Koh Lanta - A Fishy Fishy Christmas

Trip Start Sep 19, 2007
Trip End Jan 19, 2008

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Sunday, December 23, 2007

hi, even though we arrive two days ago i only got around to update the blog today, cause i had some relaxing to do!!!!!!!!!!
When we got here we were dropped off at the Sanctuary lodge, with really overpriced bungalows, for two reasons, it is Christmas and it is listed in the lonely planet. chiel and me were moody and tired after such a long trip, but decided to have breakfast and then continue looking for something else. He stayed behind with the luggage and i went to ask around, but it was too hot, so i decided to rent a motorbike and go around the island.

I went to pick Chiel up, and tell the people at Sanctuary to keep an eye on our luggage and Chiel told me that that was a bit cheeky , but then again we just had breakfast there, and they were really expensive so it is not so bad. At least we had something there. We found a nice place round the corner and then went to the beach.

In the evening we decided to go around the island a bit more to find out a better beach because ours was full of little annoying rocks.

We found one and move all of our stuff here today. Last night we went to have dinner to a restaurant nearby. But before that, we wanted to have a drink by the beach, and it just wasn't Chiel's day, cause i order a Mango juice and i got it and then Chiel had order a Cocktail and they told him that he coudn't have it, without a reason they told him that they did not have alcohol. Then we move to another place to have dinner and as soon as the guy saw chiel, he pointed with his hands really rudely that there was no place for us at his restaurant. I was watching from the distance, and couldn't stop laughing, chiel's face was that of not believing his eyes.

Then we stopped at a pizzeria place and the couple running the place turned out to be lovely, food not great, but it was my fault, for telling them that i liked spicy food. They did it so spicy that the pasta was not edible.

When we came back to the bungalow we could hardly keep our eyes opened, so we slept for a long time. This morning we moved bungalows and we have not done anything today, but read, swim, chill out, and sleep. Tomorrow we are doing a snorkelling day out, and on Christmas day i have booked us on a surprise for Chiel. We will see if he likes it.

Well, Merry Christmas to everybody from us and lots of love. We think of all of you while we are eating sea food, and driking cocktails by the beach!!!!!!!!

Today is Christmas day and Chiel is gone to do some last minute shopping, so I am going to tell you what we did yesterday and the night before. We just had dinner, barbecue pilot fish, this fish has some pink and blue colours, it is really cute, but we did not know it was edible. Quite meaty and tasty as well.

Following morning we were going to our four island tour, visiting some of the most beautiful spots in this area. First we went by long tail boat to the an area where you get to see lots of fishes and corals. We saw little yellow and black striped fishes, and bigger ones, and also pilot fishes. Someone threw some bread on the water just next to me and all the fishes got around me. I got a bit scared and obviously everyone was laughing at me. Chiel had a bit of problems with the equiptment first cause he was getting water on his breathing tube, and the mask did not fit him too well either. But once he had everything adjusted, he was having the time of his life, seeing all the fishes and all the things.

We visited later the Emerald cave, you have to swim inside a cave, but you can not see anything inside, so you have to follow the guy who is carrying a torch in wrapped in a plastic bag. Once you reach the end of the cave you came out to this wonder of nature, it is a sea water lagoon surrounded by high cliffs, and lush vegetation. It is quite a site. And obviously the water is emerald colour, and the white sand. Just like in the movies. After this stop, we had lunch at the boat and move onto the next island, a place out of a postcard. We were snorkelling for a while but then, I felt that I was getting too much sun tan therefore i went out, but chiel kept on following all the fishes he could see, but they were too fast for him.

Some of our fellows passengers told us that you could find here the best snorkelling ever, but we did not know, so chiel was a bit sad about having missed that. Real shame but at least we had a real cool day and lots of fun. Once we came back to land, we went with two guys from Norway to Mong's bar, they do here bang lassis, magic mushrooms to take you to the moon (that's their slogan), and all type of cocktails. Well really cool place, we had three beers and decided to come back later to have Christmas dinner.

It was actually a little bit of a dissapointment cause the food wasn't really that great and some of us, with very little hair on his head, was very tired, so we were in bed by 10. Actually i think i fall asleep sooner than Chiel.

Today we got up to a glorious day, I went running a bit in the morning by the beach and then picked chiel up to go for a morning swim. it feels so right to have Christmas like this. Tonight we are going Squid Catching around Koh Lanta, I have never done it, and Chiel either. For him is a surprise, and for me a total new experience. I don't expect to catch much, but maybe the boat owner does, so we can barbecue it. YOu get to see the sunset, prepare the lights to light fish and then fish, and barbecue seafood dinner. I hope chiel really enjoys it.

WEll that is for now, i am off to enjoy the crytal waters before lunch.


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What a great surprise!!! Of all the trips that I have seen on offer on the island, this is the one I wanted to do the most. I didn't tell Raquel this, so she chose amazingly well!

