Thursday 21st November
Both Carol and I are exhausted and we both retired to bed early last night at just before ten. I awoke at five in a lot of pain in my shoulder again and had to take some pain killers which took about half an hour to work and I was able to fall back to sleep. Carol woke at six, wandered about for a few minutes before returning to bed and falling asleep again.
When I woke up at nine, I did for the first time in ages feel well rested even though my shoulder still hurts. Carol though is still snoring away quite peacefully.
We are on a countdown now though, it is seven days until we fly home and to be honest I am ready to do so, if we could leave tomorrow I think that I would take the offer because I am starting to feel the distance between us and home. The simple pleasures of relaxing in a bath, cuddling my boy Jasper and seeing the two young people who share our home. Last night I had many strange dreams and when I was not dreaming of night clubs filled with exotic people from all over the universe, I was dreaming of home, dreaming of my Lego sets, dreaming of my bed and my home comforts. Back home winter is setting in, cold days and colder nights. Frost on the grass, ice in the shaded corners and as I sit here in the morning heat that is already above twenty degrees, I crave the cold, I crave not running with sweat with every foot step, I crave not being exhausted by a walk across the bay due to the heat of the sun. Most of all though I crave home and the company of the two special young people who are there.
There are things about Thailand that I will miss, I would love to ride my bike here along some of the roads that pass through the hills and valleys of the rain forest. Swimming in the sea here is something I enjoy and not dislike intently like I do at home. The people here have a relaxed attitude to life that people in the UK do not and most of all I will miss the lack of a Nanny state telling me to do things or not to do things because I am considered too stupid to be able to keep myself safe.
Back in the uk, I hate the attitude that the state has about making the decisions for the lowest level of inteiligence. For example have you considered the metal railings around corners that stop us crossing the road where we wish? Sometimes that can stretch so far that you have to walk quite a distance out of your way just to cross a road and walk back down again. At the moment in the UK and across Europe they are trying to introduce laws that will "make motorcycling safer", these laws have restricted Carol's son to a small capacity bike for the next two years despite his passing his motorcycle test. In some EU countries they want us to wear reflective jackets so that car drivers can see us because most car drivers do not look in their mirrors. I know this since I was hit by a car in Bristol a little while ago.
Here in Thailand we have seen families climb aboard scooters helmet free. Helmets are available here and many people choose to use one. In the time I have been here, I have not seen a single accident, nor have I seen a single act of road rage. Something in our culture back home is broken, with the Government taking away our freedoms under the guise of making us safer I have fears for the future. The UK is turning into a Police state as more and more cameras are put on motorways and in town centres, all to keep us safe. Drivers in fits of rage will get out of their vehicles and attack other drivers. There is aggression everywhere as the media rallies suport for the far right as they pour scorn on the unemployed, the disabled and the foreign traveller fleeing from brutal regimes back home. Our Government also has this agenda, I read somewhere once a quote that said "The people should not be afraid of their Government, rather the Government should be afraid of the people."
I will admit that I am afraid of what my future holds at the hands of this Government. Yet the choices that we have are so limited in our votes. We can choose the leftish right, the centre right or the far right. Being left is considered bad by many and liberal is used as an insult. I am a liberal, I believe in liberty and support for the people. I believe in the NHS and education for all. I do not believe in a Police state with cameras every where and greater powers of control for those in Governance. So yes, I will miss Thailand when I return home, where we are now I have not seen any Police, yet I have seen great poverty. There must be some middle ground somewhere, a balance between the Poverty and the Police state surely? Yet Poverty is now a threat in the UK too, with people having to choose between food and heating through out the winter.
There is something very wrong with society and although I can see the faults, I do not know how to fix them. Maybe I am a Marxist after all, although I have often referred to myself as a anarcho-libralist. The part of me that wants to return home is equally balanced with the part of me that hates the limits to my freedom. Funny how a small holiday can have such a large impact, I am still not eating the curry though.
Today we spent some time resting and then went for a walk to the Golden Buddha to steal some internet while we had a cuppa, however once we got there we saw what they were serving for dinner today and so stuck around for a bit longer than we planned just so that we could have a lovely dinner, especially after yesterdays Pizza on the beach.
