Monday, 17 June 2013

Koh Tao

Koh Tao

Kho tao is so cute, I felt relaxed the moment I stepped off the boat. It's small, green and cute. Small restaurants are on every step overlooking the ocean, the near by island and the hundreds of diving boats. Kho Tao is the place in Thailand to dive, and it's very apparent by the endless number of dive shops offering huge discounts, free accommodation, and every one is trying to stand out in some kind of way. We went to were Penny lives with her friend Chris, up on the mountain, a pain in the ass road to get there, but so beautiful once you're there :) I met Chili who's the cutest flyings quirrel I've ever seen. It climbed on my hand a bit, but then seemed to get tired and to almost fall asleep. Penny said it's very unusual behaviour, especially when he fell asleep with mango in his mouth :S
Next day I woke up feeling very weak with a slight headache. It didn't help that Penny forgot the direction of the supermarket and we walked half way around the island just to find that it's not there. We went up, and the 4 of us, Chris, Penny, Shon and me started cooking Christmas pasta. Shon passed me a plate that was sitting next to the burner, he got the cold side, and I took the hot side, without any space to put it down, I got quite a burn on my finger, and no more cooking for me :( I was standing there with my hand stuck in the freezer, defreezing everything inside it. I then took frozen meat and was holding that for 3 hours with a pack of dogs anxiously waiting beside me :) The meat defroze and the only cold thing was the alcohol that we were drinking. Whenever anyone took it, I counted from 5 to 1 cause then it started to hurt and I started to whine :) I think I took a good care of myself cause 3 hours later of various cold objects, it didn't hurt anymore, and no signs of a burn were visible in the morning. Christmas began bad, Chili died :( We had to bury him, but didn't know if he was a Buddhist or not, so should we bury or burn him? We decided to bury him, but in a half Buddhist way, we planted his favourite food - the mango, and a small coconut, in hopes that it will give new life to something else. I'm on the other hand feeling worse and worse, can barely move, don't have appetite, after 12 hours of sleep at night, I crashed for 3 more hours, went to my place downstairs and couldn't wait to lie down. I have a headache, my first headache ever. My shoulder hurts and back hurts, I hope it's not some sort of a parasite. I'm ordering food, but can't finish even a quarter of it. I decided to get an oil massage to help relax my back. The massage was soooo good, but when she applied a bit pressure, I was almost crying. I hope I'll be better tomorrow!
I'm a bit better tomorrow, but still no energy. I haven't walked for more than 10 minutes a day, and all I do is lie somewhere, every other position hurts. My schedule is something like that. Wake up at 12, go to have breakfast with wifi hotspot, go back to room at 3, relax till 7, go to dinner that shows a movie. Breakfast and dinner are very lose terms, as I can only barely finish maybe a fifth of what I order ... if I'm lucky. I googled my symptoms, headache, hurts to move my eyes, muscle pain, joint pain, fever, fatigue ... looks like a dengue fever :S  Google says, there is no cure, just wait it out for about a week or two. I got tired of it and went to the doctor. Doctors charge here more than in Canada, thank god for travel insurance, though it's the first time during my travels that I used it. They did a blood test, it's not the dengue fever, but they don't know what it is except that it's a virus. He told me to relax and drink plenty of water ... grrrr !!! I'm done relaxing, I'm bored and need to do stuff! That day I got a red rush all over my body, also a Dengue fever symptom, hm ... Today was the first day that I walked along the beach, 10 minutes there, 10 minutes back ... man I'm gonna sleep well tonight! :) At least I lost 4 kgs in 4 days so that's not too bad :)
And again I went to a massage, I'm so stiff and need to be treated like a dough. I went to the same masseuse, she's so good! I'm getting massages about once or twice a week while in Asia, and they use the same moves, now I finally understood what these moves are supposed to do. A lot of the masseuses are not professional, which is still ok for the price, most of them do a decent job, but most of them don't know what some special moves supposed to do, they just do them without any effect.
I start to move a bit and do little exercises. Today I'm finally feeling ok. I woke up at 12 went for breakfast, came back at 2 and fell asleep for 3 hours ... hm ... maybe not as well as I thought I was :S I woke up just in time to do some snorkeling. It was great, although instead of corals there are mostly plants. One guy said that the sea temperature rose dramatically in the last few years and most of the corals have died :( There are plenty of fish though, and even though it's very shallow and it's very close to the shore, there is plenty to see. Of the coolest things I've seen was a huge needle fish and a school of 200 or so smallish fishies attacking the plants and a slightly bigger fish trying to chase them all away. I guess they've invaded its property.
