Written in October 2008
Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh life is good on Ko Samui.
I arrived here yesterday afternoon from Ko Tao on a slick high-speed catamaran ferry with AC, a movie, snacks and everything, then had a short ride to Bo Phut beach, one of the quieter and prettier beaches on the island. I hit the beach immediately and finished my 4th book of the trip, Memoires of a Geisha. All the hostels have book exchanges, so you just bring one on your trip and then trade it in when you are done. This bookworm has lucked out with some good ones so far: The Beach, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and About a Boy; unfortunately the only book in English OR French I could find to trade next at this place is The Awakening, which is the legend of a Vampiress and looks pretty stupid. Oh well, I will give it a go.
Last night after happy hour (a banana milkshake and a Bloody Mary) I enjoyed traditional Thai barbeque for dinner. Mr. Poo’s barbeque, to be exact. It was the crack; all-you-can-eat for 99 baht ($2.89). You have a burner on your table on top of live coals; the burner has little slits in it to let the heat out and then they put a big lump of lard on top to drip down as it melts and keep the fire going. All around the raised grill is a doughnut of almost-boiling water, and this is where you make your soup. You go up to get your choice of meats and veggies; I counted 27 different meats including bacon, chicken, calamari, liver, prawns, octopus, and a hell of a lot of mystery meat that I could not identify.
You pick up veggies etc. for your soup- garlic chives, parsley, chopped garlic, bean sprouts, glass noodles, whole eggs, plus tons more and then you sit down with your friends and go to town. While you wait for your meats to cook you can munch on all you want of Phud Thai, fried rice, spring rolls, French fries, dumplings, and several other dishes as well as fresh tropical fruits and green salad. I love when the meal is cooked right on the table; it is fun and at Mr. Poos’s, the food was fantastic.
After the grilled meats and soup came all-you-can-eat ice cream: Shilo heaven. It was silly
hot sitting next to the burners in the open-air restaurant; I had two servings of ice cream along with a large Chang. Chang is the PBR of Thailand; the word ‘Chang’ means elephant in the Thai language and all the Thais joke that the beer is really elephant piss. The Thai BBQ dinner was my favorite I have eaten thus far, along with the meals at the homestay up north.
Today I got up early to catch a sweet speedboat over to Ang Thong National Marine Park, about a thirty minute ride. The day has been overcast and a bit rainy, and the trip over was choppy and really fun- I adore boats of any kind and do not get seasick. There are heaps of islands dotted around the tropical sea, jutting violently up out of the ocean; under the cloudy sky the sea was a slate-blue carpet of rolling glass.
It was the kind of day whose realness smacks you in the face, a day that lets you know without a doubt you are alive. The white-purple clouds above me had seams on them from where they had lifted off the ocean; here and there the rain drops would materialized and sting my cheeks (because I was in the front of the boat, of course). The wind was so strong if you opened your mouth it would blow the spit right out of it- a bit like being at the dentist with the water and air pick going at you. The trip was a blast, like a roller coaster, only real. In Thailand when they tell you to hold on, or jump, or watch your step, they are not freaking joking and they aren’t just saying it so they won’t get sued. They mean it. HOLD ON.
The boat’s first stop was on a neighboring island for a snorkel dip. I jumped in and promptly bashed my big toe on a tall coral rock; it was really cool to have a bleeding
appendage in shark-infested waters. Snorkeling here was different than Ko Tao and just as neat- tons of inky black sea urchins with hundreds of foot-long spikes, dumb-looking goober fish that looked like a box of fluorescent-colored crayons had been left out in the sun and melted together, smiley-eyed pufferfish, and near-transparent jellyfish everywhere. EVERYWHERE. I wasn’t just swimming with jellyfish, I was swimming in jellyfish soup! From pea size to fist size, they were all over and around me, though they didn’t bite much and the stings I received didn’t hurt too bad; aka no one had to pee on me.
The next stop was on a sandy strip of beach in the national park for a little sea kayaking. The rain that had been mostly holding off all day let loose in a torrential downpour, and as I paddled out towards the island we were to kayak around, I was thinking: really? However it all turned out well and fun; the rain in my eyes was a bit cold and annoying but the waves that washed over me were blankety-warm. Paddle paddle paddle.
We hung tight in the rain near the island whose cliffed edges had been eaten away at the bottom by the water, giving us little caves to chill out and catch a breath in- but the rocks were as sharp as knives and would cut you fast if you forgot and used your hand instead of your oar to fend off. It was quite the ride getting around the island with the ferocious wind, waves, and rain, but once I was around the other side I saw the home beach, the wind turned in my favor, and I glided back to the shore with tired arms and a happy face. Lunch was (what else?) Phad Thai, rice, Tom Yum soup, sweet and sour chicken, fried chicken, pineapple, watermelon, and water. Ar Oy! (Delicious!).
The next stop in the national marine park was a small hike to an overlook of a jade-green lagoon in the middle of awesome grey-black cliffs, filled with darting fish as well as a few gawking tourists. Most of the waters here are a translucent jade color, but the hue seemed more dense here in this captured lagoon, and the fish were speedy little devils that reminded me of pirahna. Beautiful.
I am now back on my beach and planning to visit Chaweng Beach tonight (the nightlife hotspot of the island) for a ladyboy show and to shop at the night market. And dinner, of course. But not before another swim on my beach in my ocean in my world. It is yours too, you know. You should come say hi and jump in. The water is fantastic.
Until tomorrow, and everybody in Seattle go to the Eprom show! *jealous*