So this post is parallel time wise to the New year one below. I met James and Paul on Saturday 29th December 2012, and it was evening time by the time I got to the Green Hotel, Koh Samui. It was really nice to return to Koh Samui, as thats where I did my TEFL training for 3 weeks so I knew Chaweng beach quite well. The green hotel was situated right on the main walkway which was good as when I arrived we were able to go straight out for dinner. We went to a local Thai place that I had eaten at many times before. Its plastic chairs and tables on the side street but the food is always good. The restaurant is called Big Mamas and the owners recognised me and asked how I was etc. We ordered a mixture of thai food so everyone could share and try it all. Chicken Paneng curry, Shrimp Pad Thai, Canna moo crop (fried pork) and Tom Yam soup (seafood.) I think Paul and James enjoyed it and were full afterwards.
We went for a walk along the beach, and it was wierd to see so many places open and full. When I had been to Samui previously it was low season, so hardly anywhere on the beach was open, but now they were full of tourists. When we returned to the hotel room it was my Christmas! Paul and James had brought with them presents from home. Thank You Mum and Dad for my kindle and other nice gifts, thanks Prawn for my Kitkats and diary and Auntie Jane for my watch and Cris for chocolate and Louise for the tea and makeup and Paul for the kindle case and bringing it all with you! I was spoiled 🙂
The next day we went to Ark bar for a big English breakfast (theres only so long you can survive on rice, I craved western food!) and then took a tuk tuk to Lamai beach, which I think is prettier. We rented sun loungers on the beach and relaxed all day, swimming when the waves weren’t too big and reading books, and ended up back in Chaweng for dinner at Ninjas, another simple thai place that also does western food.
The following day we booked a half day tour around Samui, to see some of the sights including, the big buddha, a temple, grandmother and grandfather rock and the waterfall. I’d already climbed the waterfall so while James did that, Paul and I posed with a tiger and went and visited the elephants that were giving tours. We didn’t actually ride an elephant then, was just saying hello to them. That evening was NYE, so after the tour we ended up eating again in Big Mamas and then heading to Ark Bar for celebrations and partying.
The whole of the tuesday was spent getting back to my town, Khaochaison. We were picked up at midday in Samui and made it to my house at 9pm.. following bus rides, boat rides, bus rides and more bus rides and then a ride in an old fire engine, as you do.
The rest of the week was spent with Paul and James at my school during the day, seeing me teach and meeting my kids! The students were so excited there were two male falangs, and many of the female teachers called them handsome. In the evening we went out with Madam and the teachers one night, and the South Africans another night, and during one day the guys visited Hat Yai, the city nearbyish, but got soaked seeing temples and going in the cable car.
On Friday we were able to leave school early and got on another minibus that took us to Krabi, form there another tuktuk to Ao Nang beach. In the evening we went back to an italian restaurant that i had been to before with Tara, and they remembered me. Even though it was high season they gave us the same offers on food and cocktails as before so we all had mojitos and pizza/lasagna. Saturday was Pauls birthday so we booked to go elephant trekking. The trek itself was okay, we went through a rubber plantation, and it was obviously the same track the elephants did every day as it was very muddy and there were big elephant feet sized holes along the way. Paul and I shared an elephant, and James had one to himself. Ours was called Nada, it was a boy who had half his trunk missing, and was 30 years old. Our mahout seemed happy enough with him keep stopping and eating food along the way, and James was naughty and went off the track several times, but his mahout didn’t seem to mind either. Next we saw a baby elephant show, with just one baby performing “tricks” I was worried they would be really cruel to the babies, but he seemed happy. The only trick i didn’t like was him doing a handstand, as theres no need for them to do that in the wild! The best part was the baby putting hats on the audience and playing a harmonica (ok they don’t do that in the wild, but they use their trunk to make noises.) Later on we were also able to go bathe the elephant. This time it was a female one called Ya who was 35. It was a really amazing experience because the other couple got scared so it was literally just Paul, james and I, playing with the elephant, splashing and scrubbing her. We were also able to ride her, but had to climb on her first in deep water, which was really difficult!
The rest of the day was spent right at the end of Ao Nang beach, near the mountain where all the monkeys hang out. Despite the “Do not feed Monkeys” sign, everyone fed the monkeys so they were playing with us quite a bit. In the evening we went for dinner to a Thai restaurant overlooking the beach called Thai Thai, and shared lots of food.
Sunday was a nice relaxing day at Raleigh beach, got a longtail boat over there for 200bht each and it’s still my favourite! Did nothing but read and swim and relax and make sandcastles (well james made a mermaid, me and paul made her family friendly by collecting shells to make a top for her!) Dinner was back in Ao Nang in the italian restaurant again and we all got tipsy drinking wine.
The following day we booked a tour called “7 island sunset tour” advertised for 1000bht, but paid 800. We were picked up from the hotel and met an australian couple and an indian couple who were both on their honeymoons. They were our friends for the day as we went to 7 different islands on the longtail boats. Some of the islands were more like rocks, but they had great coral underneath, so snorkelling was really good. There were also huge pink jellyfish. We asked the tour guide if they would sting and he said no, but they did. It made you itch and left marks on your body! It was worth being stung though as got to go around one island, through another and then swim under another into a cave. We saw lots of different types of fish including a clownfish (nemo!) For dinner we had a BBQ on a private island (Tub island) and watched the sunset. It was really cool! At nighttime we headed back to Ao Nang but stopped along the way for another snorkel in the dark, where there was bio luminescent stuff. For those people who are not geeks it means that when you move in the water the plankton (?) lights up! It looks like you’re swimming in lots of shooting stars, and looked amazing. James described it like being in Avatar when everything lights up, but water instead. Was a great end to our little holiday!
After getting used to sharing with smelly boys its now too quiet in my hut, missing them already!
A memory form the trip; singing this verse in the morning so that James would pick it up and hum it all day long 😛
“Everywhere I go, Every smile I see, I know you are there, SMILING back at me…”