. The English girl behind the bar introduced herself as Laura, told me I had to come to the party there that night, and asked what I was looking for. When I explained my situation she told me that when the rain cleared she would take me to Lanta Longbeach Resort (nextdoor to the closed Madame Lauren's) and get me a good deal on a bungalow. I had arrived at the Klapa Klum bar and things were lookin good. Laura did indeed get me a good price on the bungalow, and it was perfect, just what I had imagined. Bungalow is a term used very loosely on Lanta. What I ended up with was a bamboo shack/hut with a little porch, a room just big enough for my bed covered in mosquito netting, and a little bathroom. I later realized that there was no hot water and the toilet was of that special kind where you flush by scooping out water from a bucket and pouring it into the toilet bowl. By the end of my stay at Lanta I was also sharing my bamboo hut with two spiders, a toad in the bathroom, a frog in a step leading up to the hut, a dog that once followed me home and took up residence on my porch for a night, and (my favorite roommate) an iguana-like lizard who pooped on my mosquito netting. Now, five months ago I would have freaked and demanded another room or huddled under my netting afraid to use the bathroom. But now, I am proud to say, I almost completely embraced my menagerie and was only afraid to use the bathroom one night when I noticed the lizard thing hanging down more than usual from the rafter above the toilet right before the light burnt out
. But other than that I was fine! However, as charming as my accomodations were, I soon found out that the backpacker paradise I had imagined was not exactly what Lanta turned out to be. First of all, the beach was not so spectacular and I wanted that white sand and blue water! Then there was the matter of the beach being populated not by travellers eager to meet people, but with couples and Swedish families (sound the menacing music). That means that there were even more speedos than in Australia, topless old ladies, and everyone holding hands. Everywhere I went the people would ask me if I was by myself, one person?, only one?, room for one?, single?, no boyfriend? I felt like someone out of Bridget Jones' Diary!! Yes! I am single! Yes, I am travelling along! I am not here on my honeymoon and I don't have a boyfriend! I am obviously a total loser with no friends or romance in my life. I find that I write more in my journal when I am lonely or bored and I tell you, I was writing in that damn thing twice a day! True, I had the Klapa Klum friends, but they were always working and sitting at a bar by yourself is just really terrible. But finally, deliverance came! Through Laura, I managed to hook up with some backpackers...yes, some do manage to find their way to Lanta. There were two Irish girls named Sorcha and Dawn, and two English girls named Lou and Charlie. We all were staying in the same place from then on I could say, no not one, table for FIVE! When they told me that they were going to Phi Phi in two days, even though I had hated it when forced to spend the night there on the way to Lanta, I jumped at the chance to join them
. There was no way I was going to spend Valentines Day by myself in Couples Land! The last night in Lanta we decided to have a drink at the bar connected to our resort, and there was a guy practicing fire dancing with tennis balls tied to a string. Now ever since they were in Ko Samui, I was told, Charlie was obsessed with fire dancing, so she asked if she could try the tennis ball thing. Pretty soon we were all having a go, and we all became obsessed with fire dancing. The bar made a killing last night because we each bought our own set of practice tennis balls. And I found that I have a hidden talent. I totally have a natural knack for fire dancing! Maybe I'll be a firedancer! How cool would that be! I just have to get to the point where the tennis ball doesn't periodically hit me in the back of the head anymore. But I have a feeling I could be great! And now, onward to Phi Phi!
Stepping off the ferry on Koh Lanta I just knew that this was going to be great! All I had to do was find Madame Lauren's Lanta Longbeach Resort, meet some other backpackers, and enjoy the beautiful, chill beach for the next couple of days. Unfortunately, Madame Lauren's had closed down four months before, as I was informed by a representative from another resort. At first I didn't know whether to believe him or not, but he offered me a ride to Long Beach, along with two other Canadian women, to check out his place. If I didn't like it, then I could check out other resorts nearby. Well, the Pearl Resort was very nice, but about 200 baht too much, so I decided to walk down the beach to see what there was to see...and then it started to rain. So there I was standing under an awning of sorts, in the rain, my backpack beginning to get really heavy, contemplating what to do next. And then I hear someone shouting at me from the bar across the street to come over. Having nothing particularly better to do, I went over and was immediately given a seat on a bar stool and a coke, my bag safely stowed behind the bar