Good news! I've ordered dinner, and I actually finished it all! :)) It was also the first time that I went out on the island. It was ok, the bars in Kho Phangan on the beach were much better, more engaging I guess, and you could dance on the tables :)
One evening I was eating at a restaurant rice with seafood and watching a movie Apocalipto. There was a scene when they took the prisoners up the pyramid, laid them on some rock, cut through the chest and took their heart out. Then cut their head and let it roll down the pyramid towards a demonically hypnotised crowd of people. At that moment I took a fork to my mouth on which there was an octopus leg with the suction cups. I looked at the screen, and at the leg, and I felt not good at all. How are we not barbaric with the way our culture built today? We also take precious life forms from the world, kill it, chop it up (sometimes without killing it), and throw the remains to the dogs. I never considered to be a vegetarian ... but maybe I could cut it down somehow, or do a research about intelligence of different animals that we consume.
I went up to see Penny, she got sick. She has a bad ear infection and just spent 36 hours going to Malaysia and back to renew her Thailand visa, only to find out that the embassy is closed for the holidays. In the morning she woke up to feel much better, I'm happy that my good energy works on her :)
Next day it was December 31st and it's been raining the whole day. We got soaked again and again from walking to the restaurant, from the restaurant, to the massage place, to her place. I've been wet all day long, and I didn't like the massage, but my masseuse was unfortunately busy. It sucks to pay the same amount of money and to receive such a different quality of service. The rain stopped, I crashed for an hour of power nap and was all ready for the big night out. A few of the resorts had free dinner with live music as opposed to Kho Phangan when the resorts had all of their guests pay $100 for a mandatory New Year dinner, I bet that's gonna be enjoyable!
The music, fire shows, fireworks were at every bar on the beach and I danced all night long. We met a DJ who was going to play at one of the bars, and when he asked us if we're gonna get shit faced today, that's when I lost him. It was the moment as they say on the t-shirts "you lost me at hello". On New Years I got separated from Penny, but that's ok, I still felt great. One random guy wanted to kiss me, at first I didn't, but then I thought, what the hell, I never kissed a random guy in my life, I had to try it once right? Then 1 turned into 4, but they kinda stuck around, can't you just kiss and move on, why are you following me to the washroom? Isn't it an international sign of "I'm gonna go now?". I didn't get the point of it though, I'm attracted to character, behaviour, sense of humor, intelligence, when I don't even the know the name of a guy all I feel is a tongue, a hand, lips, that doesn't feel nice. I wonder what guys like about it?
We met one guy who ordered us a shot, so you take the salt, rub it on your hands, then hold your hands together, pour a shot in and drink it all, I instead spilled it all, man that was disgusting. What a terrible waste of alcohol :) Overall, very fun night, went home at 5, barely woke up at 2 but on the 1st I was feeling down, don't know why. Didn't want to talk to anyone, didn't want to see anyone, instead I went snorkeling. This time I saw a huge school of some yellow fish, followed by grey fish, some big parrot fishes, and surrounding them a group of 30 or so needle fish. What is it, a great migration or something? As always, the small black fish was chasing everyone away :) At dinner, before the movie they were showing video clips, and I started crying at Aerosmith - don't want to miss a thing. Maybe that's why I was so down today, I don't want any random guys, I want one guy who wouldn't want to fall asleep cause he wouldn't want to miss a thing.
During the day we hung out on the beach and then did yoga to warm up for the traapppeeeeeeze class! :) I was waiting for it for so long, but couldn't do it because I was sick. Man, everything's scary in it, climbing the shaking ladder without safety, then standing on the platform without safety until it gets hooked to you, then reaching over to grab the bar with the guy "holding" you from behind. Ready! (bend your legs), aaaand hop
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!
Legs up, let go of arms, now now, ok, wait, Now!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA !!!!!!
ok, now!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
Ok, now legs forward, backward, forward, let go and flip!
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAa!!!!!
3 tries later I finally let go of the bar on time :) Every time it felt like I'm gonna fly out of this thing, it doesn't look like it from below, but the momentum is huge! I did 3 tries, then 2 more tries of a birds nest trick and then 2 actual catches when I caught the catcher both times! :) Every time it was scary, it didn't get better at all, but every time I got out with a huge smile on my face :) And I had this smile for many hours later :) I couldn't even go to sleep. Reeeady, hop! I'm flying and flying and flying :))))
Woke up at 7, my muscles hurt, throat starts to hurt, I don't want to get up, but me and Penny are meeting up to rent a kayak and go with it to an island. Turns out that the prices are ridiculous and we took a taxi boat to the island instead. The island is beautiful, it's actually 3 islands connected by a narrow stretch of sand. Too many tourists though. I went snorkeling twice, saw a big jellyfish. On one side there was more fish and very calm, on the other side the corals were better, but no fish and pretty wavy. Then we went to an amazing view point where the picture's worth 1000 words, so I'm not going to describe it :)
I signed up for advanced scuba diving! Lets see what tomorrow brings!
