It's a Good Day to be Alive....

Trip Start Jan 21, 2013
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14
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Trip End Mar 16, 2013


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Where I stayed
sanctuary resort

Flag of Thailand  , Nakhon Si Thammarat,
Wednesday, February 27, 2013

As much as I love taking the local way, I have to say that I meet just as many interesting characters when traveling with the other  fancy tourists. On my way to to the airport, I was watching a couple struggle to get their over sized suitcase into the front seat of the mini van taking us there,  with the driver backing up to watch, and not lifting a finger other than the one to pick his teeth as he watched them push and pull it on to the seat. Ive seen some pretty big suitcases, but this one was a beast. I tried so hard to not make a comment, but i couldn't help myself. " isn't it hard traveling here with such a big piece of luggage? " the woman her high heels responded with a very thick Russian accent, " not really, he has very strong arms" she said of her boyfriend  still working on  pushing the heaving bag onto the front seat and obviously having no idea that he would be the one carrying her bag the entire trip. " It would be hard with on the islands with that large bag though..." I replied. " Yes, but he doesn't mind, " she answered. " But we Russian and  do not carry backpack"  Well okay then, that says it all.
 I feel lucky to have been traveling through Asia many times, learning all the tricks on how to get a cab without paying 3 times the price ( go to a taxi stand, they usually always use the meter) eat at restaurants where the locals eat, the food is much better, and cheaper, having a backpack will come in handy on any cobblestone street and long stretch of beach before reaching your bungalow, having a flash flight handy for no power after 10 pm,carrying your own toilet paper, and  losing your cool will get you no where. Be  patient, have an open mind, don't forget to remember that you came all this way to experience something different, Observe, respect, and be Enlightened.
Working on being in the perfect Zen state while I'm on my little yoga retreat, I stopped by the book store in the airport to pick up a book on positive thoughts and thinking, called Life Lessons from a Monk who sold his Ferrari. At the register I was told the price due..$18? for a book? that's almost the price of my $25 round trip to the island! I could get 3 hour Thai massages for the same price, I say to myself...I'm so far from reality right now. I pay for the book...Self discovery and growth doesn't come cheap.
The day seems to be going very well. I land in Koh Samui, one of the cutest airports really, I have always thought so, its well manicured lawns, the little Disneyland train carts picking you up plane side. An island that besides its growth, the airport hasn't grown in size. They still use air stairs. and they still have one carousel for picking up your luggage.If you re going to come to one fancy island on your stay in Thailand, this should be it. Its much better than Phuket, since its small enough to not overwhelm you, and still has a few of those backpackers places left
The last ferry to Koh Phangan is 630 pm,. I will make it with no worries, but the problem awaits me when I arrive late on the island. I am staying on the remote side, and the only way to get there is a rough ride in the back of a taxi pickup truck, or a boat, and the seas are rough tonight, and it will be hard to find either driver to take me.
When it comes to taxis on the islands,,,,its power in numbers, numbers equals more people, equals more money...when there is less of you needing a ride, especially after dark, no one wants to take you anywhere.
So once off the boat, the bargaining begins. " No Taxi truck to Had Tien" Roads too rough. " Sea too rough too, cost you 1500 baht" ( it normals costs 300....) I think I'm in a bit of a tough spot. I start looking for my numbers....ahhh, there's two young Australians gents needed a boat ride as well, let the bargaining begin.
The night before was the famous full moon party, when 8-10,000 party goers flock to this island to have one of the worlds biggest all night party on the beach. Its crazy to say the least...ask my friend Michael, Hes still missing some hair on his arm from going down the fire slide from a full moon party he attended last year ( long story..)
So, these two young guys were hung over, and they had been on this island for a while. They knew the ropes, and they knew all about how to haggle with the Thai mafia taxi boat drivers. They are all in it together, you try to come up with a lower price with one guy, and hes friends with the other guy, and you cant get a price any lower, because they are all in it together. And after dark, when you are desperate, and you need to get somewhere, they know it too, and they know eventually you will pay, their ridiculous price they are asking. You are tired, you've been traveling, and its only a matter of time...you will break, and you will pay whatever they are asking for a boat ride. Its just the game, and you will always lose.
But these two Australians were good, and I let them do all the talking. The Boat godfather wanted 1000 baht a person ( did I mention its usually 300?) are you kidding me? the boys kept talking....750...no....500....? Al Capone folded....500 it is.
We hopped in the boat, in complete darkness...off we go to Had Tien.
Okay, Mom, you may not want to read this part.
The ride is about 20 minutes, its started off okay, until we reached the ocean and were out of the bay. Did i mention it was complete darkness? Okay, there was the moon, which was still full from the night before, and its light helped guide the way through the now chopping waters. The boat dipped up and down, and the rays of the moon shined on the large waves lapping the side of the boat. The boys looked nervous...I was starting to as well. Then,. something happened, that has NEVER happened to me on any boat ride ever in Thailand,,,,the boat guys threw the life jackets that were underneath the floor boards on to the ground by our feet.
And without any words spoken, we put those life jackets on. The water splashed inside the boat, as I tried my best to keep my grip on my backpack that was resting on the bench in front of me.
20 minutes felt like hours as we finally turned the corner and headed into shore...I see it!
I may lose my pack, but I'm not going to lose my life...there's the shore!!
Our boat captain shined the spot light towards the shore as he fastly approached..." what is he looking for? " I asked. The young Australian man answered.." Hes looking for large rocks that are sticking up everywhere so he doesn't slam into one of them as he brings the boat in" He was right..
The bright light caught large boulders sticking up everywhere as we speed through all of them , narrowing missing one within inches of the boat. Within seconds the boat hit the beach and was up on the sand. I got off the boat so quickly, I almost forgot to hand back over my life jacket. Good thing United teaches us how to survive a plane crash into the sea, I figured I would do okay in a Long Tail boat crash close off the Thailand shore.....But not today. I'm here for some Yoga :)
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Comments

Joyce Nokes on

How long are you there? I have a friend living there right now.

Sarah on

Ahhh I can picture this whole boat adventure! You are such a good writter Mom. That ride seems so scary. I am so glad you didn't need the life vests they threw at you! I wish I was as brave as you!

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