you wan maaaasssaage??

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July 13th 2010
Published: July 13th 2010
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Maya Bay Maya Bay Maya Bay

(The Beach)
After “sleeping” in the Christchurch airport, a quick jump to Sydney, and a grueling 9 hour flight amongst loud, obnoxious teenagers, I landed it to Phuket, Thailand. The doors of the plane opened and bam! I was hit smack in the face with the heat. I thought I was in heaven, until I breathed. I think the best, and most polite, way to describe the smell is a “slight stench”. It was extremely humid, a bit smelly, completely foreign, and a little overwhelming, but I loved it all immediately.

Customs was a joke, but it’s still a little nerve racking every time. The only thing I had “planned” was an airport transfer and my accommodation for the first night. I was prepared to walk out of baggage claim and find some little Thai person, with a big smile on their face, holding a whiteboard with my name, most likely misspelled, on it. However, I found myself in a hectic sea of “missy, missy- where you go” “taxiii fo youuu” “taxi” “TAXI!” “cheap fo youu, specia priiii” “taxi” “taxi - missy!” “I take you to niii pace” “my friend” “my friend” “stay at me hoteeel” Honestly, all I could do was laugh. It was one of those moments in which I was so awkward that laughing was the only thing that came natural to me. I still don’t know how I fought my way out of that sea of long, drawn out, high pitched vowel sounds, but I did. I was laughing so hard, it made them laugh back at me. It was hysterical. I knew I was going to get hounded for bargains and whatnot, but I had no idea it was going to start before I even set foot out of the airport.

Somewhere out there, there was, exactly as I envisioned, a little Thai girl standing, smiling, and holding my misspelled name on a whiteboard. I can’t even imagine the relief that must have come off me when I spotted her. It was dark and rainy, but I was so happy to be in the heat, I didn’t even care. I’m pretty sure she had just learned to drive because stopping and even a little braking was a big feat. She gave me mild whiplash, the poor girl. After about 45 minutes of silence, she pulled down some alley and stopped. “Dees ees eet” Me: “Oh.. Um.. OK” Her: “here, you stay here” I looked around and saw a whole lot of darkness.. then, relief again, Bodega Guesthouse. I booked it solely because of its name. Bodega (a diff one obviously) used to be one of my favorite places in the world, in Oxford, Mississippi. 😊 So, I figured it was a sign for me to stay there. It was cute.. a small restaurant/bar/art gallery/great place to hang out with extremely nice staff.

I was completely worn out from the past two days of cars, airports, planes, waiting, confusion, etc. I made it up to the tip top of the last stair, to a sign on a door that read “please keep stay on you own bed”. Note to self as I proceeded into an 8 bunk dorm room with a quick shower to wash off the filth of traveling. The toilet, sink, mirror, and shower are all in one compact space. I could sit on the toilet, wash my hands, check myself out, and be showering all at the same time - just to give you an idea of the “compact space”. As for my top bunk.. it was rock hard with an unnecessary top sheet. The room was warm, but every few seconds I’d get just enough of a breeze from the rotating fan. I met a few people when I checked in, which was good, but passed on going out and was asleep before I could say 1-2-3.

I woke up fully refreshed and totally clueless. What was I doing? Where was I going? I only booked one night in the hostel, but now wanted to stay for more, but they were full. This really nice, and pretty hot, guy, from CA, who has lived here for the past 5 years, helped me find another room just a ways down. I upgraded from an 8 bed dorm, to my own room with bathroom and balcony, plus AC, for only 3 dollars more. I loved it. I had plans to meet some of the other guys back at the hostel before all going to the beach together. As I was getting ready to head back, I was actually a little cold in my fancy “aircon” room. So I took the key out of the slot that turns it on. One minute later, the power shuts off and I’m standing in the dark. I’m not gonna lie, I had a little bit of a freak out. I thought all the power in Phuket went out, and here I am standing in the dark, by myself in some random spot where no one knows where I am. Then my brain turned on, and I realized that the room key holds all the power! (pun intended) You have to “plug” your key into this thing that turns on all your electricity.. So when you leave, it automatically shuts everything off. I think it’s a great idea. After feeling a little embarrassed for being so dumb, I went back to Bodega and met the guys. I mean, you gotta learn some way or how right? 😊

