Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Freewheelin’ in S.E.A - Day 27: Mermaids and Fishermen

At 8am, the banging in my dreams started again. I awoke to find that it had now manifested itself into reality, as a bunch of builders were gathered just outside, chucking slabs around whilst smoking cigarettes simultaneously. We somehow suffered it for another few hours before waking up tired around 10am. We looked up another hotel in a different part of town which was meant to be near a fisherman’s village, and hailed a cab to take us there in the hope of some peace and quiet. The fact that the driver was charging us over £8 for a ten minute drive wasn’t the best start for him, nor was it bettered by the fact that we were still a way away from the village itself at this new hotel and wanted him to take us a little further, a concept which he couldn’t grasp. We begrudgingly offered to pay extra, but he was having none of it. He and Sarah ended up both shouting at each other for a few minutes before I had to step in, telling him to quieten down and chill out. Sarah was emotionally drained and upset at this point so we just gave up trying to reason, gave him his 400 baht and checked into The Mermaid Resort, about two kilometres away from where we wanted to be.

The hungry fisherman
After checking in, we went straight for our first bite of beach life, walking through the expensive side of an adjacent resort and onto the awaiting sand. Unfortunately for us, there wasn’t much of it. The beach itself was a long, narrow strip, with no more than twelve feet of sand between the ocean and the face of each resort. Despite this, and the overcast sky, we set down for a few hours, reading, watching a fisherman laying out circles of nets, listening to The Beatles, swimming, watching the fisherman retrieve his empty nets from the cold, emerald water, and catching a few spells of sun before resorting to our resort, where I sat writing around the empty pool for another hour, then showered. Less sand, more man, we entered a three-walled wooden shack down the street, hiring another scooter so Sarah could shoot us around for the evening.
The Big Buddha, just chilling...
First stop, we headed north for a few minutes and hung a Louis towards Wat Phra Yai, home of the islands most famous landmark, The Big Buddha. We paid our respects, and inspected the surroundings, shaking another pot of fortune sticks and collecting our numbers from the first ones which fell to the floor. I found the corresponding translation, which was even less coherent than the ones you find on Google, failed to relate, removed my shoes and moved on, up the stairs towards the Lord. He was big and gold, like Mr T’s jewellery, and surrounded by more jewels than the Queen, however, the area seemed pretty dilapidated, probably due to the fact that they didn’t charge us to visit and therefore can’t generate enough for its upkeep. If I had a big golden Buddha statue, I’d polish it like Ron Jeremy’s trophy penis. The ferry port was nearby, so we quickly rode there to book tickets for our escape to Koh Phangan for the following afternoon, then drove to the fishing village, Bo Phut, which seemed more like Shoreditch-on-sea, with its vast array of overpriced eateries in decent looking buildings, littered with more shops selling the same over-priced shit. Everywhere seemed too dear. I don’t mean to moan, I can afford to eat out in London once in a while, but I couldn’t afford to do it every night of the week. However those are the sort of prices each restaurant was offering, so we had to once again bite the bullet. We’d seen a Mexican joint on the way in, so we walked there, but were told as we seated that they couldn’t serve any Mexican food that night. I thought the lady was having me on, but it turned out that their chef was ill. I was bemused by this as cooking Thai or Mexican is pretty similar, and considered offering my services to quickly whip something up, but there was another place down the road, so we went there instead. We shared a few dishes which ranged from disappointing to underwhelming, paid our extortionist for the rank food and headed back to our bike, glad to be leaving the next day.

Back at our hotel, the film channel was showing Good Will Hunting, so we popped another tramadol and I got writing whilst Sarah watched. After that, Goodfellas came on, which somewhat distracted me from the task at hand. “GO GET YER FUCKIN’ SHINE BOX, TOMMY!”. This was immediately followed by Gran Torino, then a stupid Adam Sandler comedy called Grandma’s Boy. I’d had enough of writing, smoking and watching by this point, but was happy to see Half Baked come on just as I was getting ready to sleep. I realised at this point that the films were being screened in alphabetical order, and probably being broadcast from someone’s computer hard-drive, somewhere across the island. If I were being harsh, I’d probably go so far as to say this channel was the best thing about Koh Samui. This channel WAS the best thing about Ko Samui. Remember, remember the fifth of November, Ko Samui is shit.

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