Sunday, January 29, 2012

Back to BKK

Amber:  After screaming my head off by jumping from a 15' cliff into the ocean twice, I was already turning red.  As Tim mentioned, I was a little chicken about jumping, so was on top of a rock cliff for quite some time.  An hour... or so.  Looking back after actually jumping, Justin is right; I'm a little embarassed about how easy it was and how not high 15' is! By the time we had riden the motor scooter back to our room I was beginning to see the beginning of sun burn that went from my ankles to ears. I put on my first pair of pants and a hooded, long sleaved top since arriving on Koh Tao and we limped off to dinner with Justin and Joe at Porto Bello, a delitious Itialian resturant.  We introduced Joe to baked brie, much to Tim's happiness as it's his all time favorite.  I refrained from having any Chong with dinner or going out with Tim and co after and went back to the room to apply as much aloe as possible and lay face down on the bed, fan on full blast, after inspecting the bed for any grain of sand that may cause damage to the glowing red that was my entire backside.  Tim had been a much smarter Alaskan and had worn shorts and a tee shirt to snorkel and cliff dive in - I had worn one of my Patagonia bikinis.  Which was the only white part on my body, the rest was red to more red. 
Sadly, I dedicated an entire day on beautiful Koh Tao to sun burn recovery and staied inside my room watching really bad television and liberally applying aloe while the sun was out.  Once it had safely gone down, Tim came from haining out with Fai and the guys and took me up to Fai's bungalow on the moter scooter to play cards and sip on a Chong.  Fai had an ice pack for my glowing skin, love her, which made beating the guys at the card game Up and Down the river for the third time all the sweeter!
The next day I was feeling much better and we decided it was time to get me on my own motor scooter.  Once one was aquired, we met up with Justin and Joe, rented snorkels and fins, and took off for the east side of Koh Tao.  I was a little wobbely to start out with, but my confidence was building by the time we got to the top of a steep, steep hill that was no longer pavement but washed out dirt.  Justin and Joe cautiously proceeded down the hill, and as it was no worse than the ones that Tim and I had ridden tandome on previously, I inched my way down.  Thinking I had mastered the art of motor scootering in the rough, I passed an elderly man and his dog only to find myself flipped over the motor scooter, with my ankle stuck under the bike.  How embarassing to have the old guy come over and lecture me to get off the bike, park it and walk the rest of the way!  At least he and Tim were kind enough to get the bike off of me so I could dust myself off, climb back on it and roll the rest of the way down the hill to where Justin and Joe had parked.  The waves on the beach were high and it was a little breezy, so we decided that we should return to the west side of the island and snorkel there, but first to have lunch on the beach. 
As it turns out, that was a horrible idea.  Justin had a bag of soup for lunch and as we approached an empty resort near the ocean a small Thai man came barreling across the varanda sputtering "you bring food?  get off my beach!" at a higher and higher volume as he got closer to us.  He ended up grabbing Justin and physically shoving him away from the beach as the four of us stared in shock.  Tim asked him if he actually owned the beach and he screamed that yes, he did.  As it turns out, Fai informed us later, that he did not own the beach.  Just the property leading up to it.  Either way, we decided that we would rather not stay.  As we drove back up the hill we watched as other travelers apporached the beach and the man angerly searched their bags for food as well.
We ended up snorkeling from the beach down from Ban's and it turned out to still be on the choppy side.  The snorkels we rented were shorter than ones we had in the past, so due to the waves we kept sucking in water.  As the visibility was also affected by the waves, we saw far fewer fish and after a bit decided to turn around and head home.  Fai was able to meet up with us and we took a taxi to a beautiful Thai resturant where Fai guided us through some exellent Thai cuisine.  As it was Tim's and my last night in Koh Tao, Fai, Justin and Joe joined us at our pool and we plaied one last game of Up and Down the River.  Justin and I tied... but I beat him due to a high card draw!  Still the Koh Tao champ!!
The next morning we packed everything up and took the motor scooters back.  As it turns out, the small crash that I did caused some scratches on the bike that neither Tim or I had noticed.  While minor, they ended up costing us about 200 US!  Not sure how to resolve the issue other than pay it, I ended up out the money. Sad, as we are on a tight $30 a day budget! 
We boarded the catamaran back to Chumpon and our first two hours of our return to Bangkok were fairly painless.  It was the 8 hours in a bus that appeared to have air conditioning working for every seat but ours that was a little grueling.  Once we arrived in Bangkok at 8:00pm we began our search for housing.  We began at a place that Tim had seen during our earlier stay that was 400 baht and included tv, hot shower and a flush toilet.  They had a room, so we went up to take a peek.  Garbage lined the stair well and black mold was creeping up the wall in the bed room.  I told Tim no way and we went on to search for another bargin, only cleaner.  It was after about an hour that we realized that it was Friday night and 9:00pm was a horrible time to be looking for a room on Khaosan Road or Ram Butri.  We went down both Khaosan and Ram Butri and the party was full force and crowded as well as many dark alleys only to be told that they were full.  At most of the places we asked I was secretly glad that they were full.  We finally found a guest house that had a room!  It was very basic, but for 350 baht it was clean and we were happy.  The shower was shared as was the toilet, and the fan was extremely loud but we were tired and our back packs were heavy.  We had some street food, got a Chang from the Seven as well as a water, put our ear plugs in and went to bed. 

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