Our first week in Ko Samui was literally a wash out! A fierce storm struck the island, with gale force winds, electrical storms and torrential rains which brought a deluge of water to this tropical island and left many areas flooded. 48 hours without electricity, phone lines and internet down, shops running short on stock, the car running low on petrol, the list of problems we faced went on and on! Thankfully, us and our friends the Blooms, managed to survive and make it through the storm. With resourcefulness, cooking by torchlight, the help of a local boatman and the iron will and abilities of Robert 'Captain Fantastic' Bloom (and his assistant Marvellous Stu) we were able to keep our heads above water and lived to see another day!
The Blooms had kindly said we could spend two weeks in their beautiful villa in the small town of Cheong Mong in northern Ko Samui as our wedding present. We arranged our time so that we overlapped with their stay at the villa by a few days and it was great to see our favourite pair of twins, Hollie and Charlotte for the first time in 6 months as well as
Robert and Joy (their parents) and Cassie (Char's gorgeous 18 month old daughter.)
We arrived at Ko Samui airport on the evening of 31st October after a 50 minute flight from Pattaya on a tiny little propellor plane with us and three other passengers on board! It was very strange to be on such a small plane after all the huge jet engine planes we have been on travelling round the rest of the world, but it goy us to our destination in one piece so we can't complain. We were met by the twins and Robert and were soon at their villa being given the grand tour and we were suitably impressed by our new surroundings. We were soon tucking into a delicious home cooked meal of spaghetti bolognaise and then a couple of drinks in town with the twins before bed.
Monday passed fairly uneventfully with plenty of chatting, reading and relaxing by the pool as the Bloom's enjoyed what was the last full day of their holiday. In the early evening, Robert took us on a guided tour of the local area to familiarise ourselves with the small towns of Cheong Mong, Chaweng and
Bo Phut. All looked interesting and gave Rach and I plenty of appetite to exlplore them. We spent the evening at the Bloom's favourite little beachside restaurant and thoroughly enjoyed the mountains of Tempura and curry that were provided for us. When we were all tucked up safely in bed, the fun started! (No I don't mean that kind of fun you pervs!) The wind increased, the torrential rain began and an impressive electrical storm flashed around the skies above. In the early hours of the morning, the electrcity cut out,
We woke up on Tuesday morning to more of the same, the rain hadn't abated and the, if anything was getting stronger. So strong in fact that Robert's pride and joy, his non fruit bearing mango tree was blown over! The Blooms were supposed to be departing Ko Samui for Manchester (via Bangkok and Abu Dhabi) later that day , but for various reasons that was looking less and less likely! One, no phones, mobiles or Skype was working to ring the airline and get the lie of the land. Two, due to the weather, we were unsure whether any flights would be leaving the island (great weather
for ducks, as the saying goes, but no so great for planes!) and three, the roads on the island were flooding fast and there was some doubt as to whether they would reach the airport. So in the midst of this crisis, up stepped Captain Fantastic! Robert and Hollie took the car down into town to try and reach the airport and speak to them about the situation. They were also going to fill up with fuel and pick up something for lunch. We thought it would take maybe an hour or two at most.
Five hours later (after the time the flight was supposed to leave), with the electricity still off, phones still not working and the storm still raging, Robert returned looking very wet and bedraggled and minus his daughter Hollie!! He proceeded to tell us all about his harrowing adventure and explained that they had needed to turn back before the airport due to flooded roads but on their way back to the villa, the main road in Cheong Mong had flooded aswell. This meant that they had to seek refuge in a local hotel (with bar and restaurant and generator!) where they had watched tv
and eaten lunch, whilst waiting for things to subside. When Robert realised that the rain wasn't going to stop and that they weren't going to get the car through the water, he set out on a brave and intrepid mission. The mission involved wading through waist high water, rowing a small boat, down the main street until he reached the slightly less flooded end of the road, hitch-hiking, fighting off rabid dogs, climbing a mountain, and clambering through a tropical rainforest. OK so I made the last three up, but the rest is true, Captain Fantastic was our hero!
Later in the evening, with the electricty still off (which also meant no water by the way!), I took on the cooking duties and rustled up a culinary delight of rice with everything from the fridge (keep an eye out for my new cook book 'Cooking By Torchlight') Robert (Captain Fantastic) lived up to his name and rescued Hollie and her back at the villa in time for dinner! Our evening consisted of sitting round talking and attempting to read by candlelight and torchlight and an early night. I was vexed because due to the lack of electricity I wasn't
going to be able to watch Spurs v Inter Milan at 2.45am that morning. At around 1am the electrcity came back on and Rach and I took advantage of this to have a shower and charge the Nintendo DS and our phones. The gods were smiling on me as electricity meant I could watch (albeit on the internet as the cable box had blown on the tv) the mighty Spurs demolish the European Champions. I went to bed afterwards nursing a slight man crush on Rafael van der Vaart and Gareth Bale!
By Wednesday morning, the electricity was off again and a rather boring day of reading and reading and reading followed! Luckily, by the time nightfall came, the electricity was back on properly and life could begin to get back to normal. We managed to make our way through floods into town to stock up on vital supplies, such as water, Pringles, Oreo Cookies and Mars Bars. Thank goodness for that!
On Thursday, the weather had improved slightly and the rain had stopped but there was still widespread flooding. The Blooms managed to get to the airport and get their flight home so we said our goodbyes
and waved them off. After a short trip to Tesco where we stocked up for the coming days we were back at the villa and chilling out after a pretty stressful few days.
In the next blog, I'll put up news of the rest of our time in Ko Samui including temple visits, monkey shows, elephant treks and even some much needed sunshine!!
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