In the morning the 7 of us were starting to learn theory. The instructor Yens pretty much said, ok, fill in these forms, now, for deep dive I'll show you at the bottom the change of colors and will give you a simple test of adding four to the number that I'll show you in case you'll have nitrogen narcosis. If you do, don't worry and just enjoy it. On the navigation dive, navigate in a square and then you're off to navigate around the site on your own with your buddy. There you go, theory is done! In Mozambique when I did my advanced course, I had to study about 50 pages and then write a test.
We had to set up our own equipment, and of course everybody did their open water course hell knows when back, and nobody has any idea how to set it up. Penny's explaining it to one girl and everyone copies whatever she does. That makes me a bit nervous, malfunctioning equipment on a deep dive, not a good idea. We did the buddy check, everything seems to work ... fingers crossed!
Off we go for a deep dive, Yens gives no instructions, such as wait for me at the end of the line, 2 people take off right away, the other girl lost her buddy and has troubles breathing, Penny is trying to get every one together and call Yens for help. I see the group going down and I follow it, then out of nowhere I see with my peripheral vision something big, a school of barracudas? What is it? I turn, and this thing is right in front of me, maybe 2 meters away, I'm taken by surprise, I try to understand what it is, a shark? A bunch of small fish are attached to it, then I see the spots on its body, OMG! A whale shark!!!! It was so cool! It was only a baby though, maybe 4 meters long, and it looked very cute and clumsy :) Funny how baby fish can look clumsy as well :) I went after it wanting to pet it, but they showed me not to :( Of course we didn't do any skills, no nitrogen narcosis test, all the group got all over the place again, it's bad visibility, 1 girl who had troubles breathing went up to the surface, someone else followed her. The current was pretty bad, we all got out of air pretty quickly. This was the most disorganized dive I've ever been on, and except the whale shark, there wouldn't be anything else special to see.
Second dive - navigation. This time we all go to the bottom together, but now another guy has problems equalizing. Yens shows a sign to 2 couples to do the square navigation, I guess they forgot the instructions and were just standing there looking at him. I did the square perfectly, yeeei ! :) Although I was so concentrated on the compass that I forgot absolutely everything around me and went about 5 meters vertically up. Then we were shown where we are on the site map that we redrew and were let go to explore on our own. I did well, except that I ended up at the exit way too early and just did a few circles around the same rock a few times until it was the time to come up. Well that's an interesting fish I thought and swam towards it, oh no! this is a trigger fish! A look of panic in my eyes and I'm swimming away as quickly as possible. This is a fish that protects it's cone shaped territory, and if you're in it, it will attack you and start biting you. So you should swim away horizontally, because vertically you'll still be in the cone, swim backwards with fins closer to the fish, so if it will want to bite you, hopefully it will go for the fins! Today was not my lucky day as it seemed at peace and left me alone :) We went back to mainland for dinner and got back on the boat for a night dive. We were given a few instructions on how to use the flash light and how to give signals with flashlight in your hands. The dive was cool. It's so dark, it was like exploring a cave. A bit scary cause you couldn't see anything beyond where the flash light shone and (hopefully) your group in front of you. We went through a small tunnel which was a bit spooky. I couldn't see anything in front of me because the person in front of me raised all the sand up, we were not supposed to move our arms at all so we won't get scratched by the coral or the sea urchins, my tank was bumping up against the ceiling, but it was cool nevertheless :) We all then turned off our flash lights and were waving our hands around to see the phosphorus plankton that's shining when it's disturbed :) Then near my flash light was a cute shrimp that kept following my flashlight, swim to the right, to the left, to the right :) I really liked the fish around us, it looks all black, but when you shine the flashlight randomly at your sides, you see the fish swimming around you. We also saw a sting ray and that's it, there was no turtle, no sleeping trigger fish which sleeps with its mouth up and open, so you can shine your flash light right in it and see it's teeth and no barracuda attacks :( But it was still very cool! :) Going to sleep early to prepare for our early morning class!
