Okay, we caved. Ideally traveler-folk would have moved on by this point (and if by myself I probably would be on the West Coast already) but life is different if you only have two weeks like my cousin does. And once we sat down and considered things traveling that much doesn’t make sense and we like Ko Tao, so why not be beach bums a bit longer?
I must say though, we don’t hang out with the Lotus Eaters much- just hellos, inquiries about our respective days, and polite rejection of invitations to “Expand Your Mind” parties. (Beyond the obvious reasons, I just finished reading a book about a woman who got caught with drugs in Thailand. In short, you never, ever, ever want to go to Thai prison.)
Instead, we just joined a motorcycle gang-
Ok, in short you only use motorcycles to get around Ko Tao with the possible exception of some trucks for hauling larger numbers of people. Judit and I weren’t totally keen on driving ourselves but met some other travelers more adept at this skill, so we hopped onto the cycles yesterday to visit different beaches.
I don’t have a group shot of the motorcycle gang yet, but we were a mix of Argentinians, Finns, a Canadian, and obviously a Hungarian and an American. Because if you don’t represent three continents in any activity around here you’re doing it wrong.
In hindsight, going with people who knew how to cycle was a very good thing- beyond the main road in Ko Tao the interior is all dirt roads, often so bad you need to get off the steeper hills if you’re the second passenger. So a good amount of hiking was involved! This was actually one of the better hills honestly, most didn’t have the cement pathway…
A house up in the secluded jungle. Might have been a rough ride but I’m so glad we went into the interior instead of forever hanging out on the edge of the island on the beach!
And here is the fruits of our labor- it took an hour to go maybe 10km and 419 steps to go down the steep mountain to the water (yes, I counted, I had nothing better to do going back up) and we got to Mango Bay- one of the loveliest, most secluded beaches on the island. Incidentally, also where Judit and I did our first confined water dive, I must say it’s a bit easier to reach by boat… The fish here are incredible though, just watching the top of the water yields schools of them from sardine-sized damselfish to baby barrracuda.
Mango Bay also has nothing but an isolated resort with bungalows, which can’t be cheap but is a place I fantasize about staying at if I ever make it back here. Of course, by then I’m sure Mango Bay will be worse than Chaweng beach on Ko Samui, so I’m glad I got to see it now when it was ours alone!
Sairee Beach at sunset. Because no day exploring beaches is complete without a great sunset.
And while not a member of the motorcycle gang because he was busy with his diving course but certainly a great guy, meet Adrian from Switzerland-
We met Adrian at the Buddha View bar a few nights ago, where he was staring longingly at my dinner leftovers because as a guy he is always hungry.* The three of us have subsequently spent every night hanging out together talking about various things, though I give him a hard time occasionally-
“Adrian, is it true that the Swiss have no sense of humor?”
“No.” (Delivered in a flat voice without further elaboration.)
Adrian also is one of those people who seems to know how to use my camera better than me- a depressing thing considering I’ve owned it for two years- so he got me this great shot of the fire dancers on the beach last night:
Not to run too all over the page, but the few firedancers I’ve talked to have to be some of the most interesting. It turns out Thailand is similar to the United States in that they have a large illegal immigrant population doing jobs the Thai don’t want, but here instead of Hispanics the immigrants are from Burma. The firedancers are from there- they drive the boats by day, practicing while the divers are underwater, and by night do firedancing in hopes to get a few extra baht through tips.
And that is how things stand. Tomorrow we are ending the Ko Tao beach bum life and heading up to Bangkok, as Judit has a plane to catch in a few days and we haven’t been there yet. Cheers!
*Because people are going to wonder after the drug reference, that’s only hookah you see in the pipe. I’m not a fan beyond a few puffs as I don’t smoke, but I am so in the minority on this around here you wouldn’t believe it if you are from the United States.