Photos are here.
We got to sleep in a bit, as we didn't have to leave the house till 1.30. Left the packing off till the morning, naturally. had a great shower, got all shaved and smooth and ready for the beach.
We had the wonderful experience of getting to walk to the airport bus in a monsoonal downpour. It was crazy. The bags got all wet and so did I. Froze my ass off on the overly air conditioned bus and it occured to me that I was wearing flip flops and didn't have any socks to keep my feet warm on the plane. Ooops. But since it's the law of the universe that you have to forget at least one thing on every trip, at least it was the socks this time!
In the airport we wandered into a gift shop while looking for some socks. They sold these jewellery boxes for $120. I have one that I bought in Insadong, same size and style, for $40. Crazy. Didn't find any socks, so we went off and had some lunch. Lindsay wasn't a fan of curry, apparently it was her first time eating it.
The plane ride was fine, boring as always. I watched Ice Age II and listened to one of the two English radio stations. I missed having my iPod, but didn't want to worry about losing it or having it stolen. Between cameras and passports and airplane tickets, I figured I had enough to keep track of.
At the airport we arranged a hotel room for the night near the airport, with a free transfer over. It was quite a nice place, nicer than I would usually stay in. Had all sorts of little toiletries and stuff, all of which I either used or took. After all, that's why they charge more than hostels, right? ;) We just arrived, slept, showered, and ate breakfast at Ebina House.
So, Bangkok Airways is posh. Free drinks and snacks, free internet terminals in the departure lounge. Nice. Upon landing, I discovered that the airport has no walls. It is just a collection of thatched roof style buildings, open to the air. Very cool.
After only one day in Ko Samui, i was sooooo burnt. I have some very bizarre
tan lines. very, very bizarre. basically, i've burnt an outline of my bikini into my back. and that with using sunscreen all day, reapplying often, and lying in the shade. could it be any more obvious that i am of British descent? ;) i think "tomato teacher" may well become my next nickname...
Got a pedicure while lying on the beach and swam in the ocean and read a book. we splurged for a bungalow with air con, which wasn't really necessary. while nice and hot and sunny, koh samui lacks the humidity of seoul, so to me it wasn't really that hot. certainly didn't require air con.
had the best thai curry for dinner at our guesthouse and went to wander around the main strip of Lamui. We had a few beers and then went dancing at Bauhaus, the big club. there wass a foam party, which basically was just dancing to house music in a cordonned off area full of soap bubbles. It was fun, but weird, and I wasn't so fond of having gotten dressed up and put on makeup to be covered in foam. Also, there were a lot of children there till fairly late, which is understandable as I can see the appeal for children of the whole thing.
it was sooooo good to be away from 12 hour days at work. (though i kept trying to speak Korean to everyone!!!) Nice to just lie around and chill. We were staying at Lamai beach, which is a little less popular than Chaweng, so a bit more quiet and chilled, but still with some nightlife. Seemed a good balance. As well, it looks like Chaweng doesn't have much in the way of budget accomodation, and as i'm sure you
all know, i'm all about the cheap accomodation!
the beach was minutes from our door, gorgeous white sand and blue water and palm trees. it's wonderful. if teaching in thailand paid better, i'd be here in a
minute. granted, i said that about Cambodia too.
All in all, I went through books on the trip. She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb, which I had read before but barely remembered. Local Girls by Alice Hoffman, which was ok. Falling Leaves by Adeline Mah, which was good and I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson, which was my favourite of the lot. I traded a couple in at the used bookstore in Lamai - the selection there was soooo much better than in the used stores here in Korea. I guess it is all that book buying people do in anticipation of beach holidays. Who knew I would go to Thailand and come back with 10 books?
Saturday was really relaxing. Had a fantastic Thai massage with oils and then we just lay around all day. Went into Lamai for a meal and to do some souvenir shopping. Lindsay is a shopping queen. We saw some Thai boxing, which was cool. More dance like and with lots of kicking. Didn't look very tiring, but I am sure it is. Ate Magnum ice creams, which i very much miss from Europe. And there were tons of mating frogs on the path back to our bungalow upon our return. Island love ;)
we did a jeep tour of Koh Samui. rode on elephants and saw a very touristy elephant/monkey show. rode up the very bumpy and steep road to the top of the mountain for the view, which was fanatastically fun, and went to a statue garden and to see the big buddha temple. lindsay tried thai food for the first time and it made her ill, unfortunately.
my nose ended up bright red, in spite of my sun block efforts. i have also badly burnt the part of my hair. damn all that british blood.
after a day of snorkeling and kayaking, i was even more red if that is even possible. and i was wearing sunscreen the whole damn time.
We started with a light breakfast and a round of seasickness tablets. After my ferry from Jejudo experience, i am pretty sure I have a stomach of steel. That said, there seemed no reason to be silly and tempt fate. After an hour in a speedboat, being constantly sprayed by sea water, I was drenched and ready to snorkel for the first time. The water was murky but I could see fish, mostly yellow and black stripy ones. However, I had a slight technical hitch. Basically, I could take off my glasses and not really see very well or I could leave them on but then the mask leaked. Alternating between the two, I had a good time. I would love to snorkel somewhere more exciting, which more to see. It is fun.
We then went to an island with a lake (can't recall the name) that Leonardo Di Caprio jumps into in the movie The Beach. In fact, most of the movie was filmed in the national marine park at various locations. The lake was beautiful but the hike up a little tough on the ankle. Then lunch on yet another island with gorgeous white sand.
Finally, the kayaking trip. Open kayaks with rather short poles. On the way over I got to kayak with the very good looking guide. On the way back I was transfered over to help out an Asian couple, as they hadn't a clue. Much better workout being in the back and steering. The photos have a weird light quality to them that i love, but have no idea how i achieved.
We flew out early, in fact got bumped to an earlier flight on our arrival at the airport, to Bangkok. We just had the one day there as our flight back to Korea left at midnight. we went to see the emerald buddha, the grand palace and wat arun. wat arun was my favourite, especially because the decorations where made with things like purposefully broken plates. Very cool. I thought that the grand palace reminded me of a more ornate version of what I saw in Cambodia, and I kinda preferred the Cambodian version. They did have a model of Angkor Wat, for Thai people unable to visit the real thing. We had a long boat ride along the canals, so we got to see houses with lots of washing out and tons of potted plants. There were delapidated shacks, apartment buildings and nice looking houses all crammed together along the water. We were briefly in a market near the dock and then we took a tuktuk to khao san road, home of the backpackers, for some shopping. had a really good pad thai.
it was raining and dull, which at least means i couldn't burn any more!!!
i got back exhausted, with tons of laundry to do, and two bills waiting for me in my mailbox. but it is always nice to come home. Can't wait to hit the road again, of course!