Monday, August 24, 2009

South Thailand

It was great to get back to Thailand i cant believe it has been 2 months already since i left the place. I took the supercheap non-tourist train to Bangkok and was instantly rewarded with the curiousness of local folks to a 'Falang' on the train. Its little things when you take the cheap local transport that i love about travelling in asia for example the old lady sitting beside me, after studying me for a bit, pointed to my earings which have gone all rusty. I don't know what she was asking but i said ' very OLD', then herself and her all pals replied in choras '...vely..OOOOOLD'! So funny i could get them to repeat anything, i pointed to her earings and said NEW! they all repeated it...maybe i'm loosing it a bit but travelling has made me find the silliest things very entertaining!

I got to Bangkok with the intentions of staying a day or two, i just checked out of interest the times for the train down south to the beach left in 2 hours...well i got too excited at the thought of being on the beach the next morning so i had a shower in the train station (surprisingly good!) some excellent thai food (i had missed this!) then hopped on the train. 10 hours later i was in Ko Tao a lovely tropical island off the east coast.

I decided to couchsurf here with a guy from El Salvador who had given up his business, stressfull unhealthy life (and wife!) to travel the world and settle on Ko Tao sure isn't he dead right! There was also an Austrian girl called Bianca staying...the guy neglected to mention on his couchsurfing page that we'd all be sharing the one bed! It was no problem as i hadn't slept a wink on the train except that 2 minutes after falling asleep a massive thunder of a snore started coming from the guy! It shook the room! Luckily i had my ear plugs handy which deadened it a bit. Poor Bianca though didnt get much sleep though!

Ao Leuk beach through Max's legs...

The next day while trying to figure out an information sign i met a very lovely friendly german fellow called Max who had one of the biggest smiles i've ever seen! I invited him up to couchsurfer guys apartment that night for a few beers.

The couchsurfing guy was friendly and sure went out of his way to make sure i had everthing i needed but I wasn't sure if i could stick the snoring everynight! I was thinking about sleeping outside on in the hammock on the balcony when the guy announced he had to go to Malaysia for a few days to renew his visa and would we mind if we were on our own in his apartment!!! He gave me the keys to his motorbike too.....EXCELLENT STUFF!! He also welcomed the German guy to stay too if he liked which was very trusting of him! So for the next 3 or 4 days the three of us chilled out at this apartment, drove to the beach, snorkelled, had a beer or three while watching the was just what i was looking for after all that hard meditation! I have to say thank you Sameer for being so trusting!!

The snorkeling was amazing...WOW!!! As anyone who knows me a long time will know when i was younger i loved all things under the sea including Disneys 'The little Mermaid' (as we have the same colour hair!) so wow wow when i looked down into the clear tropical water to see hundreds of multi-coloured fish, huge yellow fish that swim in pairs, big sea slugs, corals that look like brains or have kind of an aztec design, hundreds or thousands of tiny shiny fish all swimming closely in a group, turning at exactly the same times, baby sharks, fish that crunch coral then spit it out, swimming after but not being able to catch a fish, i kept saying 'ohmygosh!!' to myself!

I bought a little bag that i could put my camera in to take pictures underwater, not great pics but it will give you an idea....

It was heaven, i spent hours just looking down! At one stage i looked up and it was lashing rain! I hadnt noticed at all best to keep looking down so!

Some nice sunsets....

Its not all snorkelling and sunsets in ko tao...some other items of interest.....

Strange so confused about this!

A VERY fat dog!

 Ko Tao bowling alley...where a guy sits behind the cones to replace them each time! Excellent cheesy music.

 Ko Tao was also quite an expensive island there was no way i could have stayed there as long as i did without couchsurfing. The Thai's living there were extremly sick of tourists, i havent encountered such hatred of tourists in Thailand before, it was actually funny! For example one day i was looking at something in a shop, bargaining is the way of life in asia so of course i just mentioned ..well in Bangkok its only whatever price so maybe you can give me a better one?...Well the woman grabbed my arm, escorted me out of the shop screaming 'Well go to bangkok then!!!'. Such anger...i was a bit shocked at being thrown out but i have to say i found it quite funny!

Here i am with in my new rainbow dress and my battered legs!

THEN if things couldn't get any better my brother and friends arrived on the island!! As i haven't seen any of my family in almost a year this was strange at first but soooo great! We chilled out on this island for a day or two snorkeling, bowling, drinking, dancing then headed to the neighbour island called Ko Phangnan for the famous Full Moon Party!

The party was EXCELLENT! i lost my brother and friends during the night, i lost my shoes but i made loads of friends and before i knew it the sun had risen i don't know where the night went!

Very lovely friendly happy vibe there except I do remember at the start of the night i saw someone wearing the same rainbow dress as me,  so i went up to her to say 'oh lovely dress!'...i ment it as a friendly joke! Well ...this didn't go down well at ALL she basically told me where to go and started screaming obscenities at me!I suppose it is true that some girls get really offended if someone is wearing the same thing at a party!

 This island was also very beautiful and as i was staying on the other side to the full moon party it was so calm and relaxing we had little bamboo huts to ourselves set in a nice garden just beside the beach...with ducks!

We spent the day after the day after the full moon party looking for waterfalls but they had all dried up but we had a great day buzzing about the island on our motorbikes.
No luck there with the waterfall but we did climb up a hill to find a nice view point. Me and Brian

 As my brother and friends didnt have much time left in Thailand and for a change from beaches we headed over Khao Sok national park on the west side of south thailand for a bit of trekking, nature and waterfalls that hopefully had some water in them!

Leaving the island

It was almost 3pm when we arrived there so it was too late to head into the park, instead we just had a little wander then thought we'd go for a drink in 'reggae bar'. This bar played reggae for about an hour while the dread-locked guy was doing his utmost to 'look cool', after a while the music changed to old stuff we used to love and hadn't heard since before we were legally able to drink so we ended up settling into the bar very well and leaving at god knows what time!

Also in the middle of our drunkeness we came across some fire poi!! Lenny spins fire poi a lot at parties...he even was spinning away at the full moon party! We asked the guy to get us some kersoine and off we went spinning away!




Can i just advise not trying this for the first time after large quantities of whiskey!

Next, after reggae bar closed we found another bar where my brother entertained us all playing the guitar and we found the resident frog that Lenny licked in the hope it was psychodelic!

Keeping an eye on all the tomfoolery

Woo-hoo im flying!

Anyway after very little sleep we got up to check out the national park before my brother and friends had to catch their bus!


It was after raining really heavily all night so the place was ridden with leeches...YUCK!! As i have no shoes at the moment i went in my flip-flops...not ideal trekking shoes but at least i could catch the dirty feckers before they get too settled...disgusting though feeling it burrowing in between your toes and trying to pull his squishy body out while he's trying to get a better grip! Also i kept loosing my flip-flops to the deep was certainly a challenge!

A big leaf

After our little trek my brother and friends had to catch a bus to Phuket for a flight. I was very sad indeed to see my brother go...sure im not sure when ill see him again but anyway it certainly brightened up my travelling in south thailand!

Brian, Lenny, Gerry & Darius

See you Brian!!

Back on my own again i spent a night in Hat Yai before heading to the Malaysian border. I splashed out on an air conditioned room ( about E10!). I was utterly confused as to whether the hotel receptionist was a girl or a boy...he/she was not all dolled up like a lady boy just in normal clothes....but a really happy, cheerful person nonetheless!

There also was this row of shops/restaurants that everyone was sneezing and coughing outside, i went to ask advice about a bus to the border and as soon as i went near the shop i started sneezing and coughing like crazy!!How strange!

Bye bye thailand!

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