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Published: February 12th 2011
A Few Minutes Before The Commotion Kicked Off.
We'd just sat down with drinks at the table when there was a sharp crack - crack
sound nearby. The young man on the scooter now lay motionless slumped on the ground in a distorted heap. Still straddling his fallen bike but now with blood pumping from a hole in his left cheek and another in the back of his head. Eyes closed and a blank expression on his face, nothing could be done to help him. He was very dead. With the Claret Of Life running into the gutter being slowly diluted by the constant heavy rainfall, his assailants melded into the growing crowd of stunned onlookers. All this going on at eight thirty on a Thursday evening in an otherwise peaceful out of the way fisherman's village.
Before continuing, I need to firstly rewind the story to the previous morning in order to paint a fuller picture of the build up to this tragic mind levelling event .
Our ferry from Ko Tao to Samui at 10 am had been booked and paid for the day before, along with a free taxi pick up
Mae Haad Jetty. Ko Tao
Not Collasped Recently But Its Only A Matter Of Time . . . .
from Sairee Hut at 9.30. We had somehow managed to get up, packed and checked out with half an hour to spare for a change. Luckily our pick up point was smack bang opposite Simple Life, the nasty bunch that had shortchanged us the night before. This left enough spare time to wander amongst the few patrons eating there, loudly advising them to take photos of any banknotes handed over in order to avoid any confusion regarding change, unscrew a few tops from salt & pepper shakers - plus a little spare time to discourage any fresh punters from spending any time or money in a place that degrades the reputation of such an otherwise wonderful island. Got kicked out after a while but with Point Made, and Job Done - as it cost them plenty, we were loaded into the back of a pick-up. One that could have possibly fitted eight passengers on a good day but including us the total numbered twelve. Along with all the luggage of the associated passengers stuffed on the roof, we were seriously overloaded but that seems much the norm over here. Its amazing how Thai taxi drivers have evolved into beings that
The Computer At Coffee Island Obviously Has Some Security Issues That Need To Be Addressed.
If You Have A Goldfish Credit Card, These Buggers Will Fleece It.
could transport a house on a moped given a long enough piece of string. The European Health & Safety brigade would have a field day over here but out in the Real World it's common practise & it works so why not?.
Of course, the ten o'clock boat didn't leave until eleven but that gave enough time for a coffee & nibbles before boarding along the rather wibbly looking planked walkway leading out to the shabby looking boat at the far end of the jetty. Half way across the water, the weather broke again leading us away from the few days of sunshine we had recently enjoyed and back into the regular grey skied storm/drizzle/storm scenario which most of SW Thailand has to endure at this time of the year. Properly pissing down by the time we disembarked at Nathon so we legged it to our favourite house of respite on Samui - Coffee Island, a cafe which sits at the head of the pier and is one of the best places on the planet to sit for a while to sneak in a session of people watching
whatever the weather. Always a great mix of
The Emergency Services Eventually Turned Up
Over An Hour After The Event, Some Sense Of Normality Was Restored.
streetlife scenarios going on as this is such a busy place.
Spent an hour or so adapting to the feel of yet another new scene over a late lunch. Samui being the largest and most developed island in these parts, it has a definite air of the modern world compared to the others. With a short stint of observation you can be surprisingly amazed at the unfamiliar ways that regular daily tasks get sorted. Getting the chance to watch the street vendors pulling in the punters & laughing at the nutters talking to themselves or shouting at no-one in particular generally whilst being berated by angry stray dogs is a hoot. I don't mean to be cruel or unkind but I am only seven after all & that's what us Munkeys do. Everywhere you look there is some kind of unorthodox event occurring.
Grabbed a proper car taxi to take us the few miles along the coast to Bophut, our bolthole to stay at until the inevitable flight back to Kuala Lumpur on Friday. Once again, the taxi meter was out of order but the going rate of 400bt was agreed
Stick It On Your List Of Essentials.