I was on a glacier four days earlier, and now I was lying on the beach, soaking up the sun with Dean, Haris, and mashed potato. He and Haris were cousins, and for the life of us, Dean and I could not remember his name. We would always say things like “Haris, where’s your cousin” or “what are you and your cousin doing today” instead of using his name. Dean tried to act like he knew it, but it trailed off into something like mashed potato. “Haris, have you seen mmmahssapota- um, your cousin?” So, it just kind of stuck for us. (sorry if you’re reading this! you know Dean and I are retards! lol)

*** I want to pause now and give my sweet, loving mother (and all “her kind”) a warning for the rest of this here blovel. You will be horrified, but just remember.. traveling is all about the experience, and trusting your gut! ***

So….. us four were quite the crew and all got along really well. We always ventured out together. Phuket.. Hmmm.. I’m struggling to think of words to describe Phuket, more specifically the Patong Beach area. The top few that automatically come to my mind are: dirty, gross, smelly, trashy, sketchy, and of course.. massage. It is absolutely impossible to go even 2 steps without hearing “massage”. It sounds like a dying cat. “You wan maaasssaaage” “maaaaasssaaage fo you” It was soooo annoying. They are relentless! The “girls” (I’ll come back to that) would cat call to the guys from down and across the street. So, imagine a dying cat in the background with.. “suit, suit, suit for you” “mister” “come in” “looking fo free” “nii suit fo you” Oh my gosh - it will make you insane! I’m shocked they don’t have some massage/suit combo deal. Well, actually they probably do. “I make niii for you!” “Toooday onlaay, specia prii” “same same, but deeferent” “come eensiide” “maaasssaaage” “preddy laday, where you from” “what you like” “where you go” “taxi!” “massssaaaage” - and I’ve only taken 5 steps.

No matter where you go, you hear the “hum” of people trying to wheel and deal each other. They just set up shop on the sidewalk. If they were paid for the amount of times they said the same phrase, as opposed to the amount crap they sold, they would be the richest people in the universe. It’s unbelievable, but at the same time, it’s also their job. It’s what they know and how they survive. It makes me really angry when I see people being so rude to them. Haggling is normal, it’s what you’re supposed to do, but getting mad, stomping around, and raising your voice for a lower price is different. I don’t care who you are, or think you are, if you don’t have the slightest ounce of respect for others, you really, really irritate me and I wanna punch you in the face!

Anyway.. you don’t get as much of it on the beach, but it’s still there with the random old ladies carrying 3 times their weight in bags, dresses, jewelry, sunglasses, etc. I would start slowly shaking my head left to right when they got to about 20 yards away, yet they still came right up to show me what goods they had to offer for a “specia pri”. So, there I was, sitting in my little Corona commercial, gazing at the water, feeling the sun, and chatting with the boys.. interruptions only to see the “latest in fashion”. Oh, the life. The two “sellers” that did make us happy, were the water lady and the aloe vera lady. Remember I just came from freezing New Zealand and had jack for a tan, so the first day on the beach turned me into a tomato. Second day on the beach, I waved on that aloe vera lady. We were all burnt, so she was in business. This little lady walks up and down the beach with big, square sheets of the aloe vera plant that have been sitting on/in ice. She gets out a comb and scrapes it so the gel stuff comes out, then slathers it all over you. She’s not stingy either. After she covered us all in goo, we just sat there, laughing at each other and playing with it. Her instructions were “seet tweeenty meen, deen go there” (pointing to the ocean) It was excellent.

Back for showers, then a big night on the town. People, stalls, food, music, lights, energy everywhere. You couldn’t help having a little adrenaline pumping. Dean, Haris, mashed potato, a Scottish guy called Chris, and myself out to see the nightlife.. Patong Beach style. Yikes. Think of the dirtiest, strangest thing/s you’ve ever seen in your life, and then go to Bangla Road. I don’t know where to begin…

I guess I’ll start with the “lady boys“. Simple enough, a lady boy is lady that’s actually a boy. Some you can tell because they have a boyish face. Most you can tell because they tend to be a little taller than regular Thai girls. Others you can tell because they have an Adams apple. The rest, you can’t tell at all. Serious. I think Dean, Haris, mashed potato, and Chris were all second guessing their sexuality a bit. Haha. One would say how hot a girl was and then it’d turn out to be a lady boy or I’d catch them staring at one as they walked past. It was hilarious. You would just look at them and watch them and think, how is that a boy? They all wore skimpy, tight, short, slutty dresses. Thai people have very good figures, but these lady boys were ridiculous. Not all, but most looked like models. They were really really pretty and really fit. It was impressive, but gross.

