. Since Neil came over we've been keeping cumulative score and now we've separated and stopped playing I'm pleased to report that I have won our mammoth 78 game series 41 games to 37. Better luck next time Neil.
On the third day I rented a motorbike and headed off with Jim. He had driven a bike down from his resort on the North East. There isn't a Northern road connecting the resorts so you have to go up and down the island to do it. Jim got to ours around 10.30am and we took off. Neil didn't come since he was feeling a bit ill with a cold. After 25 minutes the heavens opened and were forced to stop at a bar along the way. That bar had a sign out front saying "free pool" so we were happy to go in a play. When we arrived in the bar area there was no sign of a pool table and we realised it meant swimming pool - d'oh! There was a Spanish guy there who'd also taken refuge in the rain and he'd also been tricked by the "free pool" sign too. The three of us chatted and had a good time for about half an hour till the rains stopped. We arrived at the port town of Thong Sala and continued East along the Southern road. Jim took me to a meditation retreat that he had done six years ago. You spend 10 days in silence learning meditation and listening to lectures on it. I really fancied it but my visa is running out for Thailand and the next retreat starts on the 17th. It's something I'd like to do at one point in the future but not on this trip
. After that stop the road really started to deteriorate and it took a lot of concentration to plot a course through the crappy mud road. After an hour and a half of driving we got to Karen and Jim's resort. It was a really nice spot and I had a cup of tea with them and chatted. We went for a walk and we all swam in the hotel pool - very nice. Jim had now done a full round trip but I had to get home so I left around 4pm so that I wouldn't get caught in the dark on those bad roads. Around the corner from Karen and Jim's resort was where Gabi was now staying so I went to see if I could find her but no luck. One the way home I got a bit lost and went way too far North so I only just got back before dark.
Oh, and I did my "finances" on one day. After 113 days I've spent just over two thousand pounds including all transport and that 200 I had to spend on a new camera. That means I've been going at a rate of eighteen pounds per day which I think is pretty good!
I've lumped these five days together since we spent the whole time at the Haad Salad Resort in the North West of Ko Pha Ngan. However there's still a bit to tell you about. We upgraded our beach bungalow for a much posher hotel with swimming pool and air-con tv room as well! We booked five days which left me wondering whether that was too much in one place but Neil wanted somewhere to chill and it suited me after a string of nights out (Hammarby Bar, Ko Lanta, New Years Eve, and the Full Moon Party). So the beach was fairly small with only a half dozen or so hotels serving it and a handful of bungalow operations. On the first evening Neil and I found a bar off the beach called the Salad Bar 2. Salad Bar 1 we later discovered is on the beach itself. We spent much of our five days in Salad Bar 2. It had nice tv with all the sports, a great pool table, internet and most of the time it was pretty empty. That meant we got top notch service from Ohm and Jit the staff there. Good curries were one pound each and the beer was about 60 pence