Wednesday, July 06, 2005

return to elephant island

koh chang. with much trepidation, i managed to stop bickering with 'o' long enough to almost break our necks in a seatbelt-less taxi with a maniacal driver (i had a full on panic attack imagining scenes of our destruction and had to make him pull over, after which we screeched across three high-speed lanes to brake loudly to a stop and he yelled insults in thai at me. sigh....) to get to ekamai station in time to catch the night bus to trat. (blurrrrrr....) until we arrived in the pouring rain at a dark 5 in the morning and sat blinking in the bustling night market watching fish jump out of the buckets, sleepy women in sarongs carving designs into pineapples, boys with new haircuts stacking vegetables onto tables, and 'o' and i slurping hot pork broth.

we got a private truck to take us to the car ferry 30 minutes or so away, which took us on an additional 40 minutes on the morning sea to koh chang. ah, the lush tropical jungle home i spent far too long indulging myself on.... 'o' and i panicked last minute and couldn't decide which beach to stay on or if we would even be safe on this island due to certain enemy presence.... we decided to brave the ride to lonely beach. at 8 in the morning and still bleary-eyed from the whirlwind mountain taxi ride, we were utterly shocked into a standstill by our old home. i can no longer recommend siam beach resort as a good place to stay, since certain of 'o''s stupid ex-friends built a bar right on the prime beachfront, which is thus totally trashed (think white trash digs in the US) which leaves me with no old home to worship :(. i was quite verbally unhappy.

we wandered down the beach to see that it was virtually deserted- no bars otherwise, a totally re-vamped but silly looking nature restaurant. siam huts looked like slum ruins and the beach has been swamped with rocks. we shrugged at each other, frowned, and ran back for the songthaew headed to the other end of the island, shaking our heads in a daze, and finally at white sand beach in some hoity toity overpriced hotel on the main road, we stayed.

our room smelled like indeterminable bodily fluids. but it had a huge bed with clean white sheets on which to completely pass out.

woke to stand on a balcony overlooking construction on the beach. (well... that's white sands for you). the beach isn't too bad, and there aren't many people there now. there are nice thais in the cafes (we drank a beer in tantawan with old musician friends and a poor beach seller friend from isaan whose wife left him recently, taking absolutely everything he had, leaving him waiting for her at her family's house feeling stupid and in vain. he was sad.) we rented a motorbike asap.

the drive from white sand beach to lonely beach is the main reason i love this island. i don't like to come back to a place, but when i do there are certain rituals which give me endless pleasure, and feeling the wind make it's way through thick trees from the ocean towards me racing on the side of a cliff to the top is one of them. once there, we dodged familiar faces and grabbed a decent room at nature beach resort. 'o' and i passed out again for awhile (snoring with developing colds) and awoke in the afternoon to go driving. we found our old gentle hippie friend 'd' at his small cafe deep in the jungle. he has nice cats and dogs, good music, and a barbecue. we drank beer with him and an australian girl who is living there and gossiped a bit. utterly serene in the thick singing jungle.

later we watched boys throw sticks at a poisonous green viper, visited a thai family in kae bae in the sun, raced to the market in klong prao to select fresh seafood and vegetables for grilling, and shared a lovely but very draining social evening with old friends, and the new set of long-term farangs which have shown up to take my place (they all think they know everything about thais and talk shit about each other, sigh... i can't say i miss the community there much). our friend from bangkok had joined us and we walked home together amiably drunk to our huts in the rain on the pitch black jungle road.

sleep. 'o' restless. i can't face another day of gossip. i tell 'o' to leave me alone and go keep his friend company, and sleep late, guiltily cozy on the huge bed, with the sun leaking through the bamboo slats, geckos tickling my feet, and the waves lapping at the sand outside.

after a cool shower i snuck up to the restaurant and tried to avoid my old acquaintances there with whom i am cripplingly shy, but failed. i pretended to read a book in the corner and scarfed down a club sandwich. 'o' and his pal joined me and drank a beer, sprawling with pillows on the mats and smoking. we watched the sun drop low. the dark clouds burst.

decided nevertheless to visit our friends in bang bao, and raced there on the wet road. they have 3 beautiful, bamboo and palm places hidden in the jungle next to a private beach. the mosquitoes were alarming but otherwise we felt as though we had left everything. it rained softly and the animals tiptoed out of the forest to circle our huts. we ate piles of fresh fruit picked from the market, listened to music, and chatted with our thai artist and musician friends about their very nice lives. crawled back out of the jungle to overeat and get drunk one last time at the treehouse bar perched on the rocky shore, and tiptoed back to our little huts to sleep with the drumming rain to lull us.

woke. and left. a lot of the above in reverse, in the rain.

my new bangkok wheels that i am too scared to ride in the street

now back in bangkok i am freaking out. my lease is up in 3 weeks and i can't decide which jaded expat community i want to join (bangkok, koh chang, or koh phangan?), how to get a house there with an internet connection, and whether or not to break it off with 'o' (who wants to stay in bangkok with his slimy little friends). hoping that the answers fall into place.


james said...

This is a great site. I especially enjoy the writing and also the older blogs you have attached.
You seem to be doing what many of us would love to do.

11:02 PM  

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