All the blog entries that I've managed to scratch down, while travelling around the world.
You can view these blog entries in reverse chronological order (below), or you can browse them in a monthly archive. You may find the monthly archive more convenient for catching up on older entries, or for finding specific entries or ranges of entries.
First night on Ton Sai. Ko Tao is now behind me, and it's been a week since I saw any of my diving friends from Sairee. And who should I happen to bump into — walking right past me on the beach — but Caroline! Turns out that she's been here — along with all the Canadian dudes from the course — for a few days. Naturally, I was obliged to join my old buddies for a few drinks tonight: especially since it's their last night in Ton Sai, with their destination for tomorrow being the island of Ko Phi-Phi. It seems that there's only one thing, and one night, that everybody remembers about me from Ko Tao — when the crew first saw me this evening, they all greeted me with: "hey, it's vomit boy!" Uhhh... yeah, thanks guys :\.
Mathias is a quiet guy from Germany, who's spent most of his life as a musician in one form or another, and who's currently about to start work as a sound producer. That is: if you ever wondered who composes all those cheesy little sounds that are the intros to TV quiz shows and news bulletins, it's him. Mathias is in Thailand for about a month, where he's relaxing on various beaches and enjoying the warm, un-European weather. I met him this evening, when we realised that we were sharing the "emergency room" at Kiew Thao, here in Ton Sai, while waiting for our own respective bungalows to become available.
After a brief interlude in Krabi, this morning I continued on to what will be my final "real destination" here in Thailand, and for my entire trip: the legendary beach of Ton Sai. I've heard a lot about Ton Sai — particularly from my friends back in Pai — and I think it's going to be a great place to wrap things up, and to have some fun and relaxation.
One night in Krabi: I really needed it, in between Ko Tao and Ton Sai. You can't go straight from one farang beach retreat to another: sometimes, you just need to spend a night in a real town. A place where you can find a cheap room, cheap food, and cheap Internet. And a place where a big city boy like myself can feel slightly more at home. Krabi's a pleasant enough town, but it's a bit small and boring. I mingled with my Dutch friend this evening, over dinner and a few drinks. She also insisted on finding a Thai massage, which I stupidly tagged along to: of the several Thai massages that I've had during my time here, it was one of the more painful (apparently, the more it hurts while they're doing it, the better you feel after — I have yet to verify this). Seems that most folks don't linger in Krabi too long: everyone heads to either Railay, Ton Sai or Ao Nang pretty fast.
I met this girl on the bus to Krabi today. She's told me her name a zillion times: but I'm afraid it's all Dutch to me. She's been living in a small village near Ranong for the past 6 weeks, where she was volunteering as an English teacher at the local primary school. I hung out with her this evening in Krabi, and then we kept bumping into each other over the next few days, since we both continued on to Ton Sai. She's a bit daunted by all the farangs, after being in a remote Thai village for so long — but she's gradually getting used to seeing Westerners everywhere once again.
Today was a hectic day on the road — especially compared with my past week of going nowhere and of lying on the beach. Last night, I finally said goodbye to Ko Tao, departing on the night ferry back to Chumphon. The ferry set sail at 11pm, and arrived on the mainland at 5am. It was a sleeper ferry, fitted with a deck-full of bunk beds — and miraculously, I slept like a log for the entire journey. From Chumphon, I immediately grabbed a minibus (pre-booked) west to the city of Ranong, from where I did a so-called "visa run" over the border to Burma (now called Myanmar), and then came straight back without hanging around. I didn't hang around in Ranong, either: from there, I caught a bus headed south; and by 4pm, I'd made it to the city of Krabi. Lots of bussing and boating to squeeze into one day — so much, in fact, that I had time for virtually nothing else.
Known variously as "Thai salad", "spicy salad" or "traditional salad", "Papaya salad" is one of the few Thai foods that I'd never tried and never heard of, prior to coming to Thailand. And now I know why. Tonight in Mae Hat — just before leaving Ko Tao — I sampled a plate of this infamous dish for the first time. I'd been warned that this is "the spiciest dish in Thailand": and as such, I naturally went ahead and asked them to prepare it pet pet ("very spicy") for me. Big mistake: it really is the spiciest dish in Thailand, and perhaps in the entire world. The stuff probably isn't even legal back home. It's a delicious salad: but brace yourself before trying it, because it will blow you away.
After 10 nights here, I couldn't just leave Ko Tao empty-handed — I had to walk away with at least something to remember it by. Found these souvenir t-shirts this evening, while perusing the souvenir shops and knock-off boutique stores that line the streets of Mae Hat. Cute little reminders of this wonderful place. And no, neither of them is for me: I'm generally not a big fan of either pink or of aqua! I think they'll make good presents for the folks back home, when I return in a few weeks' time.
One last place here on Ko Tao that I've heard good things about, but that I haven't previously visited, is a place called Freedom beach. Since this was my last day on the island, today I tore myself away from yet another trip to Moondance beach, and instead ventured onto new sands. Freedom beach is in the opposite direction from Moondance: it's on the eastern side of Chalok Baan Kao, in a tiny protected bay just in from Chalok's eastern headland. Lovely place, and a great final impression of Ko Tao.
Today was my third and final day on the idyllic Moondance beach, and it was no different from the days before it. More of relaxing, more of occasionally taking a dip, and more of doing very little. I found Robert in his usual nesting-spot, sprawled on the sand next to a big rock; and in the afternoon, we were joined by a friend of Robert's, who's just arrived direct from Austria (and who's not gay — although he does run a bar in Graz), as well as by Iris and Andrea.