hangover enduced groan, wearing only his gitch. Apparently at some point he wandered into another bungalow and was rudely awoken this morning when the owners came in…
Jin showed up at about 1:30 today and we’ve spent the day catching up on what adventures have befallen us in the week or so since I left Bangkok for Ranong (for those that don’t want to read back, Jin is a Korean girl I met on the bus from Chiang Mai and was hoping I’d meet again here).
Well.. time to go back to the room and chill out… and see how long I can resist curing this horrible churning in my gut and head with a bottle of Chang.