Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Samui twoui

After a few days of self-imposed sightseeing in Phuket, we travelled to Koh Samui with the aim of spending a couple of weeks not doing very much, since I'd already done the mandatory day trips the first time round.

The plan was basically to transfer my regular, pleasantly boring life from a dull subdivision in the urban Philippines to a more scenic beachside resort on a Thai island, even if it was the most developed and tourist-sullied Thaisland north of Phuket. But if it had been a lesser-visited, undeveloped outpost I would have just complained about intermittent electricity and bad Wi-Fi wouldn't I? Paradise isn't worth it.

It wasn't exactly business as usual though, as Oliver and Shana staying on the island meant I actually had some social interaction with people older than five for a change. I also did my best to destroy any chance of serenity by finally taking legal action against the people who owe me a lot of money, which involved spending a lot more money and running around looking for an internet cafe with a scanner and a little less time reading at the beach and splashing in the sea.

Some people go on holiday to leave the stresses of life behind. I negotiate legal contracts.

Phuket to Koh Samui

I'd promised my girlfriend (not pictured; her luggage-free hands were evidently free to take photos) no more long bus trips after a few too many last year, and this one didn't go too far. It just took several times longer than it needed to as we circled around Phuket for two hours picking up passengers on an inefficient schedule seemingly designed by an obsessive, delusional driver who believed he wouldn't be allowed to cross the bridge to the mainland if he didn't first pass through every avenue like Pac-Man collecting invisible dots.

After an hour of actual progress with an overly casual woman making herself comfortable on my shoulder (at least she didn't dig her elbow into my groin all the way like that old man 'accidentally' did in Sri Lanka) we were dumped at a depressing half-way house while waiting to transfer to a poorly maintained bus that broke down after 20 minutes. I'd love to tell you I'm just a cursed, unfortunate soul who attracts bad experiences, but this is just how things work here.

Why do we keep patronising this country?

At least the delays meant we got to share the boat with Oliver, who'd been picked up for his return journey from Phuket about half an hour earlier than we had but still arrived at the pier later. It really seems like they could streamline these transfers if they'd just put some thought into it, but with thousands of tourists irrepressibly greasing the route daily even during times of national crisis, what's the incentive for them to bother?

When we arrived at our island getaway we were 'greeted' by the usual swarm of taxi driver pests, and I used my Wikitravel smarts to poo-poo their fictional 'official' rates (the paper's laminated, so it must be official?) and negotiate a price for a songthaew trip. But when the driver started picking up school kids along the way, and gloating to his mate about the gullible farang who he'd conned into paying ten times the usual price, it pushed my anger buttons in a way my dealings with taxi drivers and Filipino airport staff often do and I abandoned the vehicle to pay the same amount in a proper taxi without being made to feel like a moron.

'Meter' doesn't mean any of these things actually uses the meter, of course. It's informing you of the distance you'll be able to walk before being hassled by another one of these twats

I may have unleashed an explosion of consumer outrage in the driver's face as he tried to offer a slightly less insulting fare. It had been an unnecessarily long day. I have years of experience dealing with this shit now, but it doesn't get any more tolerable.

Bang Rak

Fortunately, I didn't get annoyed after we finally got to our resort and spent a mostly pleasant 17 days here. The air conditioner didn't even flood the room a couple of nights in like it did in Phuket, and we actually had the instant beach access advertised for once, so I didn't have much to complain about. Much.

There was that one time my girlfriend found a dead bug in her food, which I'll assume was just bad luck and not a response to her having previously sent the dish back when they misunderstood the 'no seafood' part.

Was this some sort of concession to make sure she got her protein?

I was more dedicated to working through the curry menu (panaeng; massaman; red; green)

Koh Phangan sat temptingly on the horizon and just a short ferry ride away, but the prospect of being 'greeted' by the even more ravenous vultures at the other pier convinced me I didn't need to complete my trilogy

I think this is the first Siamese(-ish) cat I've seen in three years of coming to Thailand.
It liked the floor better than me. Couldn't get enough of that floor

This is what our demands for air conditioning, hot showers and Wi-Fi are doing to these islands. Are you happy now? Do I sound happy?

After trying and failing to buy food at this 'cafe' I made a snide comment to the staff about how they shouldn't have a sign advertising food if they don't have any to sell, and lo and behold the sign was turned away in shame for the rest of our stay. I was only letting off steam, I didn't mean to be... helpful?

By self-aggrandising Thai standards, this is (probably) the most modest business in Samui

Even if they mean the Thai new year, that was over two months ago. Sort it out!

This is apparently the botanical garden

Bo Phut

On the other side of the quiet sticking-out-bit to the west of Bang Rak lies a much livelier sticking-out-bit hosting Bo Phut Fisherman's Village.

This is the first night market I've been to where vendors have been content to let customers check out their wares and make a purchase if they feel like it, rather than the usual practice of tirelessly hassling passersby to buy their 'Same Same' T-shirt rather than the same same ones being sold by a hundred other guys. Living on a tropical island will have that anaesthetising effect.


Obsolete phone box

Irrelevant robot

Ignorant knobhead (let's hope so anyway)

1 comment:

  1. Mostly pleasant until the bathroom flooded on the last night and we woke up to an internal typhoon anyway.