We've parted with Koh Tao. It was tough to do, but we have stuff to get together here in Bangkok before we move on. Our 60-day visa's expire soon so we decided that rather than spending the $60 to extend it another 30 days, we could spend that money on a flight to Hong Kong. So on Wednesday we'll fly there. We'll spend two weeks reuniting with China and then on to Tokyo for a month. Then, because I'm tricky with pricing flights, we'll return to Hong Kong for 26 hours before flying to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Our last days on Koh Tao were just as great as the first few. We hired a longtail boat to take us to Nang Yuan for snorkeling in what has been named the Japanese Garden, said to be one of the best snorkeling spots around Koh Tao. This may be true, but sadly Bob and I were semi-unimpressed. Don't get me wrong, it was cool and I'm glad we went but we both agreed the places we've snorkeled in Kona beat out the places on Koh Tao. And this is why I think that is: uneducated tourists. We witnessed dozens of Thai tourists
standing on the coral. Yep, they wear shoes and stand up on the coral. Of course, coral, being a delicate, living creature, dies when someone stands on it. We saw remnants of what were once beautiful fan corals and spires, broken off and dead. The colors were muted and mundane compared to the corals in Hawaii. We did see some really cool anemones with clown fish darting in and out as well as some colorful tube worms. But the lack of respect some tourists showed ruined it a bit for me.
It was back on land that the animal kingdom really gave us a show. As we left our bungalow for dinner one evening, we spotted a big gecko on the roof above our porch. Usually we see geckos about the size of a finger darting around, but this one was about six inches long. Cool! Inspecting it closer, we realized there were two, the second being giant at around a foot long with a huge, boxy head and snake-looking eyes. I'm a nerd and love seeing stuff like this so I was super excited while also semi creeped out at how huge this creature was. Next morning, I
found the smaller of the two in our bathroom hiding behind the mirror. I thought it was awesome. After we came back in after a morning swim, I was disappointed to see the gecko had left. I was rinsing the super salty water off my face, opened my eyes and was staring directly into the eyes of the giant gecko on the wall a foot in front of me. Man alive, I moved fast out of there! After the initial shock, I was once again super excited to be hosting the the biggest gecko I've ever seen. He spent some time walking on the walls before settling behind the toilet for the day. I checked on him every chance I could. I would like a giant terrarium for Christmas, Mom and Dad with tons of geckos.
I did some research and found out it they were tokay geckos so you can Google that to find out about them. Apparently they're knowing as the pitbull's of the gecko community and have a mean bite and sometimes don't let go for over an hour. I'm grateful I didn't scream when I was face to face with one.
I was pretty
sad to leave Koh Tao. We had settled in nicely to beach life and we found a wonderful restaurant with the nicest Thai family running it. The roof of the restaurant had been built around a tree near the entrance. One table had the tree trunk next to it and randomly a black cat would climb down the tree/roof, or rather jump out of the tree onto the table. We watched a few people get rather startled while eating to have a cat jump on their table. On the same day we were hosting geckos in our bathroom, we noticed little black feet hanging down from the roof around the tree trunk. Apparently black cat had decided that was a good place to have her kittens. The kittens thought otherwise and the sky began raining kittens when they opted to come down from the roof. They all appeared to take the fall quite well but not before the animal kingdom gave us another show on Koh Tao.
In the end, Koh Tao stole my heart (and a toe nail when I accidentally kicked a tile stair. Yikes) and I would gladly go back any day. We took the same
catamaran company back off the island. I wanted to stay solely to not have to get on that boat again. But that day the ocean was glass and we barely rocked at all and no one threw up. Success. Then it was only an eight-hour bus ride and an hour-long cab ride with a driver who had no idea where he was going and in one day's sunlight hours we went from a serene beach to the chaos of Bangkok, which stands on the verge of civil war. I promise to get around to writing a blog about that later.
Onto Hong Kong on Wednesday!
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