The Ambroses travel the world travel blog

Sunset on Sairee Village beach

Our diving instructor - Al Stewart would you believe it!

Happy New Year 2005

Well, we are sure by now that you are all back at work and busy working off those few extra pounds put on over christmas in your new exercise progammes. We are on Koh Tao in a completely different ocean thank goodness to the disastrous effects of the tsunami. You all probably know more about what is going on now than we do, we have not had a television for the last week. Although everyone here recognises it as a terrible tragedy it is not really talked about much, but of course there are money raising efforts going on and I am sure everyone on the island has contributed. Otherwise the atmososphere is very relaxed thanks in part to the beautiful island and that it is mainly filled with people diving. This means that staying out until 4-5 in the morning is just not going to be good for you, even dangerous, so there is a much more relaxed feel to Tao, rather than Samui of Koh Phagnan which we have also been to.

After a ride in a bus and a tedious boat journey we arrived in Koh Samui on christmas eve. Our resort did not have a patch on the Intercontinental in Goa but still it was close to the beach, relaxed and clean. That night they put on an extravagent show (we had to pay a compulsory 20 pounds each but had been told in advance), we had child dancers swinging along to Jingle bells, protagonists of thai marshal arts pretending to beat the living daylights out of each other and amongst other things a fire artist and a thai guy dressed as Santa. It was very nice of them to go to so much effort but Emily and I had done an overnight journey the night before and bowed out early.

The next day started with a massive breakfast followed by a swim in the pool and some sunbathing. Christmas lunch was a Prawn salad for me and a Spicy Thai Beef salad for Emily - a little healthier than all of yours I should imagine! At 4 we had a Thai massage which was excellent, we both fell asleep and at 6 we gave each other our presents (we had split up for 2 hours in Bangkok bought the presents, wrapped them up and arranged them around some flowers in our room - ahhhh I hear you cry how sweet!). I cannot remeber what we had for dinner for the silent majority of you that are interested, we drank alot of wine!

Boxing day was more of the same with a quick trip to other parts of the island on a Moped. We left on the 27th feeling pleased with our christmas break but not sure we would come back to Koh Samui again (bit to hectic for us, an old married couple). Anyway off we trotted fully expecting to catch a boat to Koh Tao and discovered that the last boat (of two) left at 11am. We decided to head to Koh Phagnan which we really did not want to do, it was the day after the Full Moon party and we just knew things were not going to be pretty. After a fruitless search in Had Rin (the Full Moon party beach) of 20 guesthouses we got a jeep back to the docks witha bunch of the most hideous people on the planet. What they were on nobody knows, but whatever it was it must have been in them a very long time. We stumbled out of the jeep happy to escape and into the last room in a crap expensive hotel. No we were not spoilt at this point it was just a horrible, expensive hotel.

We caught the boat with the mass exodus to Koh Tao from the party and arrived around 12 noon. After a slight hiccup with our plans for diving we arrived at the resort and found a nice room at a discounted price. For the first time in a a couple of days we relaxed and signed up for the Open Water diving course. The next 4 days were spent learning theory and applying it to dives. Although Emily had some trouble equalising her ears as she descended, we made a great buddy pair and passed the course ( although I got 100% in the theory test, Emily 96%...unlucky! I think she would want me to tell you that). A brief interlude to explain New Year.

New Years eve was our first proper open water dive to around 12 metres. Everything went fine for the two dives. We got back and both felt that we had a little water in our ears. After 4 hours I was in agony and although Emily was better than I, she was still uncomfortable. We eventually found that that we had been equalising too forcefully throughout the dive (holding your nose and blowing a little air out of your ears. Anyway, the upshot was that I had to take three ibuprofen and although we managed to have dinner, we went back to the hotel room at 11 for a rest - fully intending to wake up to join the party (briefly) downstairs at 12. We awoke at 12.30am sleeping through fireworks and much jollity...and promptly decided to go back to sleep. Oh well there is always next year I suppose. We hope you all had a nice time anyway!

As it happened we were ok to dive the next day and completed our course. We can now both dive, without an instructor to 18m. I carried on and finished the advanced open water course today, which included, navigation a night dive (very very weird but thrilling) and a 30m Deep water dive this morning. Emily is now on her second day of her week long Thai massage course (lucky me) and is really enjoying it.

I am going to relax for 4 days (as if I need to I hear you say) and after Emily has finished the course we travel back to Bangkok - again!, catching a flight to Singapore on the 12th - hopefully we are then flying to Borneo but need to check our finances after our extravagencies on Koh Tao.

Plenty of photo's - hopefully some underwater ones to follow.

Lots of love and tell us how you spent christmas and New Year if you are a little bored after going back to work!

Jordan and Emily

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