7:30am and we're ready on the equipment deck. Nobody talks, we're only sleep walking. 1st dive is a wreck dive which is also a deep dive. We go down to 30 meters, I put my hand down to the floor and get a maximum depth of 30.5m :) Visibility is shit, less than 2 meters and this wreck looks like a ghost ship. Yens pulls out a tomatoe to show us how colors get absorbed at depth, and this red tomatoe is purely orange. Red is the first colors that gets absorbed, then it goes by the colors of the rainbow. He smashes a tomatoe and gets out an egg, breaks it apart, and the yolk remains intact under 4 bars of pressure and we play with it like a balloon. Then he does a nitrogen narcosis test, he shows a number with his fingers and we're supposed to add 4 to it. He shows it to a guy next to me, and the answer is 7, then he shows me 2 fingers and I don't know what he's doing, what I'm supposed to do, so I copy the answer and show him 7 as well. He goes "what"? Oh, I'm supposed to add 4, right, ok, here you go a 6. We then swim around the wreck, see some cannons, but every time I look at something, I'm afraid that I'll lose my team. I have no idea where I am, I don't have a map of the site, if I'll lose them, I'll have to swim up and the rest of the team will not be too happy with me. So I keep following them without too much exploration. We arrive at a reef, Yens splits us into buddy groups, shows us to swim around and at 45 minutes to go up. Me and Penny are buddies :) We swim, and she shows me something and then an explosion motion. I'm looking and thinking, is this an exploded tomatoe? no ... is this an exploded plastic bag? no ... what is it then? Oh, it's a puffer fish! I might have had a nitrogen narcosis, or could be lack of sleep, or a motion sickness pill, or all together, but at least I didn't get my regulator out of my mouth and started talking to a fish :)
Last dive was buoyancy with navigation. We swam through an underwater obstacle course of swimming through hoops, turns, going down -> forward, up -> forward, down -> forward and up again without any use of hands and without touching the ground, all with the use of proper breathing. If you breath in, your lungs fill up with air and you naturally will start to ascend, the same as you breath out you descend. The problem though is not to get lung over expansion you should breath constantly to allow the air to escape. If you hold your breath and go up, the air inside expends, has nowhere to escape and you might get collapsed lungs. Then me and my buddy swam to the reef, and were allowed to stay down until low on air. It was cool and very relaxing, we successfully navigated from one site to another. It's so cool when you barely know where you are, cause everything looks the same underwater, then navigate with no visibility and suddenly find yourself an another site ... coooool ! There was plenty of fish, but nothing special. She then saw a different fish, I showed her a symbol for a trigger fish (which is like a gun), she didn't remember that symbol and started swimming towards it. Ok I thought, I'll enjoy the show ... but the fish didn't mind her so much :) It was too bad because I still had 90 bar when she was already low on air. I could've stayed down for 20 minutes more, but we're buddies and have to do everything together, so we went up.
Next day I did the trapeze again! Still every time I was nervous when I stood on the platform. I learned one move pretty quickly and got it right straight away, but the next move, 4 times and still can't get it :( It didn't help at all when there was this circus chick in the class who got all the moves from the 1st time! Also since it was just the 2 of us we did a lot of practice swings, you come down, you go up again, gets pretty tiring after a while. But nevertheless it's too much fun, and I'll definitely do it one more time, and will try to find something similar to this in Toronto. Next day nothing hurts except my lower back ... I forgot to warm up before the class :S  What I like about the class is that the teacher goes with your pace, it's not like in Toronto when I went to different classes, I learn the move right away, and then wait another hour for everyone else to catch up. I guess that's why I don't keep going to classes further than the 1st level, cause I get bored. I remember pole dancing class. The teacher at the end of 5 classes showed us the moves that we'll learn on level 2, and I did them all right away after she was done with the demonstrations. What's the point of taking 5 classes when I learned it all in 1 minute?
Next day Penny and me went to a resort with a pool which we were recommended to go to. It was so cool, overlooking the whole ocean, such a beautiful place, and food was only 1.5 times more expensive than usual, we spent the whole day hanging around, reading books, envying couples and enjoying a beautiful sunset.
Took a bike around the island, such a small island, so many beaches. I had only 1 day, so I picked the beaches in one geographical area. I know now why so many people walk with bandages on their knees and elbows, the roads are absolutely horrible, all I know is that my mom would be screaming. They're almost vertically up and down, turning 180 degrees, and sometimes there are no roads, just mud tracks, or even worse sand roads. Some beaches are beautiful, but most of them look alike, I took some pictures and continued to next beaches where there is snorkeling. Again, the visibility is not that great, there are barely any corals, but a lot of fish, although the fish is the same anywhere you go, it just depends on how lucky you're gonna get. In one place 20 meters from the shore there was a trigger fish! Once the visibility was so bad, 2 meters or so, while I was snorkeling, I was always mindful of a chance of bumping into a jelly fish, and so I did. They're beautiful, but the tentacles are long and are almost invisible. It's so much nicer to see a jellyfish in the water elegantly swimming, than to see it washed ashore. I remember in Israel there is a season where the whole beach is covered in jellyfish instead of sand... so sad :(
In the evening went to my final trapeze lesson. It was the first time when I wasn't nervous standing up on the platform. I learned 2 new tricks, but couldn't properly do them, it always took me an extra swing to get it right, and with extra swing I won't be able to do a catch. Out of 5 times, I only got it once right, but wasn't able to do a catch :( Afterwards as always I couldn't move, could barely walk, and it was very hard to take a shower as to hold anything takes an immense effort, since the hands are burning like in hell. After trapeze I was debating what's more important a massage or dinner. I decided that it's my last night in Thailand and I can find noodles anywhere in the world :) 5am wake up. It's so good that I got prepared in the evening by buying snacks for breakfast, as we only stopped at 2pm for lunch! We stopped at a travel agency to filter people according to their destination, they told me that the bus will stop for me at the airport, for some reason I was doubting it and was watching the signs closely. Airport sign was to the right, and the bus went straight, I talked to the driver, and by the time they stopped the bus in a place where I can get a taxi from, I was already 15kms away. I waited an hour for the bus which never came and finally took a taxi. The driver pointed to some people and said "they're from Sweden", I said "I'm from Canada", he said "close, yes?" ... hm ... well, I guess, relatively speaking. It just took me 12 hours to get from Koh Tao to Phuket a distance of about 400 kms, it will probably take less than 12 hours to fly from Canada to Sweden.
