The Thailand trip was really cool. Ted and I went to Koh Phangnan, an island in the gulf of Thailand. It was a long bus ride and then boat ride down there, almost 15 hours of travel. The bus was older and was decorated with funny fabrics. It was half full, so we each had two seats to ourselves. They showed random movies, like Blade Runner, and a newer one called “Lucky Sleven”, which froze right at the end. Damn. The bus left in the evening, making one stop around midnight at a fluorescently lit oasis along the way. Every got out to use the bathroom and buy food. A series of transfers followed at dawn, first to a minivan, then to a big bus again, and then to a boat. We finally made it to the island around 11am.
We walked along the pier battling hotel offers from the locals. We headed up the main strip and began looking for scooters or motorcycles to rent.
We found a pair of enduro motorcycles for $5/day. We drove all over the island. We must have looked like degenerate gym teachers, Ted in his boxer brief underwear (he didn’t have a bathing suit) and me in my speedo-briefs bathing suit. Or maybe we looked more like nihilists from the big lebowski. We stayed in beach bungalows that cost about $12/night for a double with no a/c, just fans, which isn’t too bad. We stayed on a different beach each night.
We bought snorkels and masks from a tourist shop in town and rode out to a part of the island that the guidebook recommended for diving. There weren’t very many people there. We walked along the rocky island until we found a point that looked safe enough to jump in. The waves were small, but sill crashed against the big rocks. Ted went in first and I followed suit. It was a clean entry. Once we put our faces in the water and began swimming we realized we had literally jumped into a school of fish. They were about 6-8 inches long, with yellow stripes over a silvery-blue body. There were hundreds, all swimming in sync.
The reef was amazing. There was tons of live coral and many different kinds of fish, some of which I remember from snorkeling at Grand Cayman as kid. We spent about three hours out in the water before calling it quits. The sun was setting and it began to get chilly. At some point Ted kicked a piece of coral with the top of his foot. It wasn’t too bad, just a few layers of skin missing, but it bled a lot, especially when he got out of the water. It looked like someone had stabbed his foot. He put his sock on, which acted like a bandage, and was good to go.
We left the island on our fourth day. We took a ferry in the morning, and got on a bus in the afternoon, which brought us to Bangkok around 8:30p. I had a few hours before my flight, so we went to an outdoor bar that was set up in a gas station on the street. They put tables and chairs everywhere and decorated the gas pumps. The bar was projecting the Wimbledon tennis championship on a big screen. We sat there watching tennis drinking pina coladas for a couple hours. I caught a taxi and went to the airport and got on a plane to Beijing. I arrived around 7am.