Ahh.. Now it feels like a holiday
03.05.2010 - 03.05.2010
3rd of May.
Mr King, our taxi driver friend with Pooh bear decor cab (for his son) took us to the airport after our short Phuket stopover. On the way he told us that the oil palm plantations we passed were used for biodiesel for the long boats.
Roadside seller sold decorative flowers on string, these religious danglies are the Thai equivalent of fluffy dice to hang from your mirror. Must be lucky because we survived.
We flew to Koh Samui, a huge holiday Island before bussing to the ferry terminal.
We found our friends Tanya and Charlie who are starting the holiday with us, 3 days diving in Koh Tao. Great to see them again as they have moved to Melbourne. (Not for the diving I hear)
Koh Tao is by no means the best diving in the world, but it's the only place open for diving this time of year in Thailand. Tanya and Charlie know the people who run the dive company we're diving with (and staying in the attached resort). It's a young party island for backpackers. Koh Tao qualifies more divers every year than anywhere else in the world. Almost all the divers here are beginners so we're to be the know it all old farts.
Ferry was just like the rotto cat only more packed and a looong two hours.
The owner of the dive co was supposed to meet us at the jetty to give us a ride. It was total chaos. Dozens of people holding signs, none with our name on. Hundreds of people with utes and bikes, fighting over tourists for lifts, hotel bookings, dive company bookings. There are about 30 dive companies (I think?).
Our lift was absent so we negotiated a price and piled in the back of a ute with two bench seats. With 6 of us and packs it was a hairy ride. Every time he swerved the packs in the centre would roll onto us and nearly send us off. I kept thinking about my little dog Tyche and her broken ligaments (first time) and broken leg (2nd time) when she tumbled off the ute.
On arrivign we found the owner had made a surprise dash to the uk (something about volcano buggering up flights). The rooms were double the price we thought ("from" price), the diving was more too. They had booked one double one twin in the most expensive room. Mark and I down graded and it turns out our room is cheaper and better. Charlie and Tanya lose power to the A/C and the fridge every time they take out the key card. Not good for keeping the Tiger beer cold.
Much of the rest of the day was taken up with yummy fruit smoothies, Thai beer, Cocktails (Pina colada is soo much better in a real coconut!).
The town is packed with dive resorts and backpackers. The road in front of our resort feels like a footpath so you easily forget that it's a motorbike highway. The locals are savy to meandering tourists but backpackers (particularly drunk ones at night) are not so good on the bikes. With my attention span I have a 97% chance of getting cleaned up while on the island. I have insurance.
Now a word about toilets. It's a topic you can't get away from in Asia. So far I have not had to squat. I don't mind a squat, it means you don't have to touch anything, but my nanna knees are just not up to it the way they were 10 years ago. Its a no-no to flush the paper, bins are provided. A squirty hose is provided for washing in fancy tourist towns. Otherwise a dipper sits under a tap so you can wash. Really a very clean way to go. The floors are always wet but in this climate so are we. Some places provide courtesy thongs for the loo - it's the little things that make a difference.
I never tried the squirty hose on previous trips so I thought it was about time. First attempt in Phuket not so good. The water pressure was so high it sprayed all over and splashed up the water from below. Not nice. I'm not one to give up so quick. Second attempt, better. This is a custom that works well in a hot climate but I can't see squirting your bot bot with cold tap water on a frosty morning catching on in Donnybrook.
This little practice run may prove wise sooner than Í'd hoped...