Thankfully, after walking around a little, we sat at a bar with some pretty good live music. We all needed a drink. I was definitely afraid of what else might come out at night and with good reason. Which leads me to the next, and also disturbing part. Along with the “maaassages” “suit for yous”, you were also offered “ping pong shoooow”. Naturally, I thought a ping pong show would be a show in which two Thai guys stood on either side of a ping pong table and hit the ball back and forth at lightening speed. That I would’ve liked to see. However, my Southern soul couldn’t have been more wrong. The only way to describe this is bluntly, so read fast. A ping pong show is a show that starts with a Thai girl getting on stage with a ping pong ball, shoving it up her who who, and then shooting it back out again.. and that is merely the tip of the iceberg. After listening to the live band with a couple/several drinks down the hatch, curiosity ran rampant amongst the guys. A group of nice, normal girls staying at the hostel went the night before and said we had to do it. Because I know too many of you reading this lovely blog, and for the sake of my mother, I will spare you details, but let’s just say none of us wanted to go. Then, there we were.. all trying to hide behind one another, staring squinty eyed, through our hands, at a ping pong show in Thailand. I’m sorry, but I have to tell you at least one, K? So this Thai girl walks out on stage with a fishbowl, sets it on the ground, hovers over it, and out shoot 3 goldfish, into the water and swimming around! EW! It was an experience that I wish I could forget, but like the girls did to me, I do suggest you go. It was the topic of conversation for the next 5 days easy. Hahaha I wish I knew what all of you are thinking… lighten up! lol disgusting.

So, whew.. other gross things in the area.. there were HUGE bars, most open air, and filled with Thai girls. All of us tourists were wandering around the street.. eyes wide open, jaws dragging the ground. Basically… dirty, dirty, dirty men flock to Phuket for the Thai girls. It always made me laugh, and ill, when I saw a big fat Westerner with a tiny Thai girl. Gross. So, these huge bars all had stripper poles, with a girl or lady boy on each one. I’m talking at least 100 in each bar. Whenever we would sit somewhere, they would pounce on the guys. Before your bottom hit the seat, they were at the table asking for our order - it was annoying. All of this being said, I wasn’t much of a Patong Beach, Phuket fan. I was, however, so happy to be out of the cold. Also, I didn’t explore the rest of Phuket, so it may be wonderful.. I just could have been on the wrong side of the tracks.. which is highly possible.. one step behind! lol.

Another day at the beach, a little night beach party, some more wandering, and we had seen more than enough in Phuket. We decided to stick together for a trip to another island. We set off on a ferry boat to the Phi Phi Islands (pee pee). This place is indescribable. Now, I finally felt like I was out of the bad comedy/horror movie and in Thailand. As the ferry curved around the monstrous cliffs over the blue water to the dock all you saw was white sand, the famous “long boats”, beach bungalows, and yep, a whole heard of “them”... “missy, missy, where you stay” “I give you cheap, cheap” “come wit me” “you wan bungalow”. We had no idea where we were staying, so we talked to this one guy and settled on a price and a place. He got us to sit and wait 5 meenuts for our taxi. Ten minutes later, a guy with one arm rolls up on a bike and says to follow him. We’re following him, with all our baggage, wondering about the taxi and after five minutes he points to a metal kind of crate thing on wheels and says “ohh yeahh! taxi!”. We all looked at each other, then threw our bags in. He pushed it for another five minutes, then made us get our bags and said to follow him again. How did we not put UpHill Bungalows and walking up a hill to get there together? Retards. Thankfully I‘m a girl, so he and his lone arm carried my bag.