Annoyingly both Carol and I seem to have a bit of a dicky tummy, nothing serious and no other symptoms than a sudden need to have a shit. During yesterdays bike rides I had to keep coming back to base to empty my bowels and today Carol faced a similar thing. For me I am fairly used to it and put it down to my medication as usual, however for Carol to have it too something does feel a little strange and I would hate for our last week to be spent being ill.
So once we had updated the blog and nearly crashed their server waiting for facebook to open so that we could try to upload a picture (which we could not do in the end due to a poor connection) we put asside the crappy little chromebook and ordered dinner. Carol ordered a curry (brave given we now know what they put in it!) and I ordered spare ribs in sauce. When the food arrived, we would have been hard pushed to say who had the best meal. My spare ribs were huge chunks of meat dripping in sauce and Carol's curry smelled and looked lovely. To be honest, the portion of spare ribs was not enough, not to say it was a small portion, it was just so nice that I could have eaten another four plates worth just to enjoy the flavour. It was the sort of meal where your tongue orgasms, where you regret having only one tongue and where as you put the last morsel in your mouth, you can't help but grieve a little. As I type this now I am salivating like one of Pavlov's dogs!
The walk back to the hut was not with out incident, poor Carol suffered another agonising stomach cramp and was forced to dig a hole on the beach and void herself into said hole while I stood by offering support and kind words. When she finds out that I am telling you this, I am sure that she will kill me, but you have a right to know the truth.
Once back home we played a game of who needs the loo first and Carol won and then had another invigorating ice cold shower. Meanwhile I wandered off down to the bar to make sure that Chui kept the lights on, there was no need for us to worry though because he was getting increasingly merry with the British guy from the dive school. Sadly for him, his work load for the week has just been cancelled because there is supposed to be a storm coming in. Chui however says that this is rubbish and it is just going to be a bit of wet weather and the dive school are being pansies. His arguement goes on that given that he has lived here for all of his life, he has more local knowledge that the tourists who run the school. The Dive master has said that there is a typhoon blowing in and it is going to put all of the fishing boats into port for at least a few days. Well, over the next few days we shall see who is right.
Anyway, as I did my nails and listened to the two men talk and get increasingly more drunk it became apparent that Chui himself is rather lonely on his desert island paradise and does infact have a wife and kids somewhere else, but they don't like it here because there is no power or internet (I can kind of see where they are coming from to be honest). Yet with the number of women who come to his resort, one of them must he argues find him attractive and want to stay with him because he is such a good catch with many techniques of... sadly I lost the translation at this point but it was either dancing or press ups.
Back at the hut all was quiet and Carol and I settled down for the night and once again I am left awake writing as she starts to gently snore. Curse my sick and ruined mind, make me sleepy at bed time, not lunch time you bastard! Oh well, it as you all know just part of the Curious Adventure.
Friday 22nd November
It is four AM and I have just woken up feeling rather unwell. I am also covered in fresh bites, some of which hurt and this is despite our bed being covered in a mosquito net. I appear to be a Mosquito restaraunt, I can imagine the slogan "Eat at Jayne's, the blood is good and the skin is pale and thin!" Mosquitoes are I have decided, bastards! I am going to try and get some more sleep and stop sulking, our friend Rich calls me a SAAB 900 Turbo when I sulk. I fear that if I continue sulking here, a mosquito will bite me on the lip and with the swelling it would cause, I will resemble John Merrik!
Strangely I am now actually looking forwards to getting to Bangkok. I am ready to go home now having had the holiday of a life time. I miss my friends, I miss the kids and I miss my cat. We have only a few days to go here on this island paradise and yet with the promise of bad weather for the next few days, part of me feels like I am home already!
Ah, 8:30 AM and things seem to have settled down in the tummy and I have loved aspects of this place because it truly is the island paradise that we were looking for. The place is covered with beautiful Hermit crabs that wander about doing Hermait crab business. There are also the little beach crabs here that are just hilarious, watching them run sideways is one of natures comic moments, you cannot help but smile as they sprint away in a large arc only to get swallowed up by a wave from the ocean. With the current bad weather the waves are something spectacular, big tubes of water crashing onto the beach. Even a land lubber like me can feel the pull of the ocean and the urge to go surfing. I have never surfed in my life, but I imagine it is easy. After all it is just standing on a slipperly fibre glass board, propelled by the sea towards to the rocky coast. What could go wrong?
