Back on the mainland!
08.02.2014 - 14.02.2014
I realized a while ago that I've never spent more than a week’s time on a place with a beach. Like, ever. Ko Phangan was not the exception. People and friends kept telling me to stay for the full moon party; what was the point of leaving just before the main event? But as the week came to an end, I really wasn't enjoying the place anymore. So it’s now in my wake, party or no. I took a ferry and left the islands. In a matter of hours I was back on the mainland, paradise gone. It wasn't really paradise for me though.
It must be said, there’s more to Ko Phangan than the party. It is a beautiful place, with clear water to snorkel or dive, and plenty of jungly hiking trails crisscrossing the island. I met some great people there, found my own gaze reflected on stranger’s eyes more than once. It’s a great feeling, to look into someone’s eyes briefly, and knowing you’re the same as him. No words spoken. None needed.
I guess my experience would have been a bit different if I’d arrived somewhere else on the island. But I got to Haad Rin, party center. Just a two hour hike north lies another, hippier (the wealthy kind of hippie) place, Haad Tien. Or there's the more relaxed Ban Kai, slightly west up the beach. They seem nice enough! But Haad Rin wasn't my kind of paradise. Don’t go there if broke!
And it’s not the easiest place to meet people either, and it's not just my impression. Being a big party place, lots come in tight groups, or in couples, and are not really open to chatting. Still people talk about how much sex you can have in this party land. Yet I’m not very into drunken chicks, and sober girls are being constantly harassed by drunken vultures, so we honest folk get offed away with the rest... I did make friends with people in my hostel though! Two Chilean students who slept right next to me (no such a thing as privacy in the Hostel), and there was a couple that I got along with. He is a traveler too, of similar spirits, and was celebrating his 28th birthday there. I get the feeling we'll meet again somewhere.
I took to long walks along the beach, or over gorgeous wooden bridges that round some rocky outcroppings, so you walk with the waves crashing under you. Every time I walked back on a road someone stopped to offer me a ride. A Canadian traveler, a French diving student, a German tourist and a Korean partygoer, they all brought me to or from Haad Rin on their scooter, nothing else than a smile in return. Not to mention the trucker that brought me from the small pier to the main ferry station in Koh Samui! I was wondering what to do, chatting at a juice stand, when he spurted "I’ll take you! No charge!" I’m not going to wait for someone to say this twice! He almost got me to the mainland for free, and was sad that he couldn't get me any further. And that wasn't the only one! Once in the train station, a woman waved a couple pieces of papaya at me, so I made my way over. I made sure she wasn't trying to sell anything to me, then sat down on my rucksack. She didn't speak English, but kept on talking anyway. From time to time she would use some english word and I'd get a glimpse of understanding. But mainly it was just nodding, smiling sheepishly, eating papaya and refusing her rice and curry. We waited until my train arrived, and then I left for Bangkok. In the end she pushed a 20 baat bill and a handkerchief into my satchel, and I offered her one of mine in return. I will never know even her name or story, yet I carry her handkerchief.
Not all is cheer and joy in Thailand though. Only most of it. As of yet, the only item I've lost is my water bottle, snatched from my bag when inside the luggage compartment in a bus. Not a great loss, especially considering I got it from a trash can in Oregon. But it was a good water bottle, I hope it serves its new master well. So there’s that, and the fact that that I caught a cold on that last night train to Bangkok. I can’t remember the last time I was sick, so I guess I was overdue. So no news from Bangkok! Even though I’m in this bright new city, all I want to do is crawl under a blanket and sleep.
And I’d rather sacrifice two days resting up in Bangkok, for I intend to catch the 05:55 train tomorrow to Cambodia. I’ll visit finally one of the few places in the world that give me a physical reaction upon thought: the Angkor complex.
Meanwhile, the introspective journey continues. I think I found a path to follow, on one of those beach walks. I bought a plane ticket back to Turkey, for April. And it seems I may meet my sister there. After months away both of us, that would be awesome. And it's back to Europe after that. But April's far away! A whole month!
So see you after the ruins!