We had cute and very simple bungalows, complete with AC. We set out to see what we could see. A lot of stalls, a whole lot of tattoo places, but no “maaassage” or suit makers in your face, a big beach with people simply enjoying life. We now realized that there aren’t any cars or motorbikes on the island, hence the metal cage “taxi”. Without these, meant a TON of “push bikes”. It would crack me up because the people on the bikes would just cruise along saying “beep, beep” or ring their bells. We
the pancake!  the pancake!  the pancake!

banana and nutella = mmm
had some tasty pizza for dinner and then settled down for a beach fire show. Basically, fire is attached to rope or a pole of some description and they fling it around like you see people do with nun chucks, except its on fire. It’s mesmerizing.

The next day we found a cheaper, better, closer place to stay so we moved house. We had a tour of the surrounding islands booked and soon enough I was on a long slow boat. The kind with the propeller that sticks out really far in the back. They’re awesome. We went to Monkey Island, some cave thing, Maya Bay, Bamboo Island, and some other island I forgot the name of. We pulled into this little bay area and I could not wait to get in the water. It was absolutely breathtaking. We all jumped off the boat and swam around. The water is not only beautiful, but it’s warm! You can stay in it as long as you want to, unlike NZ where you freeze to death. It’s also really clear. Maya Bay is the place where the movie “The Beach” is filmed and it is the most gorgeous beach. If you haven’t seen that movie, go rent it. It was so cool to be there, I just kept looking around in disbelief that I could be in such a beautiful place, not only in Maya Bay, but on all of the islands.

I snorkeled all around. It was so clear and so tropical and so just, great. However, I did have a moment and think of my brother number 1. As I’m swimming and snorkeling along, I see this long skinny white and black striped thing head up from under some rock and to the surface. A sea snake. JM- I think you would have died on the spot. He didn’t want anything to do with me, he just wanted some air, but still! I found out later that they are really poisonous. I saw all kinds of pretty fish. At one point I got near the boat and the captain guy threw some of his rice near me and I was swarmed with them. One even bit me on the back, but it was just a tiny little nibble.

When we got to Bamboo Island it started raining, which no one minded because we were already wet, and burning up. Every single day I have been in Thailand, it has rained. However, it rains for 30 minutes and then it’s over and done for the day. Kinda odd, but I like it. You always know when it’s coming because it gets really windy, a warning of about 4 drops, then down pour. After 30 minutes, it was beautiful again. I felt like I was walking around in your screensaver. We went for a little stroll down the beach, took lots of pics, enjoying the hard lives we lead. Don’t worry, we thought of you all the while. Off to another island, then back to Phi Phi. What a day. Dean didn’t feel well, and we were all tired from a long day of snorkeling, white sand, blue skies, and turquoise water. We were supposed to go back for a shower and a quick power nap, but 4 hours later when I woke up, I could not move. I don’t know what happened to us, but I’ve never been so tired in my life. Dean was lying in his bed, saying “come on self, get up, you need water”. Our bodies were malfunctioning. Dean said it was as if it pained me to even talk to him. Haha. He forced himself up for water, but straight back to bed. I didn’t move from the time I laid down to the next morning. I woke up with a spring in my step, ready for a new day. I guess my body had had enough and needed to shut down, charge up, and restart.

Oh and as for mashed potato, we figured it out, only after 4 days… it’s Dan! He had to fill out something for our rooms and I caught a glimpse of it, pointed it out to Dean and we had a little chuckle. Now, Dean, Haris, myself and Dan were headed to the viewpoint. We walked up, up, up, and made it. You could see both of the bays all the pirdy sand and colorful water, not to mention the hundreds of boats. We sat up there for a while, just chatting and looking out over our little world. That night we set out for a beach party. It was a full moon and all the crazies in the world come out. We had to take part. We walked out to a few chill places playing light beach tunes. I was diggin it, but then was quickly outnumbered by the English. Toes in the sand with Bob singing in the background, I glimpsed down the beach and was right back into that horror movie. You couldn’t miss it. We were headed to Hell. Bob was drifting further away and boom, boom, boom grew louder. You know on cartoons when they make the speakers jump to the sounds… this is all I could imagine. Strobe lights, black lights, drunk teenagers, techno music blaring.. it looked like a horrendous state fair.

