Koh Samet, research & clenching exercises

It’s time to say goodbye to Ko Samet. Mainly because I feel I need to dry out before meeting the party girls, aka “Excited Squealing”, in Bali. There has been a lot of talk of cocktails. Jojo, Nella Bella and Juma, you know who you are. But I on the other hand, more money where your mouth is ish, have been happily over-indulging all week. Happily at the time, not quite so happy in the mornings. I have been sleeping well – at the end of the night, gracefully lowering myself (falling) into bed, but waking the next morning with a headache? Clearly this is caused by the impact between head and pillow, not the alcohol – in order to test this theory thoroughly it was necessary to visit the cocktail bar at least 4 nights in a row. It could’ve been more, I’m not sure, I was fully immersed in research. To my credit, between drinks, I did manage to explore the island. We did a snorkeling tour: 5 hours, 4 islands, jet boat (quite crowded), water & a feed of Kebab, fried rice and fruit – all for 600 Baht, good value for money. But. The snorkeling sites, although good, were crowded with un-educated tourists in life jackets, who couldn’t swim. So they stood, and walked, all over the coral. Are you f##king kidding me? This is meant to be a National Park? The second spot was in deeper water where you had to dive down for a good look – it was awesome – and minimised the destruction from the idiots as they couldn’t reach it. Onto another couple of small islands, but more to wander around, explore and do a little beachcombing, or so it appeared from where I was sitting with Karen having a smoke. It was a slappy ride home (anyone who’s been in a jetboat knows what I mean) and I barely got away with not biting my tongue off.

Now, weird tongue fact according to Sara – if you start thinking intensely about where you’re tongue is hanging about in your mouth – you don’t where it should go – but as soon as you don’t think about it, it knows where to go. How weird is that?

Obviously, by the end of the day, we were thirsty – research o’clock time anyone?

Karen & I also did pretty much every shop on the island. Just to have a look because as you can imagine, they were all quite different. They weren’t, and there was very little that had the internal bracing and sturdy structure required for these bodies. Everthing was from way way too small to too small. Heavy sighs x 2. But we did find the big beach, so not a complete loss. And all the bars, and resorts, and bikini babes, and jet skis, paragliding, dogs, and shitloads of jet boats (we were subsequently told no jet boats were allowed because of the “National Park” status. What ever). The locals were great, the food was great, the beaches are beautiful white sand and the ocean is warm and clear. But. Like one of the beaches on Koh Tao, there were floaty black dots everywhere – and it was oil, or grease, and pretty yucky. It is better where not so many boats & people, which I guess is true of everywhere. And coming from New Zealand I’m quite (really) fussy (anal) about what water I swim in.

Boat trip no. 2. We met some lovely poms whilst researching, and shared a fishing boat for a slow, relaxing ride right around Koh Samet, and out a bit deeper for some fishing. It was sunny and rolly and wallowy, and I loved it – good company, lots of beer, and food. James caught two fish fingers, Jo was a fish free zone like myself, but Joe & Karen (twice) got hold of “the one that got away”. And mate, it was a whopper. I tell ya, it were huge, I could feel it. Hmmm. Never mind, the boat guys were obviously expecting a dismal result (they did BBQ the 4 fish fingers that had managed to be wrestled onto the boat) and provided chicken fried rice, fruit and water – standard fare & perfect for the day. At our last stop the captain spent 35 minutes executing a 22 point turn and still couldn’t line up with the buoy (we ended up attached to a couple of other boats who had managed to line up a bouy). Then home for well needed showers. Price was 1000 Baht each (x7), we were out for about 5 hours, great ride and views. Money well spent.

Our other sightseeing, apart from the main beach and its spectacular fire shows at night, was a walk (in the hottest part of the day with hangovers & squeamish bellies) to see the new condo development at the end of the road, beautiful beaches interspersed with drifts of roadside rubbish and resorts/bars, and thankfully toilets.

This brings me to the trip here – starting at Ekkamai Bus Station in Bangkok. I’d had some squeamishness and a couple of bouts of the Fast and the Furious, but thought I’d be okay for the 2 1/2 (ish) hour ride to Rayong. And I may well have been until making the fatal mistake of eating. Three minutes before the bus left I was camped on the loo – the buses do not wait. So feeling somewhat apprehensive, on I got. 5 minutes in I took one of our magic apps (anti poo pill), and 5 minutes after that, another. Thank god, because I spent the entire journey (except for a 10 minute hiatus, which gave me a faint glimmer of hope before crushing it) with my legs crossed, clenching grimly. And that was with magic pills. My butt muscles were so sore afterwards that I realised I actually have butt muscles. Note to self and generally sensible advice – take magic pills PRIOR to the journey – not during. After releasing the Kraken when we finally stopped, I was all good for the slow (45 minutes) ferry over to the island.

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