right outside Lia's house
Well in between the many delights Bangkok had to offer, things started going down for me once I departed Bangkok, and my general health began to plummet. I should start by saying that Travelers diarrhea is not a joke. For the duration of my journey I was plagued with constant stomach cramps and paranoia regarding the locations of restrooms. Though Thai food is very delicious, and generally healthy the consumption of so much uncooked seafood and vegetables wrecked havoc on my digestive tract. oh man.
We took a bus to Sri Racha, where my friend Lia lives as an English teacher. She was just finishing up her contract and I happened to come in the nick of time to visit her. Sri Racha is most notably famous for its delicious chilly sauce that bears a rooster on the bottle and is guaranteed to make everything taste better. Ironically, I did not seek out any of sauce while there, which is unusual given my years of dedicated fanfare to Sri Racha sauce.
Sri Racha is a medium sized quiet city on the east side of Thailand, it appears quite comfortable and friendly to reside. Its residents are also wealthier than the average
Thai due to various textile industries stationed there and there are a lot of other Asian foreigners that have made Sri Racha their home, and influences of Japanese and Korean inhabitants is noticeable throughout the city. My friend Lia seemed very happy there and had only wonderful things to say about the city and the job. However, poor Lia shares my luck with dogs and she has been harassed many times by the infamous mangy Thai dog mafia, which was her only complaint about Sri Racha, but Thailand in general. We stayed there for a day and a half sampling the local delicacies and catching up on life. My travelers diarrhea had hit an all time high of triflin' in Sri Racha and I felt terrible about the fact that I hadn't seen my friend in months and ended up abusing her toilet.
Our plan was to visit Ko Samet, which is one of the many islands Thailand boasts. From Sri Racha we took an hour long bus to Rayong where we arrived way too late to take the cheap tuk tuk to Ban Phe, the pier town in which we would take the ferry to Ko Samet. But
before my palate was burned off.
since we were obviously tourists and rolling our luggage around I couldn't decide if we had in fact missed the cheap tuk tuk or all the tuk tuk drivers were in cahoots to over charge us. In any regards, we ended up paying 10 times more to get to Ban Phe than we expected.
Sometime between Sri Racha and Ban Phe I got the infamous foot swelling condition again. It hasn't happened since I came to China last year but sure enough it had come back with a vengeance. Shelly also had a pretty bad case, and in time hers began to progress into elephantiasis, for which she had to seek medical attention. I'm not sure why foot swelling happens but my theory is that it may have something to do with the heat and sweating out too much water. But then I'm additionally perplexed because I don't see how dehydration can cause fluid retention. Please help me on this one?
Ban Phe is a cute laid back pier town. Its pretty clear that the only economy that exists there is tourism as evidenced by all the Euros resting there before and after their trip to Ko Samet. Also
Why my foot swole like that?
prostitution is pretty obvious there. There were loads of lady-boys hanging around every corner and many of them were scarily convincing as females. Any foreigner that walks by is subject to harassment by these wild lady-boys who throw out crazy compliments to try to get you to enter their bar. While the lady-boys were very open about suggesting themselves as commodity the real women were a bit tricky to decipher. Is she a prostitute or just a girl hanging out? Thai prostitutes don't wear particularly whorish clothing so one could never really know. We found this out the hard way while searching for a place to have a little fun the night before he headed out to Ko Samet. We first went to a karaoke club and club/bars in Thailand are usually hole in the walls and often times outside Bangkok, people offer their homes as makeshift restaurants/bars. Karaoke was a blast as usual, its funny to note, that a year ago I would have never even considered doing Karaoke but after almost a year in the far East and I'll grab that microphone quicker than you can spot a million dollars on the floor.
But in any regards, we
at this time it was funny..but it got worse.
sang a little bit and met some nice Thai people and Shelly met an old Thai man that wanted to wife her and it was all good fun. Instead of calling it a night, my stupid idea was to hit another bar and grab a quick drink and something to eat. We strolled past these establishments in the same alley and picked a place that had cool red christmas lights all over it and plus the lady was seated outside and she appeared very nice and didn't have anyone in her place (which by the way was her house). So, the minute we sit down and order some snacks this crying baby explodes out of the room. 'Oh well' I thought, its her house and she has kids, so what.right? Well things started getting weird when the lady sat down at our table and started pouring herself a drink out of Shelly's beer. Still I thought nothing. Then this fat short man came prancing in and he looks at Shelly and I kinda strangely but then shrugs and puts on some music. He starts asking us how much money we could give and I was like..for what? unbeknown to me,
On the way to Ko Samet
this poor lady was a prostitute who was looking at the ground as the negotiations for her soul began to come forth. Then the final straw was this little 7 year old girl in her school uniform also barges out into the room and starts talking to Shelly about her school work. I had to get out of there! I had this really sick feeling that the little girl was also for sale. So i threw some money on the table and got out of dodge. How sick can people get?
But in any regards, We traveled to the island of Ko Samet the next morning and spent three days on the most beautiful white sand beaches. Ko Samet is ridiculously touristy and a place with that much beauty has clamoring investors all over it. For three days I did nothing but get burned in the sun, swim in the Gulf (warm water also) and get massages and manicures and pedicures. I also met some pretty interesting people from all over the world and had the best time relaxing in the day and dancing the night away. I met a girl traveling solo from Austria who was taking some
time off from being a nurse. Also met another girl from Poland who was also traveling solo and had lots of interesting travel stories, one of which inspired our last minute trip to Cambodia. Then I also met a Dutchman who co-owned a bar and resided on the island illegally. He was a very interesting character and took on my dare for him to eat his pet seccada (those ugly flying bugs that make a lot of noise and are pretty large and grotesque) of which he claimed tasted delicious. I also met my potential husband, who was by far one of the most beautiful men I'd seen in my life, or at least within the last year. He was a Cambodian fire dancer on the beach and was the first of many introductions to gorgeous Cambodian men.
I was having such a good time at Ko Samet I didn't want to leave. Shelly and I had an open agenda on the trip, and on our last day we decided to take the trip across the border to Cambodia for a few days. Despite my pleas to stay at Ko Samet one more day, Shelly's elephantiasis got out of control
and we had to take the ferry back to Ban Phe to get her leg looked at. It turned out not to be such a big deal and she was medicated and sent on her way.
The next day, we left for Cambodia, where the journey continued.............
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