Its A First Class Hideyhole
& we made our way through the now seriously flooded road through Mae Nam to The Waterfront - possibly the most prestigious of the boutique hotels around here. Bophut rests at a convenient but tucked away corner at the north end of the island. Close enough to the ferry services, a short drive from the airport and most importantly, a fair way away from the pandemonious offerings at the more popular resort towns of Chaweng or Lamai. Bophut is a remnant of Old Skool Samui. Basically just two main streets meeting at a T junction. One short lane heading toward the sea from the island ring road meeting another running along the coastline, sporting a variety of classy restaurants & charming arty style shops; it has a warm and friendly feel. If you require a comfy stop-over or even a longer stay, this is the place to be for the more mature traveller. We've rested up here a couple of times before, some of my more esteemed regular readers will be aware of our scrummy experiences at this place from previous blogs. Spent the evening checking out some of the entertainment on the main street including a fantastic display given
Bophut Pancake Juggler
Thailands Got Talent Needs To Sign This Guy Up.
The Tom Criuse Cocktail Star Of Samui.
by a smiley faced lad with a mobile pancake kitchen stuck on the side of a small motorbike. Think swish cocktail barman mixed with the dexterity of a croupier, he could knock up a tasty snack from scratch in less than a minute without even looking at what he was doing.
A car was booked for the day stipulating one essential criteria - It needed to be a four wheel drive as our plan was to take a drive-by visit to Jungle Club, way up in the hills above Chaweng. Hitting the highway after breakfast with the rain still making its presence felt, carefully navigating the lakes now covering a majority of the main road. The little Suzuki jeep unfortunately had some sort of transmission problem and refused to behave in 4WD mode, steering erratically & jumping out of gear. We abandoned the hill climb & went to the giant Tescos instead to stock up on essentials. The day turning into a double washout from this point as the old fella started getting dizzy spells and feeling sick, we headed back to base so he could have a lie
Ade Adepitan & A Couple Of Fans.
If You Don't Know This Guy, Google Him. An Excellent Example Of A Truely Inspirational Gent
down for a couple of hours while the rest of us mooched around the local Fishermans Village.
In the evening with the wibbly one feeling a little more stable we ventured back out to the village. This being our last night in Thailand for this tour, we wanted to try and go out with a bang. The small human spotted a celebrity near the Starfish Bar who she'd recognised from Desperados, a kids drama programme on the telly about a wheelchair basketball team. We stopped and chatted for a while. Ade Adepitan has been on wheels since contracting polio as a child but has gone on to take life by the horns and carved an adventurous existence that most could only dream of, including an overland crossing of Nicaragua. This was filmed by the BBC as part of a series called Beyond Boundaries involving crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean including an arduous ascent of a live volcano. You couldn't meet a nicer fella. Inspirational!.
We wandered a little further up the road to the News Bar where our pancake man had set up shop outside, passing a couple of
The Following Morning
Just Another Day. No Signs Of The Previous Nights Drama.
local men having some kind of heated debate with a chap on a scooter. Dad ordered some drinks, Mum went to the loo. We'd just sat down with drinks at the table when there was a sharp crack - crack sound nearby.
. . . . . . . . Thus bringing us back to the top of this page.
Going out with a bang but not as we had intended.
The first few minutes were surreal to say the least. Disbelief initially being the strongest of emotions. Events such as this only ever happen on the telly or at the cinema but this wasn't a film set. Curiosity set in next, people milling about asking each other who was involved & why it had happened. No-one had any answers. Local traders shaking their heads as this was somewhat damaging to business. With no sign of any figures of authority taking charge, the mans body lay where he had fallen for over an hour. The Police closed off the road at either end fairly swiftly, meaning it wasn't possible to leave but they certainly took their time to actually arrive at the scene.
A Rare Appearance
The Keepers Tend To Try To Stay Annonymous. I Caught Them Here In An Off Moment.
In the meantime we had a child to consider, didn't really want to subject a 12 year old to have to witness the results & as there was no other way back to our hotel, we were stuck there for a while. Made our way as far up the road as we could until the cops had done whatever they needed to do, bag up the body and get on with hosing down the considerable amount of blood from the road. Taking refuge at an Italian & having a pizza eventually making our way past as the hoses were being put away. Apart from a small taped off area there were no clues as to what had just happened.
Friday morning and the events of last night are the talk of the town. Plenty of speculation; family feud, turf war, drug related, but no actual news. We were told by our hosts that in the seven years they'd been there this hadn't happened before. Hopefully just a very unfortunate one-off. Shit Happens. And when it does it can happen anywhere.
So with time marching on, bags were packed and with Malaysia being the next stop we made our way to the airport reflecting back on the drama of it all. Our 3.30 flight was due to get us to KL at 6.30, plenty of time for the eleven p.m. flight back to Blighty. There was already a 3 hour delay on that one but that's a another story. . . . .
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