Who knew that "best before date" means the date until which you can enter Thailand ... I didn't. Apparently my visa expired 8 days before, and I had to pay $133 fine for overstay :( I already changed all my money into US dollars, now I had to change them back to Thai Baht, I don't even want to know how much I lost on that. I just paid a fine equal to a 5 day travel budget and surprisingly I'm not upset at all. I learned not to get upset over things that I can't change.

p.s. don't forget to watch the flying trapeze movie at the end of the album
p.s.s. Huge thanks for everyone who contributed to the "donate money for adventure" campaign :) I used the money to do the advanced scuba diving course!! :))

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/KohTao

Monday, 10 June 2013

Koh Phangan

I'm on a new island now of Ko Phangan, considered to be a party island. It has the world famous full moon party which attracts sometimes 100,000 people. After that party became famous, Ko Phangan smartened up, and now it hosts, half moon party, black moon party, pool party, Shiva party, waterfall party etc etc ... any day that you want to party, there'll be something going on. I went to a resort which was advertised near the boat pier. It's nice, but a little bit far from the center (all extra 5 minutes walk!), but at least it has a swimming pool with a view to the ocean and a beach.
It's so quite. There are no people neither on the streets, nor on the beach, not in the restaurants ... where is everybody?? I find out that Ko Phangan is like a wave, all the hotels are booked and double the price a week before the full moon party, 2 days later, the island goes quite. Maybe I'll go to Ko Tao, and then will come back?
I'm in a mind state right now of "If I can, why can't they?", and I'm talking about anything, but now in particular I'm analyzing why people are shy. Why can't they dance when nobody dances, why can't they approach anybody. Sometimes I would just sit by myself and observe my surroundings. I can see people looking, but why nobody would come and say hi? I would approach them and start talking, and everybody is friendly and talkative, they show interest in friendship, but why wouldn't they come and say hi? Sometimes I give up and think that if they don't have the guts to do it, it's their problem. Yesterday some guy approached me and asked me how is this resort near which I was lying on the beach, I said I don't know, I'm just lying on the beach ... bad pick up line! Today there were a few people around me, but nobody did anything. One guy near me was on his own. I was reading a book, looking around and looking at him looking at me. I got up and walked along the beach (I love the feeling of crashing waves on my feet). On my way back, he got up looking like he was going for a swim (I thought to myself, not another one! Just making excuses to start a conversation, as in Ooops, I bumped into you on purpose), but nope, he walked right towards me, and said "Hi, what's your name?", finally someone normal!! We talked for some time, he's from Israel, I think my opinion about Israelis is changing back :)
Ofer and I went to a restaurant for dinner, he's also a software developer and we had some IT discussions, something that I didn't have in a year now :) While working it's like, "Can we change the subject?", but now, it's more like "How interesting, do tell me more!" :) We then went to a bar on the beach. It was fun at first, we played games, tied balloons to our feet and had to pop them from others. I only lasted 1 round, and mostly by running away from people :) Then there was arm wrestling, and I won 3 times against 3 different girls and got a free drink :) then I skipped a fire rope (spooky!), and threw darts to pop balloons, but didn't pop any, instead I was always hitting the label which said "free sex" :) By the time we stopped playing, all the people were super drunk and I lost my interest and went home. Not on the beach though with the waves crashing on my feet, cause I wouldn't know the ratio of water/pee in it, since all the guys go to washroom right on the beach!
