Karen and Nick are a super-chilled Canadian couple: Nick's been here on Ton Sai for a few weeks already; and Karen just rocked up today (not sure if they're together, or just friends, or what-have-you). Nick is apparently "extremely short on cash": as such, he's sleeping in a tent instead of renting a bungalow (can't afford $7/night — ouch). I met the two of them while having dinner this evening, and I later went out and had a few drinks with them, at the Chill Out bar on the beach. Saw plenty of other folks at the beach bars tonight as well — great, pleasant way to end my time in Ton Sai.
Stewie's a great bloke, who's originally from sheeped-in-history Kiwiland, but who now lives in Brisbane as a high-school science teacher. Stewie's just been up in Laos, and the guy absolutely will not stop raving about the place: if he can be believed, then Laos is truly the most kick-a$$ place in the world, and at an unbelievably low price. Stewie's a lethal party animal; and like everyone else here on Ton Sai, he's here mainly to enjoy the amazing climbing to be found on this rather rocky ol' peninsula.
Randomness is part of travelness. And as travelness goes, tonight was filled with randomness. I bumped into a group of six (newly-acquainted) people this evening: four Germans, and two Austrians. Just walked past them on my way down to towards the beach, here at Ton Sai; and next thing I knew, I was off to "The Kasbah" with them, to join in on dinner and drinks. Then, what do you know: just after dinner, it was happy hour — 2-for-1 on Sang Som (Thai whisky) and coke — so out poured the rounds. And what's more: amidst the rainbow-coloured décor and the haze of weed smoke, we managed to find a Jenga set; and we enjoyed several hilarious rounds of this game (always funnier after a few drinks). Strange night, but good times.
Like the famous tennis player, Martina is a thin, athletic girl from the fair realm of Switzerland. Martina hails from a small mountain village in the south-eastern region of Switzerland, where she's lucky enough to have been skiing her entire life. She now spends most of her winter months in a ski town in the country's Italian region, where she pays her way by working as a café waitress. Martina is fluent in German, English, French, Italian and Spanish — an impressive repertoire, even by (the not-too-shabby) Swiss standards. Martina climbed with me during this afternoon's session, where she blew us all away by conquering a climb that no-one else could.
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.
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.
In case I haven't yet had my full dose of Austrians, tonight Ko Tao delivered me yet more of them! Iris and Andrea are two lovely girls from Vienna, who are (like myself) currently on a world trip — although theirs is significantly shorter than mine. They've already been to Australia, where the only place they visited was Sydney (they reckon it was so much fun, they got stuck there for two weeks — go figure). They're currently taking their sweet time getting through Thailand's glorious south, after which they'll keep heading north, and eventually home. I bumped into them at the hippie bar next-door to my room this evening, where I shared a few drinks with them.
Robert is an Austrian fellow — another Austrian from the city of Graz. He is, like, sooo gay: I'm sure he's not the only gay on the island; although he could very well be the only gay on tiny, secluded moondance beach. Robert runs a company that organises large, mainly homosexual parties and functions in Graz, and he's a very friendly and interesting guy. He's here in Ko Tao for a month (he's not going anywhere else in Thailand), where he's doing absolutely nothing, aside from lying on the beach and working on his tan.
I bumped into this group of three at Chalok this morning, where they were scouring the beach for accommodation. Martin and Flores are two Dutch boys, and Justine is an Indonesian girl who has hooked up with Martin. The three of them have been living and studying in Shanghai, China, on exchange for the past 6 months; and now, they're down in Thailand for a holiday. They're all business / economics students: and after this, they're headed home to continue their university studies. I joined them for dinner and drinks this evening, after my Ko Tao walkabout.
Adam's one of the quieter and less permanently-drunk Irishmen I've met over the past year. Nevertheless, he's still a right good ambassador of his booze-loving homeland: he can down his buckets all night with the best of 'em. Adam's been in my Open Water course since Friday; although somehow, I managed to avoid meeting him properly until today. Once we met, it didn't take long for us to click — or for the glasses to clink.