Thursday, 13 December 2012

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 26: Today’s salvation will be televised

After some well-spent time enjoying the north, it was time to go down south and finally experience some beach life, so we chucked our loads onto the back of a truck and headed back towards Chiang Mai’s airport. Due to time constraints, we couldn’t waste the best part of two days travelling down on numerous trains and buses, so instead forked out on a ninety minute flight which shot us straight into Koh Samui by mid-day. We realised soon after getting there that neither one of us had checked a weather forecast, both assuming incorrectly that it would be sunny. It wasn’t. It was gloomier than Jimmy Saville’s recently uncovered past, and started to rain as we rode towards Chaweng Beach. We got to a place called Z Hotel and hoped that its name wasn’t based on a rating scale. I checked out the room and it seemed nice, bright white walls and a Bob Marley stencilled canvas above the bed. “Alright Bob”, I said to our man, then turned to the manager saying we’d take it. He told us to return in an hour as the bed wasn’t made up, so we left our bags there and went off for a walk to see what was about. After going into a few shops it became apparent that shopping would be cheaper in London, where you aren’t quoted prices based on your complexion, so we headed back to check in to our hotel, and each other, after which I fulfilled my role as male by rolling over and going to sleep. After a few hours snoozing we awoke to the sound of crashing and banging outside of our ground floor window, and it turned out that a new hotel was being built next door, and they were still working at 7pm. Great news. We hit the street in search of somewhere to eat, and further realised that we’d made a big mistake. This place was a fucking cultureless tourist trap, offering overpriced everything, everywhere. We settled for one place on the beach after a long walk in disdain, witnessing the depressingly underwhelming faux paradise we’d found ourselves in. Why no one ever warned me against it, I’ll never know. You’d at least expect some great seafood, being on the beach and all, but I’ve made better calamari at home using frozen squid bought from my local Chinese supermarket in Hackney. How depressing. We bowled back, bemused, opting that an evening in together would greatly surpass that of going to a bar around there.

On recommendation from Rachael I’d picked up some tramadol in Cambodia, as she said they were a really strong painkiller with opiates which give a good high, so I gave them a try. We had no weed, as we had to finish it in Chiang Mai before flying, so we popped one each and stuck the telly on. In amongst the fuzzy Thai soap operas and foreign news, which I could just about ascertain was describing war everywhere and money ruling all, as always, I found one saving grace, a channel showing films in English. The first was the Martin Bashir documentary which he did on Michael Jackson. It was pretty sad viewing. We’ll never know for sure what he did and didn’t do behind closed doors, which I think is most likely bullshit stemming from the greed of immoral individuals and the media completing its celebrity cycle of building them up and then knocking them down, but either way he was clearly an abused individual, destroyed by those around him from an incredibly early age. I was feeling pretty mellow as I went outside to smoke one of my now favourite branded, Honghua Laotian cigarettes, and returned to find Sarah drifting off as Fight Club was just starting up on the screen. I sat up, in a blissful haze, and wrote a few days away as the film rolled on in front of me, and by the time I’d finished my down time, it was time to lay down. Finding Nemo was just starting, and I let it play in the background. As 4am became 5 sooner than I’d hoped, I finally slipped off the slope and slept.

I could hear builders banging outside, I was laying there, awake in my dream, getting more and more aggravated as it continued and rueing my luck at the choice of room and lack of warning I’d been given. It was too much. I woke up, realising it was still before 6am, and there was no building works currently happening outside. My earlier worries had obviously manifested themselves into my dreams, so I lay there, tired and then I heard it again. “BANG BANG BANG BANG” coming from somewhere outside my room. I opened the door to my room, shouted “SHUT UP”, slammed the door and then laid back on our bed. After a five more minutes of shouting and banging I walked out of our room and down the corridor in my boxer shorts, trying to see where the noise was coming from, but there was no sign of life, even my reflection in a hallway mirror didn’t seem to be there. Then all of a sudden a tubby Thai guy who I could only assume worked there came through the reception door. “What’s going on? I’m trying to sleep” I exclaimed. He looked at me blankly, I went back to bed.

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