Published: November 12th 2011November 9th 2011
Associations with Ko Samui: stray dogs, stray bulls, good food, Egyptians, Swedes, genital shaped rocks, angry men on mopeds, sand that burns your feet, the most comfortable hostel I've ever stayed in, partying, massaaaaaage, Ladin.
The journey from Railay to Ko Samui was shite. The bus centre we'd booked the transfer at promised us a six hour journey consisting of a speed boat an a/c mini bus and a ferry to Ko Samui. What we found were four different cramped mini/buses with very little a/c and long waits on the side of motorways (one of the stops even had an motionless old man sleeping in a double bed next to the booking office - mental.) The Thai transport system is slow and disorganised and it needs a massive revamp.
I'm getting better at recognising lady boys, but the word "massage" (pronounced "massaaaaage") is now getting a bit tiresome. I no longer think of it as a word, but a noise, a horrible, horrible noise.
We arrived in Ko Samui having booked another bungalow in the island's party district, "Chaweng". However, we'd all discussed that we fancied getting a hostel. After chatting to a Canadian in the minibus (incase
I haven't mentioned, they're everywhere) who said she was staying in a hostel in a different beach. As the driver stopped outside to drop her and many other backpackers off. I asked John and Kimpton if we should see if they have room, John said "fuck it, let's just stay there." An impulsive decision, but probably the best one we've made so far. We met loads of people.
This is one of my favourite environments. The showers were great, air con, lots of personal space and people from all over the world were open and easy to talk to.
The first night was pretty chilled out, we chatted and got to know everyone. I came across the first culture I'd known that don't drink alcohol. Egyptians. They told us it caused their brains to not think in a clear coherent manner. It meant that they tasted a greater variety of food at dinner, instead of splashing all their cash on the feeling of getting drunk like the rest of us do. However, when we went out with them, he got so fucked off Red Bull that he couldn't sleep until five in the morning - I wasn't so sure that was part of their tradition.
On the second day we washed our highly smelly clothes in the hostels crap washing machine. I went for a run and shat myself a little bit. I hadn't organised a rabies injection before I came and when went down a side street in which every house had two or three dogs outside them barking. And then on my way back , I did a double take a shat myself a little bit more as I saw a stray bull on the side of the road without an owner about. I just carried on running not wanting to disturb it, but perplexed as to why there was fucking bull on the side of the road.
That night we went out in "Chaweng", where we had originally intended to stay. The taxi ride there in the back of truck with all the twelve or so other backpackers was fun. However, the whole clubbing area was exactly like a clubbing strip you'd find in Fuengirola or Malia. Promotions for free pool and cheap drink everywhere.
We bumped into the Canadians (stubs her toe girl and friend). We had some banter about the snickers. They said they'd had a massive arguement with reception over it. Great stuff. However, I was shocked to hear that stubs her toe girl's friend thought that I was the one who had eaten the snickers and not John. I was disgusted.
We left one of the promotional bars intrigued by the strip club across the street. I'd never been in one before and it was free so why the fuck not? You could pay 20 Baht to "give" them a ping pong ball. Eric, the Swedish guy, was the first to try. The dancer tried to be sexy by putting it inside her knickers then taking it out again. Not great value for 40pence, he could have bought a mars bar for that.
I was especially annoyed when one of the strippers who had been making eyes at me took my beer bottle and rubbed it on her minge. I wasn't impressed and I don't think the stipper realised that I had to pay an extortionate price for my beer and since she rubbed her vagina on it, it was no longer drinkable. I looked at her and assessed the situation. She seemed in the mood to take me out the back but not to buy me another drink. We left and made our way to one of Chaweng's clubs.
The night was a good laugh with some outrageous dancing. John pulled an Irish bird who we though he might go home with. Eventually, he came back with us. I'm not sure why, he won't tell me the full story. We got some noodle soup off a local street vendor. Kimpton went round to take a picture as though he was cooking the noodles and knocked over all her beanspourts.
On arriving back at the hostel in our group twelve and indulged in the free internet by watching youtube videos. We even introduced the Egyptians into some culture of our own, showing them two girls one cup and one man one jar. I found it interesting to spend time with people that don't drink, I don't think they found this experience equally fascinating. Meanwhile, a full of himself English solo traveler from Twickenham spent some of his parents' fortune on a luxury hotel across the road so he could shag a girl he'd met when we were waiting for a taxi. He probably could have shagged the stripper who rubbed my beer bottle on her vagina for less money; at least that would have stopped her staring at me.