We sat down to watch another fire show and ordered drinks, but instead of coming in cups, they came in buckets. A bucket is a good and very bad thing, for obvious reasons. They turned the fire show into a danger zone. They had fire limbo, which I wasn’t into at all, but some were really impressive. Next, they poured alcohol all over this huge rope, lit it on fire, and tried to get people to jump it. Of course I wanted to do that! After a few sips on that ol’ bucket Haris and I were in there. I wasn’t the jump rope champion in 3rd grade for nothing! It did actually hit me a few times because some people aren’t equipped with my jump rope skills, but it was ok. They light it with alcohol so when it hits you, it just burns the alcohol and not your leg. After the jump rope, came the fire hoop. A big hoop set on fire for you to jump through. When you’d go through you could feel how hot it was. I really liked it. We all jumped through that at least 5 times. It wasn’t as scary as it sounds!

The next day we said bye to the hysterical Dean and I set off to a place called Krabi with Haris and Dan. We booked into a guesthouse, walked around, grabbed a bite to eat, then I discovered that I could take a bus and overnight ferry to the next place on my list. I originally thought I had to wait until the next day. So, I parted ways with the boys as well and took a bus to the other side of the country, which was to connect me to a ferry. We watched Braveheart, which I had never seen, and it cut out with 15 minutes to go.. Ugh. I reached Surat Thani, the town where I was to catch the ferry. It seemed like everyone on my bus was going to different places though. Then, I heard one guy say Koh Samui, so I knew I was alright. We were going to wait for 30 or so minutes before our ride to the ferry. I was just sitting there eating my PadThai when a girl comes up to tell me that the ferry wasn’t going anymore. What? So, I found that one guy who was also supposed to be going. His name was Yo and he was Japanese (and no, he didn’t know you seester, lol). So, we could either take a different ferry to a different island, or stay the night in Surat Thani and catch the ferry tomorrow 6AM.

We stayed the night in a “hostel” that was more like an apartment complex. Yo and I shared a room with our own little rock hard beds, TV, and fan. It’s a lot cheaper for 2 people, so why not. We watched some of the World Cup, neither of us knowing anything about “footy”, and off to sleep. 6AM up and ready for some island time. I was on the ferry then next thing.. Yo’s tapping me, saying we were there. Koh Samui. We get off the ferry, through a smaller sea of “them”, and look for a place to go. Thankfully we were lost together. We got a taxi man to take us to Lamai Beach. From there, we got two motorbike taxis to show us some places to stay. We settled on a cutie bungalow steps away from the beach, complete with two rock hard beds and AC! We walked around for about 10 minutes before renting a motorbike for the day. $4.50 for a day and since we split it, it was really only $2.25, for a day! We even had helmets!

Koh Samui has one road that makes a circle around the island. We went all the way around seeing the Grandmother/Grandfather rocks (which are shaped like body parts), a dinky waterfall, millions of palm trees, millions of "them", an enormous Buddha, other smaller brightly painted Buddhas, beautiful beaches, tourist traps, Thai boxing rings, places to eat/drink, just everything really.. I could keep going. We got lost a few times on little dirt "roads" and when we'd stop at some random place to ask directions, they couldn't understand or speak English. It was kind of cool, and kind of scary. After riding around on the motorbike for seriously six hours, I thought my butt had fallen off. I decided it was time to give in and get a Thai maaaaassage. I walked up and down the beach scoping out the places and picked one right near the water. I was lying on this big makeshift table thing, under an open tent, with a fan blowing in my face. It was awesome. Then, she began the massage, who knew that they start with your bum! Yes, it was still numb from riding around, but I still felt like I should tell her she wasn't going to get to my muscles. I've got way too much cushion back there and she was just moving it around, it was awkward. After a minute or two of that, she moved on and I was able to relax and enjoy the hour. One hour massage on the beach = 6 dollars! When she finished, I sat up and felt like I could ride that motorbike for another day. I'm
Thailand island life Thailand island life Thailand island life

(long/slow boat)
pretty sure I even drooled at some point.

