Day 85: Corona Commercial Moments

Trip Start May 20, 2008
Trip End Aug 19, 2008

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Friday, August 15, 2008

At around 7am, we were dropped off at our bungalow by a "sawngethew," a pick-up truck with benches in back doing triple duty as a taxi, a share taxi, or a public bus depending on who is riding it and where they are going. We were both pretty tired but resolved to press on with sightseeing and not waste any time napping. Ko Samui possessed only a fraction of Ko Phi Phi's beauty but was much larger and better developed, meaning there were roads, meaning we could rent mopeds and drive ourselves where-ever we needed to go! I did this in Bali with pretty good results, and the roads here were better than there. As for our mutual lack of international motorbike driving licenses, such things aren't paid much attention here just as traffic lights, speed limits, and general road safety is left up to the honors system. Due to the lack of traffic and general straightness of the roads, motorbiking around wasn't that hazardous.

The entire day was devoted to biking around the island's main ring road, making three significant stops en-route. The first was a sparkling if unremarkable beach, the second was a very remarkable beach next to the ferry pier which probably came closer to "stereotypical island paradise" than any other beach on the trip. With the 10min exception of a landscaping monk, we had the entire place to ourselves. The sandbar stretched far into the horizon with odd humps along the way, and the water was as warm and clear as a jacuzzi. Jeff walked off to nap in the middle of the inch-deep water (and played with some crabs apparently as well), while I, skin charred to a crisp, took refuge under a curvy coconut palm. We lazied about separately here for quite some time, napping or meditating or some combination of both. Nirvana had  been found.

After about an hour it was time to move on, and a waterfall in the island's interior made for our third stop. Getting to this waterfall from the parking area required a solid 40min hike each way up and down a nature trail, but as a passing Brit noted:
"It's so bloody wuhth it. Amazing."
It wasn't that amazing, but was worth the effort.

Hat Lamai was the quieter beach were our bungalow sat, but booming Hat Chaweng was the tourist and nightlife center so it was there that we traveled by way of sawngethew when nightlife time arrived. A friendly Italian family befriended us en route. Chaweng was a good deal identical to Kuta Beach in Bali, a decadent neon-lit strip of boutique shops, clubs, and fancy restaurants with windy smelly alleyways branching out from the sides. Kuta didn't smell thanks to the Balinese Hindus sprinkling flower pedals on every corner but Chaweng reeked of crappy-sewer-system syndrome. Oh well. The incredible cashew curry meal I had in a hole in the wall here made up for it. We never wound up clubbing, which was our intention, but did visit one bar where a GoGo-girl took a special interest in me buying her a drink or two. Jeff looked on snickering silently as I died inside awkwardly trying to fend off her attempts at seduction. Whether or not I should have? History will tell. Jeff got what was coming to him afterwords when we wandered through one GoGo-bar alleyway and I deliberately drifted a bit behind him, causing all the girls to assault him first and draw their fire while I darted by unscathed. When walking past a Thai GoGo-bar, its girls will flock out en-masse and literally grab onto you and try to yank you into their bars. It's half charming, half frightening. After passing a completely frightening transsexual cabaret, we'd had enough of this wasteland and withdrew to peaceful Hat Lamai for some much needed sleep. I think we might've walked through one beachfront club there as well, though we didn't spend much time in it.

---Vital Signs---
Food Poisonings = Zero
Blisters = Many
Bike Accidents = None
Amazing Abandoned Beaches Found = 1
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