The start of it wasn't as brilliant though... there were nine of us, and one distinctly dodgy-looking barge. I would have said it might seat 4 passengers, or 6 less than comfortably, but the drugged up boatsman figured he could squeeze all on. It's windy and the fishingboat is anchored a good hundred meters off-shore. As me and Raquel are pushed onto the stern, the Swedish families with 3 little kids are seated and then the 2 Chinese girls set foot on board, we only just keep the edge of this driftwood-assembly over the waterline. Cold waves slosh over the stern, as we start bouncing across the moody sea. The distance to the fishing boat or back to shore stretches to great lengths as I contemplate having to swim either way. The Swedish dads aren't at all impressed as they hold on tight to their kids. I honestly don't think we will make it, water is entering the boat on all sides. We are too heavily loaded! My balance on the tip of this vessel of doom is precarious and as we reach further out of the bay the waves lunge larger and wilder. The boatsman is laughing madly as I get soaked and shaken around. I hate him intensely and plan to hit him repeatedly with boatdebris before drowning. But we make it and manage the transfer from the floating deathtrap onto the more steady fishingvessel without dropping anyone or anything in the dark waters below.

After admiring the sunset, calming our endorphine-hyper hearts and taking pictures around the boat the beams are lowered on either side of the boat and the blinding lights are lit. It's fishing time.

One of the fishermen shows me a fabulous rod with massive spinner. It feels very masculine and spurs the imagination of cattle-sized catch. This is what we will not be using; they use these rods during the day to fish for barracuda. We will be the proud wielders of a used plastic bottle. Rolled onto the bottle is fishing wire that attaches to its other end a metal coloured fish with rings of pointy metal spikes at the end. The idea is to throw this and sink it in front of a squid once spotted and then slowly pull it towards you and away from the squid so it will sink its tentacles into the pins once you give it some resistance. It's more fun than traditional fishing as I know it, as you can see your prey and aim for it, rather than wait for something you're not even sure is there. It's less fun because after 45 minutes the 8-year old Swedish girls have caught 4 big squid each and we're still running on empty.

When Raquel catches one and only me and the Chinese girls haven't caught any it's time to roll up the sleeves and get serious. Near to despair, cursing and giving up, I spot a grey blurb deep in the water apporaching my orange thingy. Ever so slowly, I guide the bait away from the blob so the hooks are angled the right way. It grabs the bait. This happened twice before and in my excitement those times I pulled in too quickly, urging the squid to rethink its dinner arrangements and release. This time I give it some length. The pull is stronger, then it lets go. BASTARD! But I don't give up yet... it's coming back. The bait is further away from the boat now and I pull it towards me faster this time. The squid accelerates, tightens its tentacles - it strikes. A poof of black spreads in the water. The line pulls tout. It's pulling hard. Where is it? I reign in my line and it's there! "I've got one!", I shout excitedly over my shoulder. holding the squid high for everyone to see. When the fisherman approaches to take it off the hook it squirts a thick gulp of liquid to my right. A scream. A whine. A Chinese girl with a black face. She is covered in ink. Her eyes, ears, nose and mouth are gooed over with a thick inky veil. I think she is in shock. Standing still, not making a sound, muscles rigid, it's her masculine friend (I thought it was a boy) who shrieks: "WATER! WATER! BRING WATER!". (S)he pours a bottle of drinking water over her friend's head and it just glides off the sticky stuff to no effect. "IS IT POISONOUS?!?", the she-male urgently repeats the question until I assure her that in Spain people use it as a sauce. I abandon the search for my camera and decide to help out. It was my squid that's responsible for this mess after all. (misplaced feelings of pride) Another bottle of water and some well intended rubbing washes most of it off. There you go. Now where's my squid gone off to? Resting with his friends in the coolbox. The Swedes have been doing well I see. The girls keep up the pace, yelling HELLO HELLO whenever they catch the next one - about every 5 minutes it seems.

Raquel catches another and calls it a night. I get three in a row as the Chinese girl is vomiting over the railing (keep it up! they like it!) and reel them in nice and slow until all the supplies of ink have been well exhausted in the water. The old fisherman pulls one in too quick and squirts the left side of my shirt, hat and pants. We'll do some shopping tomorrow.

Diner on the boat is great. The most authentic Thai food we've had so far, with grilled fish and barbequed squid, of course. The Chinese have abandoned all hope and are huddled into the centre of the boat. I'm fishing with their line too. When a big squid takes their green bait off for a swim I call over inky girl. Take this! Karma appreciates the idea and the squid strikes. "I got one too!", she jumps up and down. It doesn't squirt ink and I hope it's made it worthwhile for her, though I doubt she'll want to repeat the experience. When we return we convince the boatsman to do it in 2 runs. It's pitchdark now and the waves are even rougher. Plus, we have full bellies and the Chinese are looking green. It's much smoother this way. After a well deserved beer nextdoor we settle in for the night. It's been a great christmas.

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The next days we have not done much, except read one book per day, swim, eat and sleep. Really nice and relaxing. One day we felt a little guilty cause we hadn't being doing much and we rented a mopped to go around, and got to know the others part of town that we hand't seen yet. Old Lanta town and also went looking for a hat for chiel, since he has already lost two.

It is a bit of a shame to leave this island cause we have been hear 8 nights, i think the longest that we have spent in any place during the whole trip.

today we had our last swim together almost when the sunset was finished, but we had to hurry up so the mosquitos wouldn't catch us.

This is the end of the trip of Chiel and me on our own, as tomorrow we are meeting Ipanema and her boyfriend, and after my father and a mate of his.
I actually can't wait to see everybody again.

lots of love
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