After staying a week at my friend's place on the expensive expat side of Bangkok, it was time to head back to the beach, Bottle Beach to be exact.. Somehow, I managed to spend over 10,000B in a week at classy joints like the one pictured here
. Last year, I forgot to get, Joran, my hammockgammon buddy's email address and lost contact with him, but I had a strange feeling that he'd be there if I went back even though I was going back to the island almost a month earlier than last year. Unfortunately, since I was now in Bangkok, instead of only having to take a 3 hour bus, I was in for a 7 hour bus ride, 3 hour boat ride, hour long taxi ride and a 30 minute longtail boat ride to get to Bottle Beach 2. I had called ahead and made a reservation at BB3 bungalows by accident and when I arrived, Pa recognized me when I got off the boat and was confused as to why I was going to BB2 instead. Later, I went over to apologize for making a reservation at the wrong place, but she said it was no problem since I usually ate dinner at her place anyway. As I was walking to my bungalow to check in, who greets me from his hammock, but Joran himself with a Hearty, RAY?, He was there with his now live in girlfriend who had moved to Norway to be with him after meeting him last year on the same beach. Who says travel romances never work out? It was great to be back, but on the way in I could sense the beach had a different feel, the vibe had changed. This year there were hundreds and hundreds of day trippers that crowded the beaches, but the worse part was the hundreds of longtail boats parked in the bay taking up all the beach front and creating a horrible oil slick just short of the Exxon Valdez. Coming from a beach where day trippers were as foreign a concept as sunbathers baking themselves on the beach, made it just that much more unpalatable for me
. The worst day was when these teeny bopper girls plopped themselves directly in front of my bungalow cranking some god awful Eurotrash "music". The only saving grace was that the twenty-somethings were gyrating topless to the formless beats directly in front of my hammock. This is something that some Japanese businessmen would pay top Yen for. I'm not sure if it was a good thing or bad thing that I only had 10 days left in Thailand. I knew I had to leave, but the way things were going on BB, I think it was time to leave anyway. As I was getting ready to leave, I saw the most deplorable site I could have imagined encroach upon one of the last few refuges of Koh Phangan, strolling vendors of crap you don't need. I bet if I ever went back, I'd hear the sound of croaking wooden frogs wafting through the air from women dressed in "traditional' native garb with Nike sneakers and mobile phones.
Travelers Tips: If you are in Bangkok or Malaysia, don't try to make it to Koh Phangan in one day. The trip is long and it sucks! Trust me, I've done both torturous trips. From Bangkok, you can do it via Lomprayah or Songserm, but I don't recommend either one. If you really really have to do it, then go with Lomprayah because the boats are a bit nicer. If you're still dumb enough to try it, it's best to take a motion sickness pill before you get on the boat if the seas are choppy or you'll likely be turning green and throwing up with the other 50% of the passengers. I know many of people have said this before, but with this picture on my way out of KPG, I think it needs to be said at least one more time. DON'T POINT YOUR FEET AT THAIs ESPECIALLY THEIR HEADS. This FN idiot practically rested his feet on the poor girls head.
2008 is moving far too quickly for me for I know that my time is short here in Thailand. I arrived in Aug 2006 just before the military coup that deposed the corrupt Prime Minister Thaksin who was also responsible for the idiotic 90 days out of every 6 months rule that became the bane of my existence. Ironically, as I am preparing to leave, the newly elected government is planning to return his diplomatic passport and welcome him back into the country even after he's stolen hundreds of millions of Baht from his people. I've done almost 90 days straight this time and have to leave Thailand by the 24th of February after having been in my favorite country off and on for a year and a half.