Around the World in 90 days, Last Epic Blog Post
Trip Start Dec 16, 2012
14Trip End Mar 18, 2013
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After leaving Jen's village, we had our longest travel stint yet. We started by taking the night bus from Khon Kaen to Bangkok, where we then took a day bus from Bangkok to Chumphon, which is a coastal town where you can catch the ferry to your choice of islands. From Chumphon, we took the night ferry to Koh Tao, our first island destination. Unfortunately, during these 36 hours of travel, Robyn was sick with a cold, so she had to be quite the trooper. She was also sick for the 4 days we were on Koh Tao, but this was the perfect recovery time for her. She didn't have me breathing down her neck to do something with me, because I was off getting my PADI diving certificate each day we were there.
As was previously stated, our reason for going to Ko Lanta was to WWOOF, which is a program where you volunteer on an organic farm, and get free accommodations in return. We had been in contact with our hosts throughout the trip, and we had planned on living and working with them for the last 2 weeks of our time in Thailand. Let's just say, this didn't really work out. After a long day of travelling by bus and by boat from Koh Pha Ngan to Ko Lanta, we didn't arrive to the farm (Asa Lanta) until about 9pm. This didn't seem too late, so we gave our hosts a call to let them know we had arrived, and to see if they could show us where we would be staying. This was awkward from the start, because even though they had been expecting us all day, our hosts were sleeping! Luckily, one of them woke up to show us the way, but she didn't seem too happy about it. Robyn and I were also a bit disappointed because we literally hadn't eaten all day because the buses and boats never stopped, and by the time we were at the farm we were deep into the jungle and couldn't get anywhere to find food.
We went to bed in a hot bamboo hut, with both of us sleeping on one hard twin sized mat, under a very poorly put together mosquito net, and very hungry. This was a miserable night. Not only were we squeezed into a hot, tight space with huge spiders, mosquitos and cockroaches all over us, but Robyn also got a terrible case of amoebas and bacteria that night, so she was up and down going to the bathroom and getting sick all night. This wasn't just a simple case of a stomach ache, she was really hurting, and needed medicine and hydration immediately. Because I was so tired, I barely woke up through her suffering, and didn't really realize the extent of her sickness until the morning. It just so happens this was an illness she’d had plenty of times during her Peace Corps service so she at least knew what was happening to her and what she needed right away so she wouldn’t go into shock from losing all her electrolytes.
That morning, we were supposed to start volunteering immediately after having breakfast with the group. Robyn woke up and tried to join the team, but when she couldn't keep her breakfast down, we all knew that she was in no condition to work on the farm. She rested for the morning, while I worked (chopping down any plants that were growing near bamboo trees). After work, we decided that she needed to get a hotel down in the main town to recover from her sickness. We rented a scooter for the next 2 weeks on the island, so I was able to safely get her to where she was staying. I then took the scooter back to the farm/jungle to enjoy a BBQ with the owners and their friends. This was a great chance to get to know our hosts, and they had some wonderful friends visiting from the Netherlands. The host’s names were Anke and Aoi. Anke is a Dutch woman, and her husband Aoi is a native Thai man. Because Anke was Dutch, they had many Dutch friends who spoke Dutch all night long. It was a very strange experience for me to be the only person there that couldn't understand the conversation. It made me realize how rarely this happens to me, because people all around the world speak English. By the end I was quite enjoying it, because I could often figure out what they were saying based on body language. I would often just blurt in and guess what they were talking about, and I was usually correct! The BBQ itself was also wonderful, with pork skewers, fresh fish, cucumber salad and Thai sausage. After filling up on delicious food and Thai wine, I went to bed early because I had another day of volunteering ahead of me.
The next day of work was a bit brutal, where I started my morning by clearing a path through the jungle. I literally just walked in a straight line and hacked down everything in sight. I didn't really like this job because it was really hot, hard work, but mostly because I was killing all sorts of beautiful tropical plants! It just didn't feel right. Because we only worked half days, I finished at 12:30pm and immediately went to the beach town to check on Robyn. She was doing better, but definitely not enough to work and live in such uncomfortable conditions. She had been planning on returning to work the following day, but simply wasn't doing well enough. So the decision was made that I would stay with her during her recovery to make sure she could get around town and have enough water with her at all times, so I told our hosts that we needed to stop volunteering. This was no problem for them, as I'm sure they are used to people leaving after a few a days. The accommodations were terribly uncomfortable, and the work wasn't rewarding at all. Plus, it was the last 2 weeks of our trip. We figured we deserved some good R&R, so that's exactly what we did.
And diving on Ko Lanta was absolutely breathtaking! It was so much fun because I wasn't taking any courses, so I was able to just fun-dive as I pleased without having to prove or learn anything new. It was so much fun, so I dove with the same company for 4 days. I had originally booked 3, but diving truely is addicting, so I had to book a 4th. I got to dive in some sights that were classified as 'world-class' dive sites, and also some that were not as well known, but equally as beautiful. My favorite dive was actually the last of all the dives, at one of the lesser known places, Ko Haa. On this dive, we went through a chimney of coral. The chimney was probably about 3 feet around, and about 6 feet in length. You dive through it head first, and when you come out you enter a beautiful world of soft, purple coral. It was absolutely breathtaking, and although there wasn't much wildlife in the soft coral, it was my favorite underwater scene of the entire trip because it was so unique. Unfortunately, I have no pictures to show of diving right now. But, I do have a CD of photos that I bought from the photographer on the boat that I will post later. Unfortunately, the computer we have on this trip doesn't have a place for CD-ROMs, so it will have to wait!
We won’t deny that we were also happy to say goodbye to this crazy place. THIS road is NOT Bangkok. It’s just where all the tourists know where to go. Luckily, we had already planned to meet back up with Robyn’s Peace Corps friends Jen and Jeff again for our last weekend before we flew out. We stayed in a completely different part of Bangkok called Silom and had much more of a low key experience. We enjoy authentic Thai food at restaurants that only speak Thai. So not only is the food better, but it’s also cheaper! We ended up eating duck A LOT and it was so good! It was great having Jen and Jeff show us what they knew of Bangkok and of course it’s great they speak fluent Thai. We were so happy we got to see them again before we left.
But we’ve come to the end of our EPIC trip and we’re trying to mentally prepare that this trip has finally come to a close and that it has been nothing but EPIC and amazing. We ate great food, met amazing people, and saw some of the most beautiful places in the world. We can’t wait for our next journey!!
I’m headed back to the States while Robyn extends her trip by one week to visit a new friend who lives in the UK. We look forward to sharing more details of our trip when we’re home. Looking forward to seeing everyone!!