Ofer and I agreed to meet in the morning, hire a bike and go around the island. The road was beautiful, we found a beautiful beach with an island connected to the shore by a sand bridge. Then we went to a waterfall, hiked up to a view point and swam in the natural pool. On the way back I drove, cause his driving made me a bit scared. The road back was up the mountain with sharp turns. I asked him later if he got scared, and he said no that I'm a very good driver! Always nice to hear it from a man :)
In the evening we went to the biggest pool party in Thailand, but instead we sat on the beach and discussed O(1) complexity search algorithms :) A dog was running around us and digging up crabs, he dug one and the crab run in our direction. Ofer jumped up like from fire, I thought it's because the dog can run into us, but no, he got scared of the crab ... a tiny little crab. I love crabs, I could catch them, put them on my arm and let them run around, especially the small ones, but Ofer said that they're disgusting... how so? Then I thought, crabs are ok, but what about cockroaches, why are they disgusting to me? They don't do anything, just as innocent as crabs. Is it because they can get into our house and the companies that invented Reed made them disgusting and evil creatures to sell their products better? I should catch a cockroach and put it on my hand to run around :)
Something was wrong and I could feel it, Ofer didn't talk much at all. We met the next morning and he said that he really likes me, I'm beautiful, smart and funny and unfortunately I don't feel the same way about him and so we cannot hang around together anymore :( I wish guys could see beyond that point ... anyway, I was glad he told me. Extra points for courage!
I got sick :( I don't like that while travelling, cause you never know what kind of bug it is, and especially not after I finished reading the book about the end of the world when all the people died off from some disease. I didn't do anything that day and went to bed at 7. I don't know when I stopped coughing so that I finally fell asleep, maybe after I took a dose of propolis, which all my life I took with milk, but with shortage of milk, I actually discovered that it goes much better with water. I woke up at 12, and it was raining non stop, got out to lunch at 4, it only stopped raining around 6, and then I sat at the cafe and watched friends till 1 am - episodes that I miraculously missed in Vang Vieng! I could not believe it!!
In the morning it rained heavily again, but then it stopped and the clouds gave way to the sun :) I went to the beach, but it was dirty and when I was approaching it, I could not believe my eyes ... are those waves?? It's so quiet in here that the Gulf of Thailand seems like a lake. I got a massage, it was gooood :) Though she knew what she was doing, and was really feeling it, she did different amounts of strokes on both sides. On one side she did 9, when on the other 18! Still she was good, one of my favourites!
Went out at night cause I got tired of being on my own these past few days, lying around, feeling sick and doing nothing, so I went to a party. Saw Ofer there, and started having second thoughts ... maybe I should see what it's going to be like, so I approached him, and so far so good. Maybe not completely my type, but maybe I should enlarge "my type" horizons, at least that's what I'm telling everybody to do! :) We talk about cars, nuclear reactors, why a whale shark is considered to be a shark ... no wonder I don't hang around girls much, I guess I don't find conversations about nail polish that exciting :)
Those parties are great, cause there are games, and you win drinks, so I shot a basketball through a hoop and put a dart through a balloon, and got 2 free vodka sprites :) Jumped some burning rope again, this time I got much better and much less scared :) I'm getting just a little tired of these parties because they always play the same music! Why is that? The music is really good, no doubt about it, but not when you hear it 10 times a day! If they run out of recent music, why can't they play last year's hits, they're good too!
We only woke up at 1, and couldn't do anything fun cause it was too late, so we just hung out on the beach ... again!! But no more beaches, that's it! Tomorrow we'll go to archery, 2 other beaches, waterfall, maybe see a sunset from the other side, do some muy tai class, yoga class and enter a wipe-out competition! It's time to have some fun! :)
Wanted to go to a bottle beach (again!), the road for the most part was a dirt track, I love it! :) We reached another beach, it looks like ours, but much more quite, and both of us soon got bored. We went to eat in a restaurant with very outgoing owner, I had a very good meal of tiger prawns in tamarinds sauce. I eat regular food most of the time, but once a week, I go to a nice restaurant to treat myself :) While eating we were playing that tower game where you have to pull the blocks out and put them on the top. Man, that was intense! I could barely breath, and had a nervous laugh. What an adrenaline rush! An adrenaline rush over a tower game??? I really need to get out and do stuff! :) We didn't reach the bottle beach because the owner told us that the road is very bad, only 4X4 should go there. It's vertical down with not much to stop your fall. Then we saw a very non impressive waterfall, and since we had time, we went to a bar for a sun set view point. The drinks were very overpriced and there was no sunset, too many clouds ... not much luck today :( Did I mention that I lost the tower game? ;)
Yet another party, "same same but different" is a very common saying in here, except this one was "same same and same", and again we went to sleep late. The plan to wake up at 9:30 didn't work out, and I barely opened my eyes up at 1 :) We drove to archery, it was fun!!! Except that my eyes or arms are wrong or something. It's more comfortable for me to hold the bow with my left hand and the arrow with my right. In this case, I should aim with my right eye, but I aim with my left. The guy tried to do correct calibration, but still it didn't work too well, I had to aim much more on the right side, since the arrow always flew left. But still, I managed to get more points, even from a guy who went to the army and who shoots a gun quite well. Then we went to a wipe out obstacle course on the lake. You swing on the rope, then swim and get on a raft, then you have to jump across a doughnut like inflatable thing onto the trampoline, then swim to a tower, climb up to the top, and slide down into the water, climb up to the monkey bars, jump into water, then jump through 3 rotating drums, and swim to finish line.
