Sun, sand, beer and old friends

Trip Start May 08, 2006
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Trip End May 06, 2007


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Flag of Thailand  ,
Monday, April 9, 2007

I didn't quite know what to make of Ko Lanta. Had I gone there on my own then I would probably have found it pretty boring but I was going there to meet Carsten and Matt, Matt's brother Al, Bev, Kate and Paul and this - as it turns out - made for a nice, chilled, relaxing time.

The ferry was easy as pie. One thing I love about travelling in general is that - although I have to carry a rucksack, guitar and daypack around with me - getting from one place to the next is remarkably easy. Most guesthouses will sort everything out for you so all you need to do is give them money, and turn up at the right time. Which is why my time in Thailand is just one big holiday really. A month long holiday consisting of meeting new people, lazing on beaches, speeding around on mopeds you can rent for 200 baht a day (70 baht to the pound for reference), climbing big rocks, lazing in beachside bars drinking cocktails, and generally just having a bloody good time. And I'm not telling you this to make you jealous. Really I'm not. Ok maybe just a little. But I just want to convey how incredible this place really is. No-one's in a hurry to do anything, kids run around from bar to bar and the owners just look after them and have fun, everybody has a smile for you, everything is bargainable, the food is delicious and insanely cheap. And here I am, swannying about in the middle of this incredible country, living in bamboo huts and wiping my arse with my hand, and not caring because I don't need all the rubbish that British society says we need. Like toilet roll and stuff. And I won't be any more descriptive than that because you know what I mean. The toilet thing was just an example.

Anyway... I arrived in Ko Lanta and couldn't remember where Carsten was staying so first I had to find an Internet station in the blistering heat with my backpack and blah blah blah. You've heard it all before so I'll spare you the whinging. I eventually found out what it was called and made my way back to the station to find that all the taxis and buses were gone and there was one tuk-tuk left. I hate tuk-tuks. They always try and take you anywhere other than where you ask them to take you. You tell them a million times that you "don't want to go to Seedy McCheap's guesthouse" and they still take you there to get their commission. So the usual business ensued, trundling along a country road on a little motorcycle with a tent attached...

"My friend, my friend! Where you go?"
"I go to Pavilion", I answered
"How much you want spend?"
"About 300 baht"
"Ohhh. No rooms there for this price. I take you to nice place. Cheap, cheap."
"Nah mate, I'm already booked in at this other place, so you take me there yeah?"
"Ok"
-small pause-
Him again, "But I take you to this place first yes? You don't like, you get back in. Good for me, good for you"
"Look mate, I'll give you 200 baht if you take me straight to the Pavilion"
"Ok my friend. I know what you want. Ok ok."

Money speaks volumes it seems. Well he took me there as promised and I tried to give him 120, grinned when he protested and gave him 200. He grinned back. Everyone's trying to save a few pennies in Thailand and everyone knows it.

I walked in, found Carsten and settled into a lovely air-conditioned bungalow in a resort right by the beach with its own pool. We rented a moped each and went for a burn, spotting an elephant walking along the road on the other side! We checked out the market and bought some amazing cooked chicken from one of the stands and a fresh pineapple (which is becoming something of a regular event at the moment). One night I met up with a couple of the locals and started to play guitar with them. They had a couple of books with the chords in so before long I was playing some Thai songs, along with some English ones thrown in for good measure and everyone was singing along, locals and holidayers alike. One of the Thai guys decided it would be a fantastic idea for me and him to have a fight so we were dancing around like idiots trying hard not to kick each other with too much force before we both ended up on the ground, panting after about a minute. I'd like to blame that on the alcohol but my fitness has definately taken a nose-dive in the past year. Reversing that is one thing I'm looking forward to when I get home.

So after a few more days lounging around, Carsten and I decided we were going to do some more rock climbing. We said our goodbyes to the guys at Krabi airport and made our way to Hat Ton Sai, which would be our home for the next week...
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