Goodbye Koh Tao

Trip Start Mar 13, 2008
Trip End Apr 03, 2008

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Where I stayed
Koh Tao Island Resort

Flag of Thailand  ,
Friday, March 21, 2008

I went to yoga last night at the Shambala Center here on Koh Tao and it was AMAZING. The instructor was just like what you think a yoga instructor should be, not like the phoney ones you see so often at home.  I loved every second of the class and wished I had heard about it sooner.  I could see myself retiring on Koh Tao and falling into a beautiful rhythm - yoga in the morning, scuba/snorkeling, yoga in the evening!!!

Before I went to bed last night I sat on the porch of my bungalow reading and listening to the sounds of all the animals in the area, it was so peaceful.  I also walked along the beach a little at night and saw some fire throwing. 

The tour company picked me up this morning for my snorkeling trip and I was uber excited!  But all of a sudden, I started to feel sick and I ended up throwing up over the side of the boat while it was still docked!!!  I don't know what came over me.  I decided it wasn't' a good idea to go out to sea and found a shady place to sit and decide what to do next.  I had already checked out of Koh Tao Island Resort and although I could spend another night there I'm sure, it was still above what I wanted to spend.  I got something to eat and took a taxi back to my scooter.  After that I pretty much just wandered around aimlessly for like 2 hours before deciding the fiscally responsible thing to do was to leave Koh Tao and start heading to Chiang Mai.  I made the arrangements for a ferry to the mainland and a "VIP bus" to bangkok (i.e. tour bus).  I also bought train tickets from Bangkok to Chiang Mai with a few stops on the way.  All in all, it would be a 2 day trek to get to Chiang Mai. 

On my many ATV/scooter rides around the island I'd passed A LOT of thai massage places but one kept coming back to me.  So, I went for a thai massage around noon, after I decided that I'd be leaving Koh Tao that day.  I had been meaning to get a thai massage in Bangkok but kept putting it off.  IT WAS AMAZING.  This petite thai woman and this tiny thai man had the stregnth of a herd of buffalo!  And it wasn't just like rub here, rub there like at home.  They twisted my body in all different directions and it actually felt wonderful!  Best part - it only cost 300 baht ($9.60 USD)!!!!

I decided I wanted to take one last swim in the ocean before leaving so at 1pm (ferry left at 2:30) I jumped it and could barely pull myself out. Out of all the places I've been - Grand Cayman, Bahamas, Mexico, Jamica - the water on the Gulf of Thailand takes the prize.  It's beautifully clear and the tempature is perfect.  You rarely see people using rafts in the ocean but they were everywhere in Koh Tao.  The water was so still and peaceful.  I felt like I could have layed there forever and been just fine.

But alas, I got on the ferry just in time, in fact I didn't even have time to change out of my bathing suit which was really uncomfortable during the 2.5 hour ferry ride!  Once off the ferry, the company shuttled us back to their headquarters in Chumporn where we had to wait 2.5 hours for the "VIP bus" to depart for Bangkok (overnight bus).  This is where I met Ruth from Seatlle and Annie from Germany.  We hung out while waiting for the bus and shared traveling stories.  Annie had just spend 8 months in Australia and 1 month in Thailand.  Ruth had been in Thailand for a month and is returning to Seattle next week.  Ruth and Annie were both traveling solo until they met in Bangkok about 3 weeks ago.  Since then they've been traveling together and sharing room costs.  I'd like to find someone to share room costs with!!!!  They were both really nice and I wish I'd met them sooner.

When our "VIP bus" finally arrived everyone scambled to get a seat.  It was a luxury tour bus where all the seats are on the upstairs deck except for one lounge type area in the bottom middle of the bus, although most people don't even know its there.  Most people just left their packs outside the bus and headed up to the top deck but I wanted to see them put my pack in the bin before I headed up.  That was a mistake it turned out.  By the time I got up there, there were no seats left.  I thought for sure I was going to lose my temper for the FIRST time on this trip but luckily the guy from the tour company told me to sit in the lounge downstairs.  Well, I tried but the door was locked.  I went back and told him and he started pounding on the window telling the people inside to unlock the door - they didn't!  It took like 5 minutes before they finally opened the door and the 4 leftovers (myself included) sauntered in.  The lounge had a u-shape sofa on one end and 4 chairs set 2 x 2.  It was clear that they were not pleased we were there.  The guy was a total ego case, I could tell before he opened his mouth but when he did, he proved it himself.  After we sat down one of the other leftovers asked the guy if he had paid extra for this room and the guy said, "no, just gotta protect your family" and motioned to the kid and woman with him.  I spent a good part of the bus trip trying to figure this out and never could.  Mr. Weirdo was originally from Canada but now lives in Singapore, the woman (not his wife or mother of the child) was Australian but lived in Thailand and the kid was his but lived in Vancouver.  Go figure.  They were so weird.  About 5 minutes into the ride the guy offered everyone some valium to help them sleep - I politely declined.  He and the woman were popping them like candy and I saw him give the kid at least 2!  Valium is accessible over the counter here but still.... WEIRD. Besides myself there were 3 other guys who got stuck down there. One was a fire thrower originally from Australia who just went from place to place throwing fire!  Another was from China but living in Canada because he was pursuing a PHD at the University of British Columbia (or something like that) and he was taking some time off school to travel.  The other was American (shocking, haven't seen many of those), originally from Hawaii.  He didn't talk much so I didn't get his story.  We were sitting next to each other and he slept pretty much the whole time, even without the weirdo's valium.

I tried my best but didn't get much sleep on that bus.  The lounge itself was weird too.  It kinda made me think of Maria Carey's tour bus, all pimped out in pink and glitter - totally trashy!  I thnk I'll stick with trains from now on.

I have a TON of great pictures from Koh Tao but something happened to my compact flash card at one of the internet cafe's on the island.  Now, no matter where I go, it won't read the card.  I'm not panicing though because I can still see the pictures when I flip through on the camera.  I've heard of this happening to people using the internet cafes.  I just hate that I have all these great pics and can't share them yet.
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