We’re now in Krabi Town, which seems like the biggest town we’ve been in so far, other than Bangkok, which I don’t really count s we never left Khaosan Road. How we got here was a trip, let me tell you (I made a pun), but more on that later.
Ko Tao: Never have I seen more Englishmen and Germans in my life. It was like being on the front lines of World War II, if that war were fought topless and the goal was to be the first to obtain pancakes. Actually, that could lead to a fairly homoerotic war.
Maybe it’s because they’re tourists, or young, or just shirtless that made me despise them so. I just found them obnoxious. Ko Tao is more of a party place, which we weren’t expecting and didn’t want; or at least the stretch of Soiree Beach is. Our goal coming here was to escape everything back home and relax and soak up the culture as much as possible, and that won’t happen if there’s a bunch of drunken, topless, Europeans running around jamming to the stylish beats of Justin Bieber.
I’m sitting across from Jay (who is awesome) and she just finished off a pancake, which she describes as “the best thing I’ve ever had in my life.” They don’t mess around with food in this country.
We were debating leaving Ko Tao after just two days, but decided to stay a third to kayak and find a better snorkeling spot. We down-graded our bungalow from AC to just a fan, and even though the AC didn’t seem strong, it makes a difference.
Anyway, kayak and snorkeling equipment rented, and we’re off!
We find ourselves in the ocean, looking at the coast that’s covered in rocks. And crabs. Crab covered rocks. Absolutely no place to dock the kayak as the water was too deep to get back in and the barnacles on the rocks so sharp, I actually cut my thumb on one while trying to stop. It was such a tease; having all this beautiful, clear water around you, splashing you, and all you can do is put your hand in for a bit of respite.
You know how you see movies or postcards and the water is this amazing blue color? You think it’s photoshopped or fake? Nope. That’s real. Just the most heavenly blue you can imagine; the movies and postcards don’t do it justice to your own sight. Sorry if this isn’t news, but coming from Toronto, the water is always a putrid green, and rarely safe to swim in. “At your own risk” as the signs say.
So north we go. And go. And go.
After about two hours of paddling in the ocean, we find a small beach called Mango Bay. Ah, so this is where the Italians are!
It’s much smaller and more desolate than Sairee Beach, and also, unlike our beach, the water and reefs are much better, not just because no one here seems like they’re trying out for an MTV reality show. Two or three meters down, you can still see the ocean floor from the surface without putting your head in the water. Also, I just confirmed a suspicion of mine…
Fish really freak me out. A lot.
Actually, not all fish. Backstory time!
When I was a lot younger, my grandparents had a cabin somewhere in north New York State, around North Tanawanda I want to say. There were two lakes (man made) side by side; one for fishing and one for swimming. In the swimming one, there was a dock in the middle. Well, I got lazy one day and decided to just float on the dock. Doesn’t a fish come up and chomp down on my nipple?
Obviously, I freaked out and swam as fast as I could to shore. I was so betrayed. I thought the fish and I had a good thing going on. How could they betray my trust like that? I felt ashamed and victimized that I ever trusted fish.
I tell Jay this story the first time we went snorkeling. She doesn’t believe the fish bit me. No one ever does. Just now, I’m reminded that fish bite when it’s about to rain. Ever since then, I’ve felt towards fish the way Chris Cooper does in Adaptation – Fuck. Fish.
Now I realized their attitude towards me is “Fuck. Carey,” because they seem to have gotten the word out world wide.
I swallow my fear, strap on snorkeling equipment, and make the plunge with Jay towards the reefs. I’m actually digging this; the water is as clear as glass, the fish are interesting, and the reefs are alive and colorful. Everything is very interesting. Then, the blue striped bastards come out.
They’re fairly tiny, about the palm of my hand, but they have no respect. None. Have you ever made eye contact with a fish? That’s weird. The other fish, even the squid, would just go about their business, and they’d let me go about mine. We were cool like that. Not these blue bastards though. They lock eyes with you and swim into your nightmares. All the flapping, pushing, and screaming do nothing to deter them. They know they’re more agile than you are.
After yelling “nope!” and swimming to shore, I sit on the sand bank, in very shallow water, and Jay joins me. She’s laughing of course, because that’s what we do; we laugh at each other, and just then one of these blue striped hyenas comes up and chomps on my leg! The word about me is definitely out.
Jay, again, doesn’t believe me. She tries to wade into the fish, to see if she’ll get bit, but chickens out at the last moment. This makes me feel oddly justified.
We snorkel a bit more then decided it’s getting late and we have to return the gear, and don’t want to use all of our energy as a long trek awaits us. We head back.
By the time we return to our beach, we’re both exhausted. Part of me expects a hero’s welcome. Remember what I said about safety? We were gone five to six hours. No one came to check on us. We were kayaking in the ocean, and gone a long time, far out of sight of anyone, and no one bothered to see if we were alive. That’s still taking some time to get used to.
No hero’s welcome on our return. We return the kayak and Jay finds a map, pointing out that we had just went to Mango Bay. The guy who rented the gear to us overhears and says “that’s far.” Boom! All the justification I need. We walk off like winners.
We pass out pretty early that night watching Hateful Eight. We kayaked, swam, and snorkeled in the ocean. What did you do today?
This part won’t seem important, but when you’re solely relying on Wifi, it becomes pretty imperative to you. It determines most places you go; from coffee, food, to sleep. Grab it while you can!
During one of our meals, I remembered I don’t have much entertainment on my phone, so I download about thirty books for the ereader I have on my phone. I use Moon Reader for anyone interested, and in that app, it gives you resources for hundreds, if not thousands, of books for free, or to pay for. I’m cheap so I opt for the free ones. Don’t expect any contemporary works. Both Moon Reader and Google Books come with about three or four pre-loaded books.
Jay, an avid reader of physical books, has even crossed over to ereaders. I was a lover of physical books too, but using an ereader takes minimal time to adjust. Also, like I said, you can carry hundreds of books around with you on your phone. That beats physical books alone. If you decided to travel, I highly recommend getting a couple of apps and stocking up on reading material. It’ll come in handy late at night when you don’t understand Thai TV or not wanting to watch another Nic Cage movie, or just during the traveling itself.
We’re currently sittign outside of a coffee shop, both writing, her on her laptop (still no idea why it started working again) and me in my notebook. I never would have guessed we’d be outside of a coffee shop on a sidewalk in Thailand, writing away. For some reason I feel French. It reminds me of the final scene in The Dark Knight Rises when Bruce Wayne and Alfred lock eyes in that cafe in Paris.
This is getting very long so I’ll break it up a bit here.