May 27: I have arrived back in the States since the journal entry below was written. Thailand and the people I met was something I will not forget and is an experience I'll cherish forever. Who knows, perhaps one day I'll be fortunate enough to live in Thailand. It's such and easy place to live. If I don't have the chance to live there some day then I'll certainly make the long trip to visit as often as possible.
May20 ?: Rie and I visited the island of Koh Samui, on the west coast of Thailand, this week. We wasted little time and jumped in the water almost as soon as we arrived and played liked children, splashing in the water and swimming with a persisitant local dog, who swam with us as though we were old friends. The water was welcoming and as warm as bath water.
Koh Samui is a fantastic destination and has something for just about everyone: good food, quiet beeches or crowded beaches, discos that rival anything I’ve seen, scuba trips, jungle exploring…the only thing it doesn’t have that I would have liked to have is good snorkeling. For snorkeling, you have to go to one of the other islands or visit during the non-rainy season. The water isn’t clear enough here right now, partly due to the runoff. Unfortunately, Rie had to go back to Chiang Mai for work related stuff so I found myself alone for the first time since arriving in Thailand but, I did meet several really nice locals yesterday and they took me to a Thai buffet. Similar to an American buffet, with a variety of foods to choose from, but that is where the similarities end. The buffet consists of raw sautéed meats, veggies, herbs, soup, and some fried foods such as spring rolls. You load up your plate and take it back to your table where you cook it yourself on a coal burner in the center of the table. I was a little hesitant at first because the meat was just sitting out in the hot air but after the first bite, I was convinced. It was delicious. I tried some of the spicy Thai sauce and after about a half hour of dipping into the sauce my lips began to burn like hell fire. The soup helped to put out the fire but my stomach has been shaky all day today, probably due to the spices. After dinner, we went to the beach and had a drink before we were to go to the disco. We sat amongst the many Aussies, Brits, Germans, and locals at the beachfront bar. This was very different. There are numerous platforms with pillows and a small table in the center. You can either lay down or sit cross legged on these platforms which sit about two feet off of the sand. It’s very decadent but nice as you are only twenty feet from the rolling sea. There were several local people selling miscellaneous things to those at the bar, bizarre things ranging from having your picture taken with a monkey or large snake to having your own fireworks display. Apparently you can choose the fireworks and the locals will shoot them off right there next to you at the beach bar. I should tell you that these are not small fireworks, they are massive explosions in the sky and when the first one blew up over us I nearly fell off of our platform. There was some German person trying to impress his girlfriend by paying for his own fireworks display, which was probably 15 feet from where we sat. They were getting there picture taken with the monkey as the local man set up the fireworks to be launched from the sand. As he set them up, I told my new friends that I had read that Thai fireworks are notoriously dangerous and that I was going to hide under the platform until they finished their freak show. They laughed at me. So I braved it out as all the other people did and sat stoically, awaiting the fireworks display and certain death. The Thai person takes his cigarette and lights the fireworks that were stuck in the sand (probably about six in total) and two of them immediately fell over in the sand, 15 feet from our table mind you. As I saw this happening, I jumped from our platform and started to run but immediately fell to the sand. One of these things takes off across the sand and literally detonates 5 feet from me. The entire beach bar was showered with small fireballs and I nearly lost my hearing. It was the craziest thing I have ever seen. The cops were sitting right there and they didn’t even leave their seats. Nobody was hurt but I found it ironic that the one person who had probably read about the dangers of Thai fireworks (me) was the one who was actually the closest to the explosion. Go figure. With adrenalin coursing through our veins, we headed for the disco. This place was awesome, not a huge place by any means but it had a lot of character. An open-air disco, half covered in wooden Thai architecture with the other half open to a small pedestrian street and there were maybe 100 people there. The sound was amazing and we danced for about and hour and a half before I started to fade and needed to sleep. It was still in the 90’s with 100% humidity at 1am. I was completely drenched. The funniest thing I saw all night were these two German guys dresses up as Superman, with a cape and tight little red Speedos they had stuffed with something or other. I watched as the Thai girls kept grabbing their butts, which the German boys were not to pleased about but it made for some hilarious entertainment to say the least. I wish Rie could have been there, she would have enjoyed it. Today is my last day on the island before I head back to Chiang Mai to rendezvous with Rie. It’s an exceptionally calm day, the sea is almost glass calm and it’s overcast but still in the 90’s and humid. I’m spending the day on the beach, swimming and walking. It’s been very relaxing being here.