Well it has not stopped raining all day so far and it is two PM, we have tidied the hut and I have started packing stuff ready for the flight home and have managed to get Carol's leathers and my new stuff into my main bag. With the stuff I am junking because it is no longer needed I will be with in my weight limit. As for the rest of today I am very bored. Our options are so limited, with no power we can not really keep the Crapbook on for very long due to needing to keep some power in the battery so that we do not have to turn the fucking off. Once it is off we cannot log back into it, which is pathetic. Good job Google, make a device that is only any use at home and in places with wifi. OK, we sort of knew that it was basic, but when we were reassured that we could use it with out a net connection we did think that it had some benefit and we could live with out net brousing. Anyway enough moaning about the Crapbook.
I have done some writing today but I am struggling to find focus and cannot get more than a introductiuon written before I lose interest. Obviously if I had my net connection I could put this in my writing blog, but on this island we do not even have power during the day. We also have not yet eaten anything and are considering what our options are for today. What ever we do, it requires a bit of walking and I am suffering with pain today and walking is the last thing I want to do. If I were at home today I would be resting, exercising my mind somehow be it Scrabble or Lego or maybe even reading. I have asked Carol if she wants to go to the bar to play cards but that interests her about as much as having her toe nails pulled out.
Despite the rain here, it is still hot and sticky which is quite horrible, where ever I go I am wet and fed up with it. Carol and I are both a little disappointed with this place, it has so much potential, but with no shop selling even the most basic things, motorbike hire that is laughable and not even a safe restaraunt, Chui has failed to keep up with the times which is sad. When I was talking to him last night he said he does not want the internet because he gets busines through word of mouth. Yet with the internet generation we are spreading the word all over the world and things get read about his site and this puts people off before they even meet him, which is a shame. I have one major question though, if they can run a power line from the hydroelectric dam in the rain forest to Myanama, why can they not get power across three hundred metres of river? Is it really so hard? With a power line could come a phone line and with a phone line could come the internet and then Chui could skype his beloved family that he misses so much, a family who tell him that his site is too basic. The twenty first century has arrived and the dinosaurs who want nothing to do with it will eventually die out.
As if to make a point this evening, Mr Chui turned off the power to the site at five to eight in the evening. It had been on for slightly less than two hours when he pulled the plug. I am now fed up being in this stupid place, it is sub standard, the food is unsafe and the huts are generally in poor condition with rotten bamboo struts in places. What can we say when it comes to the review on line? Only what we have seen here and we are becoming more and more unimpressed.
Carol and I have both stated today that we are looking forwards to getting back to Bangkok, what a shame because we were both looking forwards to coming here and it has been a disappointment. We discovered today that the mattress that we are sleeping on is rotten and has been chewed by mice and rats with the posibility of bed bugs, there is animal faeces on our fly net every morning and being next to a swamp we are plagued by mosquitoes, so that we get several bites every time we use the toilet. All I want now is to go and leave this shit hole behind. In the mean time my tummy is playing me up a treat and I need to use the loo again. Over the last few days both Carol and I have had tummy upsets and this is not a good end to our holiday and we are now trying to find a new place to stay. We have asked Mr Chui to take us over to the mainland in the morning and from there we can find another adventure and thus move on from a place where we have not been hugely happy. The disappointment we feel is however tempered by the thought of a new adventure.
For food this evening we were forced once again to leave the site due to the kitchen here and went for a walk out to the Horizen resort and had food there. This was a good choice and the food was really nice even if they used a lot of garlic so I now have death breath and will be safe from Dracula for the night! Rather than walk along the beach, we chose to wander along the track through the woods and eventually found the place. Food arrived very quickly and the staff were nothing but friendly. The walk back though soaked us to the skin and I was actually cold for a brief moment of time, however as soon as I started walking I warmed up once again.
Saturday 23rd November
What a day! We are now on another island on the other side of Thailand! We are now on Ko Samui, having escaped from the Ko Phra Thong and the joys of Mr Chui. But before I tell you anymore about where we are, let me tell you about our day.