Day three. The beaches in Ko Samui are the worst we have come across this trip. They are less picturesque than Railay and Ko Phi Phi and the sand was less soft and scorched your feet. We tried to play volley ball, but the sand was unbearable. Interestingly the Egyptian was the one who found it toughest to handle. Surprising given that their country is defined by sand.
After going for lunch with two Canadians, a jordi and the arrogant posho from Twickenham. I went back to the beach but couldn't find anyone, so I decided to go for wander. I saw a Coconut carved into a monkey and thought to myself that it was the kind of tat my dad might just appreciate. However, the seller wouldn't budge from his ridiculously high price and I didn't feel like I was getting a good deal for the tat. I moved on hoping that he learned his lesson and priced his products more reasonable in the future. It's a fucking coconut - they grow on the island.
I walked on down the side of a main road, bought a mango from a street vendor for a quid (Thailand isn't as cheap as I'd expected.) I walked further on and stumbled across Grandmother and Grandfather rock. Two rocks, one shaped like a vagina and one shaped like a penis. The penis was instantly recognisable but there were lots of rocks that looked like a minge. Nevertheless it seemed to make everyone around the rocks good humoured. It would also seem that everyone loves a penis as people were hugging and getting their friends to take photos.
I walked back to the hostel, watched a few more animal youtube videos and went out to dinner with everyone from the hostel.
Tonight I shat myself more than I ever have done in my life. We were out in the town square and I was in my element. Lots of market stalls with a variety of wholesome food cooked in front of you at honest prices. You ate your dinner at canteen style tables where other backpackers flowed in, open and ready to share the stories of traveling. Bliss. After dinner, John, Kimpton and the rest of the hostelers went back home leaving me and Eric (the swedish guy) the only ones left to search for a party.
After walking along the beach for about thirty minutes and finding nothing more than an anorexic Swede and some South Africans smoking weed, we decided to head back along the road I'd walked down earlier.
A guy passed me on a scooter wearing a taxi vest and shouted "taxi". I laughed with Eric at the notion of a taxi being on a moped asI'd never come across this before. We walked back passed him and then I began to shit myself.
The guy got off his scooter with a clear intention of punching me in the face. My mind immediately went to worse case scenario. The English guys we'd chatted to in Ko Phi Phi had told us that their friend had been stabbed in a bar there. What if that was about to happen to me? Or what if he had a gun? It definitely seemed feasible. It scared me more that he hadn't reacted in the moment to what I had said and waited until I walked passed him. Eric thought that he was on drugs, he definitely seemed like a mental case to me.
He swung for me and I ducked. Having never been in a fight in my life it didn't seem like a good time to start my first in a strange street in Thailand. I legged it.
Now it became ridiculous. I was running away from an ang man on a moped, severely handicapped through wearing flip flops and with nothing but a shaggy haired Swede for company. We didn't stand a chance. He caught up with us again and went straight for me. I had no idea what to do, I just shouted "stop" "stop". And then for some reason he decided to go for Eric who had escaped into a nearby bar (Eric would later tell me that he threw a bottle at him that just missed his head.)
The nutter caught up with me again. This time I was back at the markets where we'd eaten dinner earlier and I hid behind a fish stand of all places (it seemed better than hiding behind the burger counter in McDonalds.) I tried to communicate to some of the more friendly looking Thai people that this guy was taking an issue with me. I ran through the bars that dotted the square and looked back. The message must have been communicated as he didn't seem to be coming after me. I sprinted back to the hostel (although in flip flops I felt like I was running on sand) and in a knackered state I found everyone watching a film. They went out to find Eric getting a lift home from a Finish guy on a moped.
I had a shower, a cup of tea, finished off a packet of crisps that were lying around and went to bed knowing that I would never laugh at the notion of moped taxi again, though it still now seems ridiculous to me. Exhilarating in hindsight, but at the time fucking scary.
Next up, Ko Phangan and the full moon party. Pool parties, UV raves and some more beautiful beaches. Wish us luck.