We're 'very bad' in Haad Salad!

Trip Start Sep 09, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Monday, March 31, 2008

We arrived in Thailand and our mission was clear: Smelly and Matt arrive tomorrow for a week's holiday so find some accommodation slightly more 'comfortable' than what we're now used to... in other words a tiled bathroom, a bed WITHOUT mysterious stains, a Western toilet, AC (for them) and the least amount of 'in-house pets' possible! We even had a TV in our room - we were living it up to the max!

We arrived at the airport nice and early the next day, armed with our 'The Waltons: Party of 2' welcoming sign and the plan was for us to hide, making Smelly & Matt believe we weren't there, and then jump out to surprise them. This lasted all of 5 seconds once they'd arrived as excitement got the better of Charlie and she jumped out, waving up at the arrivals balcony like a mad woman with a huge grin on her face!

Matt then got on the back of the bike with me and I gave him a first-hand taster of Asian roads - within a few minutes people were driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway towards us! - as we shot off back to the bar to watch the football whilst the girls took the local bus with the suitcases... we're such gents! They also brought with them a whole host of goodies - big thank you's to my Ma & Pa for the toiletries and travel bits n bobs (especially the body spray - Charlie's not smelt that good in ages!), to Craig & Fiona for the Aldershot programmes and DVD, the tanning tablets (ha ha, very funny!!) and the Pic n Mix/sweeties, and of course to Smelly & Matt for the brand new travel Scrabble, the Haribo Tangfastics and all the other bits from Charlie's very strange but vital list!

We decided to base ourselves in Railay for the week as we'd been told good things about the beaches. When we arrived to a grey-black dirty sand beach which was filled with boats, half-covered in mangrove trees with the water right up to the path at high tide we sensed Smelly and Matt were doubting our 'tour guide' qualities. Luckily, after checking in (they took the resort with a pool and rooms with AC and fresh laundry daily whilst we settled for a mattress on the floor, a shower that smelt of sewage and a toilet that smelt of cabbage!) we discovered Tham Phra Nang beach on the other side of the mini Railay peninsular. Phra Nang is a beautiful beach with a pretty stunning backdrop of the Phra Nang caves. The sand was white and soft, throughout the day you could see monkeys climbing across the face of the cliff, the snorkeling was really good and the Thai ladies on the beach sold cracking barbecued chicken, spring rolls and ice cold Chang beer - their confidence in us was restored!

One of the days on Railay we took a boat out for an island trip around the area. The first island (Koh Tup) gave great snorkeling as well as the chance to watch a Bollywood movie being filmed on the beach - extravagant dance routines finished off with the guy and the girl pulling a 'face-the-camera-and-point' pose bringing the memories of many an Indian bus journey coming flooding back! The trip also took us to Chicken Island, named after the large rock formation which is said to look like a chicken. To me, it looked more like the evil penguin from Wallace & Gromit's 'The Wrong Trousers' - maybe the guy who named the island was fooled by the rubber glove...

Smelly also celebrated her birthday while they were out here, giving Matt and I the chance to spend the afternoon drinking beer and enjoying the peace and quiet whilst the girls went for a pedicure. The evening saw drunkenness aplenty and the girls falling asleep in the middle of a card game - some things never change!

Smelly and Matt left us to return to the cold wet and miserable weather while we moved on to Koh Lanta for more sunny beaches (not that we're rubbing it in, honest...). Our second day there saw us meet up again with some old traveling buddies in Kate and Darren (AKA Adrienne and Rocky/Dorothy and Tin Man from the Kathmandu Halloween night!) and after a couple of days' catching up over a few Chang's we moved on to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon party. The ant bites I'd picked up in Malaysia still weren't healing and the 'disease' as Charlie so lovingly referred to it as was by now spreading over my back and had become infested with little parasites (it's OK, we've left out the photos of this!) so I was on some medium-strength antibiotics. 'Don't worry' everyone told me, 'you can still drink on those things, you just get drunk a bit faster'... I was a mess. A few beers and a bucket of whisky and coke sent me stumbling about all over the beach: I don't even remember meeting up again with Kyle and Amanda (AKA 'Camel Toe' from the Kathmandu Halloween night) or apparently dancing with and getting 'a bit close' to a blatant ladyboy... thank God Darren came to my rescue (eventually, although not before they'd all stood watching and had a good laugh!) For once it was Charlie struggling to take ME home in a state: revenge at last. As for the party, I've been told it was great and the little bits I do remember (and have been shown photos of) were excellent!

Needing a bit of 'downtime' after the Full Moon exploits we headed North on Koh Phangan up to Thong Nai Pan beach for a few lazy days. We checked into a nice - that's to say 'Tom and Charlie nice' not 'Smelly and Matt nice'! - resort with a pool and were suitably chilled and recovered (despite our 'plumbing problems' - see video at bottom of page!) to celebrate my birthday: an afternoon by the pool with a few beers before the 6 of us headed out to a few bars for drinking games, improvised Pictionary and a few cheeky 'top ups' from the bottle of Sangsom we were carrying round with us. The night ended with a brief candle-lit power cut and the DJ refusing to play any more songs as Charlie and Kate pelted him with cushions. Charlie decided to provide the music herself and, donning a sombrero she'd stolen from God-knows-where, walked around the bar 'playing' a guitar until we were asked to leave! A good night all round then.

Next stop in Koh Phangan was Haad Khuad, or 'Bottle Beach' - we moved here on the strict instructions of Kirsty n Kev who claimed the chicken kievs there were the best they'd ever tasted!? Luckily, the beach was also beautiful and very peaceful - probably our favourite of the Thai beaches in fact - so the trip wasn't just food-based (although we have to admit the kiev was very good)! The only downside of the beach was the guy working at our bungalows who went by the name 'No Name' (crazy!) and replied to every question, comment or conversation with "Yeah for sure why not, bang bang chicky-chicky bang bang"!? We steered clear of him...

We finished up on Haad Salad (Charlie liked the name!) courtesy of our toothless and half-blind taxi boat driver, and via yet another pharmacy where my 'disease' was diagnosed with yet another condition but yet another doctor/pharmacist/idiot in a white coat (as you can tell I was getting a bit fed up by now) - this time I was told I had white lice herpes (ooh, that's a new one!) and was prescribed yet another different form of antibiotics/cream treatment. The most surreal part came when we were waiting for my drugs and this shady-looking Canadian guy shuffled in, avoiding all eye contact and asked the girl behind the counter who much their valium was. When she gave him the price he asked whether he could get a cheap price if he bought 400!?

Haad Salad actually turned out to be a bit of a disappointment after Bottle Beach - we were told it had a coral reef which was great for snorkelling but this has been destroyed and is still being destroyed further by all the boats that pass in and out of the bay, which is a real shame but unfortunately not the first time we've seen it in Thailand. The funniest part of our 2 days there was when we passed an ultra-pricey resort with a fantastic pool. We were both hot and in need of cooling down so we thought we'd chance it. After being turned in by an eagle-eyed waiter (grass!) the owner came out and quizzed us: our 'we've just checked in and can't remember our room number' argument fell on deaf ears and we ended up running out in our soaking wet swim gear giggling as he shouted after us "You are very bad!" Tee hee.

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