Friday, September 11, 2009
... But better
So, I'm in the tropical paradise of Ko Phangan. I got my pasty foolish self sunburnt to a crisp within 24 hours of being here, of course. But no matter. The lobster look will soon enough turn itself into a tan, and by the time I come back home I will be a nice attractive bronzy color, rather than my current sick-looking bright red.
Everyone who recommended this particular island to me said that reservations were absolutely not necessary. You just get off the ferry, they said, and you will be swarmed by people bearing pictures and all kinds of other information about their guesthouse or bungalow operation. Unfortunately, when it rains, everyone on the island scatters off to a bar or under a rock or something. So I was left on the pier with all my awful luggage and no place to go in the rain, all after traveling on buses and boats for the past 14 hours. I'm kicking myself for shipping my nice, light backpack home from China and traveling with a suitcase. I did this so I wouldn't have to leave the suitcase behind in China, but damn, I'm so kicking myself now for having to lug this unwieldy thing around hills and rickety island piers and unpaved streets, not to mention looking like a total fool compared to the all the glossy-tanned carefree backpackers.
So I caved and spent the night at the overpriced and shabby little "resort" right by the pier for the first night. Then I went exploring and found a better place to stay. But not before collapsing on the beach and turning myself around in the sun like a rotisserie chicken. Asian people don't ever do this. Asian people are scared to death of the sun. They apply all sorts of horrible toxic whitening agents to their skin so they can be whiter. It's only us Westerners who strip down to next to nothing and do our rotisserie chicken impressions until we're burnt to a crisp. Everyone wants what they don't have...
Incidentally, I had been worried about traveling about Thailand in the rainy season, but I am actually very glad that I am here now and not any other time of year. There are not as many people, things are cheaper, and the weather is cooler (though still quite hot -- this is tropics, after all). Every day, it rains for an hour or two, then the skies alternate between beautifully cloudy and mostly sunny. It's perfect.
Today I went on a "reggae boat tour," which was a boat ride around the island with stops at various points to hike up to a waterfall, go swimming, have lunch, get really stoned on some very nice Thai weed, then go snorkeling. It was wonderful.