Mr Chui was sullen and charged us 2000 Baht for our stay with him, not bad for three meals, one fucked motorbike and a few drinks! The level of over charging there is unprecedented even in Thailand. He collected our stuff in all but silence and then stopped at the bar so that he could get his bright red head scarf and then rode the bike and sidecar to the jetty, again with uot saying a word to us other than to tell us to get on. At the jetty he told us to wait while he sorted his boat and then told us to get on. ONce we were on, he climbed up on the front of the boat and sat on the prow smoking fags and talking in Thai to his friend who drove the boat. At the other side he told us to get off the boat and then to wait while he got his Taxi, a large shiny leather fitted Volvo. When he pulled up he told us to get in and we drove in silence to the bus station where he told us to get out. We unloaded our bags and Mr Chui suddenely smiled shooks our hands and said good bye!
We jumped on the first bus of the day in Kuraburi and took that to Takui Pa where we changed to another coach to Surat Thani. Both coaches had leaking air conditioning and on the first coach Carol got dripped on. On the second journey I asked if she wanted to swap seats, but she said no. Thus is was that I got dripped on too, The coach took the familiar route down past Khao Sok and as we stopped at the bus stop for the National Park I saw Mr Bao's shiny Toyota and jumped off to say hello. His beaming smile and welcoming hand shake prived that he really did care about the people who stay with him and I thanked him for the wonderful time we had in the rain forest.
Our arrival in Surat was rather hurried and the guy selling tickets on the bus dropped us right ourside a travel agent who then told us that there was only one more ferry to Ko Samui and that we were unlikely to make it if we fried to take the bus. She recommended a fast taxi and a sprint to the port. She was not wrong, the taxi sprinted through the rain, driving like a formula one driver, weaving through traffic and we arrived at the port just as the ferry was loading, the taxi driver drove the car into the foyet of the port, we loaded on our back packs and started walking into the port office and got waved through to the ticket office, we handed over our tickets and got waved through to the gangway and waited for about two minutes before we were waved onto the ferry. Had we waited for the bus, we would have missed the ferry and had to wait at the dock until tomorrow morning. We gave the taxi driver a 100 Baht tip for (£2) for getting us there in time and we taught him a new way of saying that something is good. Yes, I taught him to use the work Wicked!
The ferry set sail at half past six on the dot and sailed straight into the remains of a monsoon. I stood on the deck in unbeleivable rain that washed over the deck as the ship swayed from side to side (Carol says it is Yawing, I say it is making people want to puke!) in the wind. It was utterly beautiful and even though I got wet, I could not tare meself away from that spectacle of weather. It was truly fabulous. The lights of Surat had barely dipped below the horizn when the lights of Ko Samui came into view, it was the shortest two hour crossing I have ever been on and the food was also great, just a shame that there was not enough.
We docked in Ko Samui under a heavy clouded sky with the occasional flash of lightening and wandered down the pier to the first piece of land. Just as we stepped form the pier to the dry land, the heavens opened and torrential rain fell, soaking us both in a matter of seconds. We sheltered under a shop awning and shivered, teh girl in the shop came out and told us that the cafe next door was still open if we needed to rest and get a drink. Carol asked if they had WiFi so that we could try to book a room and she said no, but the bar next to that did.
The bar next door also had cheap rooms, cheese burgers on the menu and WiFi. Guess where we are still...
As I tucked into my clean safe and tasty Cheese Burger, I raised my glass of well deserved beer (bollocks to the medication, I can take that tomorrow!) and toasted Mr Chui with a might "Fuck You Mr Chui!". Carol gave me that look that is half disapproving and half laughing, is it any wonder that I love that girl with all of my heart. We travelled for twelve hours, met a good man again and enjoyed a tropical storm. Not bad for a days work is it?
So that is us for the next few days, we are both a lot happier, it is always a shame when paradise gets that human touch to drop the clog in the loom.
As a footnote to this, it has just been on the Thai news that Phuket is seriously flooded, it seems that the Dive Centre were right and Chui was wrong. We cannot make much from the news due to the language difficulties, but it seems that flooding and bad weather is coming as far as Surat Thani. As we have travelled across the country, we have been a step ahead of the weather and although we are not fond of Mr Chui, we do hope that he and his friend made it back home safely.