Date: December 26th - December 27th
Location: Bangkok & Ko Samui
After a magical Christmas day it was time to once again stuff our things in our respective backpacks, check out of another hotel, and hit the road again. The target this time was Bangkok for a rendezvous with Sly, Listy and Magoo. After another speedy journey, along what has to be the bumpiest stretch of highway in South East Asia, we arrived at the boys' hotel.
Walking into their room was hilarious! There were bedding and mattresses all over the place. They had apparently been having a massive "rumble" (if that's what they're calling it these days!) just before we arrived. Little time was wasted before they informed us that we were now to save them from each other and from Thailand as without us they were "blowouts". By this stage their little "incident" on Christmas day, where they each spent over $1500 on suits and shirts, was still rather fresh in their memories!! One day in Bangkok and they were pleading mercy!
To give them credit they had actually done well and booked a long haul bus for us to get down to Surat Thani where we would plan our next move from. All it meant was we had the day to kill in the capital till the bus left. After a tasty lunch, Karen and I, now designated "parents", led the boys on their first cultural expedition. We went via the Grand Palace to the Chao Phaya River to have a ride in a water taxi. It was so much fun flying up the river in a longboat. The water was filthy and rough, the houses were made of corrugated iron, and the sky was filled with clouds, but it was exactly what we wanted! It was great to be out and exploring the filthy delights Bangkok has to offer.
The highlight of the boat trip had to go to one resourceful man (read as, rip off little shit), who charged us $1 to take our own photo with our own camera!! It was a photo of us standing behind his cut-outs in front of a temple. We had stopped off for 15 minutes to have a look at the famous Wat Arun. We had all thought the cut-outs were just there for fun so quickly jumped behind them and grabbed some picture. Then, next thing you know this guy is telling us we have to pay 40B to use them!! Because we had already done so we couldn't say no and couldn't even barter! So, after paying 40B to take our own photo we all declined to pay the 20B (50c) to get in to see the actual temple, which happens to be one of the Big Three of Bangkok!! Haha what a bunch of rookies we are.
That night we caught the bus just off Koh San Road. The journey took about 10 hours and although the chairs reclined it wasn't the most comfortable or enjoyable trip. We were stoked to find the bus had movies playing... but joy soon turned to misery when they turned out to be 'the scorpion king' and 'the Tuxedo'! Yay... :-( I spent the majority of the trip curled up on the floor switching from one side to the next, periodically drifting in and out of sleep..
After a long, fitful night, we arrival in Surat Thani, literally an interchange town, where we were met with the problem of deciding our next move. After careful "deliberation", at 6am and just going where an Aussie guy we had just befriended was going! We found ourselves on the deck of a ferry, sitting in the sunshine, heading to the island of Ko Samui. After two hours of basking in the best the sun could fire at us from 150 million kilometres away, we approached the island and along with it, rain clouds. They literally engulfed the island and stretched out for maybe a kilometre to sea.
The rain didn't dampen our spirits though as before we knew it we had dumped our gear in our cool beachfront bungalows and were sitting in an open restaurant scanning through a menu. The food we quickly found was delicious and super cheap. It was almost too cheap in fact as we rapidly formed the habit of just ordering whatever and following up our order by saying "put it on the room please". Turns out this phrase was certainly not conducive to saving money but sure made for an interesting bill to decipher at the end of our stay!
The rain didn't last long and before we knew it we were standing in the sunshine sweating it up on a stunning beach dotted in coconut trees and awesome bungalows. Although the water was gorgeous and warm, we soon found out that the sea was definitely not the best for swimming in. The seabed was lined in sharp, jagged rocks and coral that cut up most of our feet. I love swimming in the sea, but am no fan of doing so at the expense of falling over in agony every couple of steps while wadding out and in. Needless to say, we didn't swim as much as we would have liked and that night decided out stop on this island would be a short one nighter.
A combination of, only a one night stay, the fact that this was in fact the first proper night I had spent with the boys in six months, and obviously since the boys are chronic boozers, we hit it large that night. It was the first time Karen and I were introduced to the Thai buckets. Basically they consist of a small bucket or ice, a can of coke, one or two red bulls, and a hip flash of whisky. Chuck 4 or 5 straws in the mix charge about $5 and there you have it, one strong ass drink for a super cheap price! They just so happen to taste a little too good so always lead to a big night.
Not to give too much away but the following morning was hilarious going through the aftermath of the night from the different parts people remembered. Special mention should go to Sly who managed to get back to the bungalows ok, only to throw up all over the inside of his because he found himself trapped and caught up in the mosquito netting at 4am while trying to frantically get outside for a second spew! Oh and Listy did well too. He forgot the name of where we were staying so spent two hours riding round the entire island in a taxi trying to find his way home. It cost him about $60, of which he really didn't have to cash to waste. I just like the fact he kept trying to describe where we were staying "it's a bungalow on the beach by some rocks..." nice!!... I personally was glad I had Karen with me, as she looked after me once I fell asleep in the back of the taxi and even haggled with the rip-off drivers when they tried to charge us double.
So the following morning, after I had forced the others to get up and packed no matter how hung over and sick they felt as we were changing islands, we sat in the restaurant and listened to people nearby paying Sly out for his super loud spewing the night before. Sly wasn't even immune from the workers of where we were staying giving him some stick!! Everyone at this stage was in agreement that our mark had certainly been left here and it was best we move on to somewhere new. Moving beaches was not going to be enough; we needed a whole new island! Destination: Ko Phan Ngan.