The rope was fun, but I fell in the middle of the doughnut, and didn't know how to get out, so I swam underneath it, the tower was ok, and the slide was awesome! Monkey bars were difficult, I couldn't do one arm then another. Always had to do, right, left together with the right. The drums got me scared, you should just jump through them so they won't have a chance to rotate, but I tried to stop and stabilize, of course it's at that moment that they rotated and I flew into the water. This was so difficult, I was trying to catch my breath for good 10 minutes after that. Ofer finished in 5:55 mins, I finished in 5:25. After 2 hours of relaxation and lunch, we decided to do it again with some improvement strategies. We both got by a minute better! But I want to come back and do it perfectly! :) But now it's 4 hours later, and I still don't have any energy :) At least I'll sleep well tonight :)
I'm still in my sports deprived mood and next day we signed up for yoga and mui tai boxing class. These classes are more expensive than in Canada, I guess out of lack of competition, but it's affordable to do once in a while. Yoga was nice, although I know all the moves and poses and can do it very well on my own, I still like to take classes, especially with an interactive teacher who can stretch you more than you would possibly like to stretch on your own. Hard to stay in a zen mode when you're constantly being bitten by mosquitoes :S Next was mui tai. The instructor was ok, he told us to do a bunch of moves, but he didn't really explain how to do them properly. I have martial arts background, so I was fine, but I always wanted to correct Ofer's moves, when the instructor should've done so. But nevertheless he had a bunch of stamina, and told us to kick and punch till we had to wring our shirts out from too much sweat :)
If you think that was enough activities, we signed up for diving the next day. No party again because the pick up was already at 7:30. Diving was nice, especially the first dive. The reef was very alive with colorful corals and many different schools of fish. Once we were surrounded by all sides by yellow snappers and barracudas and some other fish that we were in kind of a fish bubble. You can't see not the bottom, not the sky, not the sides. Other than that we saw an eel, a lobster, a big jelly fish which was very cool, and we swam up and down through a tunnel. No wale sharks though :( After such diving, it gets harder and harder to order sea food in restaurants, especially the beautiful fish. Imagine the boat going into the sea, spreading the net, and the whole school of beautiful red snappers is gone, and I wonder how diving was before the commercial large scale fishing started.
We went to sleep at 10, and at 12pm I'm jumping out of bed, "Shit, I'm supposed to pick up Penny at the pier!". Her boat was late though, so then I wasn't :) With Ofer, we could just lie on the beach and talk, but with Penny, I put the towel down, looked at her, seriously, are we just gonna lie around? Well that doesn't sound like fun! :) We grabbed a volleyball, and soon were playing for 4 hours straight with 10 guys. None of them are cute :( I only messed up about 50% of the shots, so it wasn't too bad :) We then bought a "Half moon party" shirts and went into the jungle for the party. In the Jeep with 6 more people, Penny was talking to herself all the way ... man I missed her! :)
I wasn't too impressed with the party though. The entry was $17, plus $7 to get there and back. There was only one DJ stage who played the same tins tins tins music. Everybody was drunk out of their minds. I was dancing and I just don't get ... why is this fun? I was trying to look at other people. Are they having fun? People were stumbling from side to side, carrying each other, some were going to the washroom right in the middle of the road, others were negotiating to have sex with Thai prostitutes for $17 in the bushes.
Maybe you should go to those parties with a bunch of friends and maybe try to hook up with someone, but with a temp bf I can dance in my own room to the music that I actually like. We came home at 5am, woke up at 12, and I'm sleepy all day long, which brings up the question again ... where is the fun?
Our last day together with Ofer, and both of us are not too talkative. We went to the best spa to get a massage, I'm relaxed, soft, smooth, smelling like coconut and much more cuddly :)
I hate goodbyes!

https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/KohPhangan 

Monday, 3 June 2013

Koh Samui

The transfer to Koh Samui was way too long, from 8am till 7:30pm :S The shared taxi person had no idea where I needed to go. I had a feeling that we made a huge circle around the island before he finally called the hotel and dropped me off.