I met back up with Yo and we went for dinner. Probably a curry or noodle dish of some description. After, we cruised the markets and I introduced him to the world of Thai pancakes. They have these little flat cooking surfaces/food stands built into their motorbike. It's interesting. My favorite are the pancake people. It's not a pancake at all, but it is. My favorite is banana and nutella. Mmmm! I think I got Yo addicted, he told me he was going back in the morning to try an egg one for breakfast. hha. Low key night, and up again the next day. I was moving on to Koh Tao and he was staying for one more night. Koh Tao could quite possibly be one of my favorite places I've ever been. In order to get there I had to take a ferry to Koh Phangan. This is the island where they have HUGE full moon parties. I didn't really have any interest in going because I was by myself and the last thing I wanted to do was go to some huge rave alone, or at all really. The ferry did have to stop there though to pick up more passengers. This I could not believe. I was soooo thankful I did not step foot on that island. Never in my life have I seen so many injured people in one place. They were coming toward the boat all bandaged, limping, bruised, on crutches, etc. It was weird and I couldn't stop staring. I also could not believe how many people got on our boat. It was a madhouse. I truly at one point in the water thought that one person too many was going to walk to the other side and the boat would tip. Speaking of, I found out the whole reason my first ferry was cancelled.. well because the night before, two of them crashed into each other! These are not big boats, but they sure aren't small! I saw pictures of all these English people in the water and then on stretchers! No one was seriously hurt, but still! If my camera got wet, I would cry hysterically then probably just die.

Eventuallly I made it to Koh Tao. Look up Koh Tao and you will be in love. It's almost as beautiful as Phi Phi, but with a lot more people/things to do. I got off the ferry and into the sea of "them". Here however they don't have regular taxis, they have normal pick up trucks with two benches set up in the bed. Truck load after truck load of tourists were herded in the direction of town. I felt like I was on display in a circus parade. I got out and began the search for a place to rest my head. Most people come to Koh Tao for diving, so when you book a diving course, you get free accommodation. I wanted to look around before just booking the first company I saw, which was great except it made it harder for me to find a place for the night. Everywhere was really expensive if you weren’t diving, so I went back closer to the pier area for a cheaper room. Then, I could walk to town and check it out without having to carry my bags around.

In the mixture of all the confusion on housing, I remembered a website that I joined back in NZ. It’s called couchsurfing. So I got on the comp and looked it
we are DIVERS! we are DIVERS! we are DIVERS!

advanced, that is.
up. I highly doubted there would be people on this tiny island, but low and behold, there were 4. Couchsurfing is pretty self explanatory I think, but in case you’re lost.. it’s a website in which normal everyday people join, yeah sure there are probably some freaks out there, but where aren’t there? Anyway.. You create a profile and say that you are willing to have someone stay on your couch, you can meet for coffee, you don’t have a couch but know of good places, etc. It’s a really good way for solo travelers, like myself, to stay on the cheap side, but also to meet other people. I thought I’d give it a shot. All of the hosts on Koh Tao were travelers themselves and working at dive companies. I thought this might be an extra bonus so they could show me which ones were the best!

After I thoroughly checked these people out, I emailed two of them. One emailed me back not too much later and agreed for me to stay one night. I emailed him first, because judging by his profile pic I thought he was flamin’ gay. I was to call him the next morning so we could meet and greet. That I did, we decided to meet at 7/11 (which are EVERYWHERE by the way). I spotted him first, he and his frosted tips perched on top of his motorbike. I waved (laughing nervously to myself) and he picked me up. Magnus from Sweden. He carried my little backpack on his front while I had my big backpack still strapped on my back. We pulled up to his apt and as I stood to get off, being cautious not to burn my leg, I was on the ground like a cockroach on its back. My bag was too heavy for me and I toppled right over. Haha I just laid there laughing, while he was laughing in that kind of “are you serious, I’m afraid” kind of way. I tried to assure him that I'm not usually that dumb, but I don't think he bought it. He had to go to work, and I was headed for the beach. He is a dive instructor, so he helped me get signed up for a course that started that day. Meaning, I could start the course, but wait to start my free accommodation the
prepping for night diveprepping for night diveprepping for night dive

we're so official
next night. I sat on the beach all day and enjoyed it more than you know.

