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Published: January 25th 2008
we sat in the little carriage on the side...scary!
I don’t even know how to describe my first two days in Thailand. Amazing, thrilling, breath taking and gorgeous are the first words that come to mind.
We left the boat Wednesday morning at 10 and wandered outside to 95 degree heat. 95 degrees is hot, but when you take into consideration that a week ago it was below freezing, 95 is REALLY hot. We found a taxi to rip us off (inevitable if you have white skin) and drive us to Ban Phe. From Ban Phe we booked a ferry to Ko Samet (also spelled Koh Samed), which is an island known to be beautiful and not over-touristy. We were told by the booking office that our taxi would get us and drive us to the dock…and it turns out our taxi was a motor bike with a little cart on the side which we had to sit in! It was hilarious. We took the ferry to the island and again found a booking office and booked a cheap bungalow in the middle of the island. This time our taxi was a truck and about 10 of us loaded up in the back of the truck and away we
everyone would just pile into the back of a truck, like you see here
were to our bungalow! Now let me tell you about this bungalow…it was small, and we didn’t have electricity for the first day, but it is literally 15 steps from the water. You couldn’t have found something more remote or beautiful if you had spent a year searching for the perfect spot. By the time we got settled it was already 2, so we stopped for a quick bite and headed to the beach. We spent the afternoon walking on the sand, stopping at the little shops along the way. Around 5 we headed to the west side of the island (about a 15 minute walk) to see the sunset. We ended up finding a little cove where the only other person we could see in the entire world was a man fishing off the rocks a few hundred feet from us. We then frolicked a bit in the water, found a great place to have dinner and called it a night. Thursday morning we woke up early because there was supposedly a taxi waiting for us at 10:30 to take us on a boat tour. 10:30 came and went, 11:30 came and went, and finally our taxi showed up
at 12 to collect us. And this time the taxi was a motorbike. So we piled on and our taxi driver almost killed us 31 times by texting while he was driving a motorbike! Helllooo?! The streets are all dirt roads, there are no traffic laws and people generally drive like they are on drugs. You throw a cell phone into the mix and you have disaster! At one point we couldn’t make it up a hill so we had to get off and walk up the hill and then resume our ride on the death bike. Luckily we made it to the pier without any major injuries. We then got on our own private boat and they took us to meet up with the rest of the tour (turns out they got a late start and we hadn’t missed anything). The tour was 4 hours of snorkeling, fishing, more snorkeling, eating, and visiting a fish farm. The ‘fishing’ consisted of fishing line strung onto soda bottles with bait and a hook. Of course I didn’t catch anything but one of the people I was with did. Thank goodness the Thai man driving the boat was there and caught about
view from our bungalow
told you, 15 steps from the water!
20 fish in 20 minutes, or we would have all gone hungry! They killed and cooked the fish right there and in half an hour we were all munching on fresh fish, vegetables, rice, pineapple and watermelon. Delicious. Snorkeling was also pretty wonderful. First of all, the water must be 80 degrees. It felt like I was taking a bath, not swimming in the sea. And the aquatic life is beautiful…hundreds of colorful fish and coral. How could my life get any better?? When we got back to our bungalow that evening, we decided to sit around and read (I am still in school, after all) and relax. For dinner, we ate at a restaurant on the beach that was literally small tables and bean bags. So I drank and Mai Tai and ate seafood pasta on a bean bag chair on the beach 20 feet from the water in Thailand!
This morning we wandered around the beach some more and then made our way back to the boat. We will spend the night here and first thing tomorrow we’re off to Bangkok. We’re trying to get to Burma for a day, but we’re not sure they’ll let us
in on American passports due to the current political unrest. Don’t worry Mom, I’ll be careful & I promise not to go if it doesn’t feel safe. After Burma, we want to find a place to ride elephants and spend a couple of days in Bangkok.
So Thailand. My first impressions are that everyone is happy. All of the Thai people I have encountered have been super friendly and eager to help, even though there is a huge language barrier. For instance, the directions we were given to get back to our boat were very poor. Our taxi driver ended up lost and instead of dropping us off at the street corner like they would do in New York or Paris, he called up all of his English speaking friends and gave us the phone to try and have them translate the directions. It took a while, but we figured it out…and we wanted to tip him 100 Baht (about 3 USD) and he wouldn’t accept it. We had to convince him to take the money. Also, the people selling things aren’t as pushy. In China it wasn’t awful, but in the markets and tourist traps, you couldn’t escape
it. There were men selling food and clothes in Ko Samet, but if you said no they walked away and left you alone.
This place is truly incredible and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the week brings. I will upload my pictures onto my thumb drive in hopes of finding an internet café somewhere in Bangkok. Mom and Dad I got your card. Thanks! And Will, I got the CD too…Amy is in the background singing as I type!
Check back in a couple of days for another post and hopefully some pictures! From Laem Chabang, Meg
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