Night Rider

Trip Start Nov 19, 2010
Trip End Dec 19, 2010

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Where I stayed
Lanta Nice Beach Resort Ko Lanta
Read my review - 1/5 stars

Flag of Thailand  ,
Thursday, December 9, 2010

In good news, the sun found me! In bad news, it resulted in quite the sunburn. 

Anyone who has ever traveled with me/known me for more than 10 seconds knows that I am quite anal retentive about sunscreen given that I have a penchant for burning quite quickly.  I am not opposed to garnering some form of bronzed colour, however, I generally do so gradually since otherwise I am red like a lobster quite quickly.

On Wednesday, Pa and I got up a little late and went for the worst breakfast in the history of time.  After filling myself full of toast and tea, I decided to go to the beach for a bit since it was sunny.  P decided to head to a coffee shop close by to grab a real, not instant like our shit hotel, coffee and meet me at the beach.  After about 30 minutes I got a message saying he was going to stay there and work for a bit.  So, I headed to the beach myself.

Armed with mountains of sunscreen and my ipod, I settled down in between islands of Germans (seriously, it's like our hotel was a magnet for them) and lay around for about 30 minutes.  At that point my ADD kicked in and I went to go play in the massive waves.  Another hour or so passed and no sign of Parin.  At the 2 hours on the beach mark I was drying off in the sun when he showed up.  I grabbed the key from him and went to the room to reapply sunscreen and rest in the shade for a bit. 

Note, reapplying sunscreen actually did happen.   And I wasn’t burnt when I did it.

After about 30 minutes I headed back to the beach to play in the waves, P was eating at that point.  After 45 minutes I decided to have a shower and cool off and then go kick around and find something to do.  This is the point when I realized I was burnt. 

So basically, I spent 2 hours in the sun without a problem.  Reapplied sunscreen and spent 45 minutes in the sun and got burnt on the weirdest parts of my body.  I mean, in good news, I have colour!

Anyway, the rest of the day was fairly low key partly due to my stupid burn.  In the early evening after showering I decided to go for a walk while P wanted to work more.  I told him I’d be back in about an hour if he wanted to go for dinner.  He was very insistent that he did at that point since it was his last night and he had yet to do anything.  

I had literally walked across the street from our hotel to take a picture of the gorgeous sunset when I made a new friend.  Joe is a guy from Chicago who is in his early to mid-50’s I would guess.  He struck up a conversation with me as he had come down to take pictures as well and had apparently seen me on the beach earlier and wondered if I was on my own.  I explained that I was not but my friend was working so I had planned to take a walk before dinner.  He invited me to join him and his friends for a drink instead and as a result I met Dennis and Renata, a Dutch couple in their early to mid-40’s (I would guess) and Stewart, an Essex bloke who is know a bartender in Lanta and opening his own place next year.

We had a ball.  They made me try this crazy Dutch liqueur that they are importing to the States (Jan’s) which was amazing and I suggested that they should bring it into Canada.  Folks, I think I may have garnered myself some contract work doing writing and promotions for these guys.  The dream, she be a starting.  We chatted about traveling (they have been everywhere and never have I been so jealous of a group of people in my entire life) and music and interests and just nice conversation overall.  Stewart entertained me with tales of why he came to Thailand and details about the Thai Mafia that I would never have known otherwise. 

Essentially, all the Tuk Tuk drivers are in the mafia and the vast majority of Thai people are indebted to the mafia for one reason or another.  There are rules left right and centre that are impossible to understand and it is an inescapable part of Thai life since the police and politicians are also in their pocket.  The reason that scams like the one that we fell prey to exist is because they are mafia run scams (which the tourist police had mentioned) and no one will stop them.  The reason no one outside Thailand talks about these aspects of Thai life is because the mafia makes it so that no one can prove anything so you end up looking like a paranoid person if you try and prove anything exists.  It’s bad enough that if you are in an accident, any kind, but especially with a Tuk Tuk (whether you are in the Tuk Tuk or just the Tuk Tuk is involved in the accident) you will pay.  End of story.  It matters not whether you are at fault, according to them; you are and will be putting out the money to cover their costs.

Eventually P joined us and after having a drink we headed to dinner and dined on some excellent fresh crab.  After our meal we went back to the bar and had another drink with folks we had met.  I had mentioned to Joe earlier that I was planning on renting a scooter and scooting around the island later on that day.  He said he would love to join so I told him I would let him know when I was going to leave and do so.  Before we left that night he asked me if that was still the plan and I confirmed that yes, it was, and that Parin had decided to join as well.  I said I’d come find him the next morning and we headed back to our hotel to get some sleep.

We didn’t start scooting until early afternoon the next day.  Somehow we killed the whole morning doing useless things since it was so frigging humid it was almost impossible to move.  But then, came the fun adventure of the week!  We scooted into the National Park on the world’s worst roads (unpaved, massive potholes, very hilly and slick, but MONKEYS!), we explored some beautiful homes for sale (anyone want to split with me?), we headed to a viewpoint that Stewart had recommended that wasn’t on any tourist map and was the highest building on the island (apparently there are sanctions about this- long story but very interesting) and then we headed into Old Town and took some photos and wandered a bit.  By the time we left Old Town it was dark and I managed to mini-crash my scooter into a ditch.  In good news, I was fine other than a slightly scraped toe.  In better news, the scooter was fine as well!  The woman at our hotel who had taken quite a shine to me had been very concerned with my safety when going out on the scooter so I felt quite proud of myself that the only injury I sustained was due to my own stupidity in the end.

After dropping off the scooter, P booked a kayaking and monkey tour for Friday morning (I hope you are all noting that I left at 7:15 Friday morning so the one day I wasn’t there he finally did something after I had lectured him all week about learning to take a fucking vacation. Amazing) and I went and showered to get ready for dinner.  We ended up spotting the folks at Stewart’s bar so we had a bite to eat there with them and a drink before heading back to the hotel so I could pack. 

7:15 is not what one would call my most productive hour of the morning. 

In the end, I loved Lanta.  Much more than I thought I would and I absolutely will go back there again.  I would like to, in all seriousness, buy a small place there both as an investment as a vacation place.  It’s currently not very touristy and is a beautiful place with many interesting islands around to explore.  The people were super friendly (some young Thai guy helped us get my scooter out of the ditch and only laughed at me a little) and interesting.  There were lots of opportunities to do things and it’s close enough to various places to make it worthwhile as a jumping off point.  Loved it, is my point.

What I didn’t love, however, was the 10 hour trip yesterday to get from Lanta to Samui.  In a nutshell, it went like this: 7:30-10:30 minibus where my knees were jammed into my jaw and the rudest Canadians I have ever met were sitting in front of me, 10:30-11:30 waiting for next minibus (noting, I was not supposed to change buses at all), 11:30-11:45 crowded minibus ride to middle of nowhere, 11:45-12:30 waiting for big bus (met three great Euro women who made the later boat trip and this waiting time manageable.  Their company will not be forgotten as they had all also travelled a lot and had many interesting stories and recommendations to make), 12:30-3:45 bus trip on the most vile bus in the history of time- grimy, dirty, smelly, bug infested and disgusting in every way, 3:45-4:00 panic to get everyone on the boat, 4:00-5:15 boat trip to Samui.  Never have I wanted a shower as badly as I did last night.

But that’s another story for another day. 
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My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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