When it's low tide there is still about 20 yards of beach that you can sit in with it about chest level. I sort of felt like I was in a Waterland for rich people. You know how they used to have that tidal pool thing? Anyway, this was 3542398472 times better. The sand was like that stuff we used to play with in science class.. I can't think of the name of it, but its that greyish stuff and when you hold it in your hands it slides through your fingers, but when you poke it, its hard. You know what I'm talking about? Well that is exactly like this sand. I felt like a little kid, just sitting there in a huge puddle of water playing with the sand. In the pictures, it looks like the beach, but its really still the water. It was so clear near the edge that I could never get it to show up in the pics. Amazing.

I started my Open Water diving course by watching some lame DVD, then in classroom setting had
see the rain coming downsee the rain coming downsee the rain coming down

it never rains underwater :)
a few hours of lecture. I was really weirded out being back in a classroom, but I guess that's good. Anyway, there was a big group of us, but 6 of us broke off into a group with Jaffa, our instructor from England. It was me, Conny Austria, Aisling Ireland, and Moises Chile (but I like to say Cheeelaay). We hung together pretty tight. I really can't explain the whole "diving thing" besides to say that the scariest part was being in the shallow end of the pool. Since this blog has passed its point of blog and into serious novel territory, I will spare you all the "it was gorgeous" "you amaze yourself with what you learn" bit, K? In all honesty, I did not think I was going to love it as much as I do. I thought sure I would like it, but I really loved it.

I did 9 dives in total. I am certified up to 30m (that's almost 100 feet!). Be impressed! I think the furtherst I went down was 28.7 meters, but you round up, so 30m. I also did one night dive! It was by far the best!! Colors come out, more creatures come out, and when it lightnings it looks like a strobe light. At one point we all kneeled in a circle on the bottom, turned out our "torches" and swam around the reef. When you do this it's not completely dark, just like when you turn your room light off at night. Your eyes adjust quickly, but the coolest part was disturbing the plankton. When you kick your fins or wave your hands around, it disturbs them and they light up, so it's as if you have sparks coming off of you and all around you. It is indescribable and was absolutely my favorite part. I spent just over a week in Koh Tao and already miss it.

So now, when I come home and have to attend all these weddings and people/parents start asking me what I do.. I'm going to respond with.. I'm a diver. lol just so I don't have to make something else up.. this is actually true! 😊

Thanks so much for reading!

Believe it or not, I haven't even caught you up to date! I'm impressed you read the whole thing. I feel like I've been typing for a day. muah!

Speak soon,

Mary Kathryn


13th July 2010

Awww sees I'm so jealous and soooo very very happy that you have the chance to do such awesome adventuring...really, I'm even crying!!! Please be safe safe safe and there's clearly need for me to tell you to enjoy yourself ;). We LOVE and MISS you. XOXO
14th July 2010

Favorite part is the hecklers sounding like "dying cats". Hilarious! Miss you TONS!!!!
14th July 2010

REALLY ?!?!?!
How does someone who is afraid to go to the door when the doorbell rings in Madison, MS do all this??? I'm so happy for your wonderful experiences but I'm goin' to praying unceasingly instead of just morning, noon and night !!! Love and miss you soooooo much, MAM
14th July 2010

Pooks! I'm lovin your blog! Thanks so much for my postcard- it made my day! I'm so proud of you for doing what you are doing- I know that I could NEVER be so brave! It's really impressive! Can't wait for the next update! Stay safe!
20th July 2010

i know what you're talking about!!
I totally know what you're talking about...comparing the sand to that stuff we played with in elementary!!! its liquid form when its in your hands and solid form when its on the table/ground....right? haha i can only imagine your childlike behavior playing on the beach!! can't wait for the next posting :) stay safe!!!
21st July 2010

Hey M.K.............luv ur blog! Soooo much fun.........u go girl! soak it all up while u can!!! ENJOY! Denise
24th July 2010

cool stuff
i had been to Phuket and Phi Phi on july 12/13 , so your blog just reminded my current memories. best of luck
19th January 2011

Enjoyed ....
I really enjoyed reading you blog and the photos were lovely. Be safe.

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