Barely ate anything that day, went out just to find out that I have no energy to move and ordered a nutella/banana pancake from the street stall. Finally I slept for 12 hours, but still I feel tired. I don't know why I'm so tired lately? Maybe because I'm dehydrated, maybe because I'm missing some nutrients in my body, or some hormones are inactive ;)
There is no electricity, and most of the shops and restaurants were closed. I'm super hungry and can't find anything that's open, the streets are deserted from social and economical life. I went to the beach to hopefully find some beach vendors, but still no luck. The beach is supposed to be the most beautiful on Ko Samui, but I'm not impressed. The beach is narrow, dirty and some recent storm brought a lot of debris to it. I walked for a good kilometer until I found a sign of life. It was a big restaurant on the beach, and despite unrealistic prices, I finally decided to have breakfast. It was good though, but not something that I'm willing to pay every day. For vacation it's fine, but for travelling it's a bit too much. Ko Samui is not build for backpackers anyway, it's a more posh island. There was a pool there, and it happened to be free for all, and I spent the entire afternoon lying on the sun bed, swimming in the pool which looked much more attractive to me than the ocean, reading a book, and giving "what the hell" looks to the very loud Israelis who were shouting across the pool to each other and misbehaving in general. One girl approached me and asked me if I'm alone, and if I want to join her and her friends. I didn't mind at all, since I missed some company. These guys are from Israel too, but unlike the other ones, these ones are gentlemen and very well behaved. Apparently they were giving the "what the hell" looks to the other guys as well, and said that guys like that give Israelis bad reputation.
I came back to the hotel at 6 and went to sleep, 2 hours I slept great, then I woke up when all the lights went on. Electricity's back!! It's been 3 days with no electricity, I think they were connecting Ko Samui to the main land, and the electricity came on for only 2 hours per day, giving hotels the chance to recharge their generators, which then they spent on putting on a party and leaving nothing for the rooms. These "smart" places made lots of money in these days, since all of the tourists of Ko Samui sniffed the few places which had a pulse.
Went to a night club, my first one in a long time, music was good, just the way I like it, I have the 3 Israeli guys around me who take care of me and give me a new drink when the other one is still a third full. I'm feeling a bit uncomfortable to be treated like that ... why are they doing it? 1 is married, the other one is engaged, and they're leaving in 2 days, why spent so much money? We danced till 3:30, then went to a burger king for a mid night snack and then to their pool for a chat. They brought everything they had from their room and we had a big celebration. For some other reason they gave me all the candies and chocolates and the "best gum" in the world, and now this huge bag sits in my room tempting me :)
Barely got up at 12, and every time (which is not often at all), I realize why I don't like to drink. Who likes to feel that way? I'm happy and social without any alcohol anyway. I made myself do 400 sit-ups and 20 push-ups to counterbalance the last night and felt a little bit better about myself. Had breakfast near my hotel because I knew if I'll see them, they wouldn't let me pay for it either.
I'm feeling excellent today, one guy gave me a business idea, I'm having a good time with them, and when I'm walking on the street to get there, everyone seems to notice. Random people are talking to me, approaching me, and that's exactly why I'm believing in the power of attraction. Like attracts like, and people don't usually want to speak to someone who's grumpy. At the pool, my guys met 2 more guys and then 2 more guys, and I'm feeling like a snow white and the seven dwarfs. 1 is a dj, 3 are business men, 1 is a lawyer, the other one is an Italian racing champion.
"Yana, what do you want to drink?"
"Yana, do you want corn?"
"Yana, are you hungry"?
"Yana, don't tell me you don't know, tell me what you want to drink"
Where do guys like that come from??
One guy approached me while I was dancing.
"Why aren't you talking to me?" he asks me,
"Cause I don't know you".
"Don't you think I'm good looking?"
 ... um ... "You're ok, but what's your point?".
We talk for a few minutes, and he tells me to move in live with him. "What? You don't even know my name", "That's not important" he tells me, "All I need to know is in your eyes".
There is an ocean 10 meters away, I'm looking at it, but can't get out of the pool. I think I spent 3 hours in the pool without getting out, well, sometimes, only for an occasional dance :)
There are people walking on the beach with pet iguanas and monkeys to take pictures with them. They're so cute, and I want to pet them, hold then, hug them and never let go, but I'm just looking and shaking my head in a "no". With these animals most likely, the mother has been killed and the baby is held in a small cage all his life. Then when he grows older and shows some instinctual animal behavior, he's beaten, and if that doesn't help, just abandoned somewhere on his own, left as a prey for wild animals, cause he doesn't know how to gather food and protect himself. Maybe they should be sleeping, but they're constantly kept awake and subject to sharp lights of camera flashes. Maybe they should be in the shade during the day and not in a 35 degree heat. Do you know that snakes die early if they put them on the shoulders for that classical shot, because their skin is getting worn out very quickly. I hope more people would have the same mindset as me.
I took a shower at their place cause my place doesn't have any water when there is no electricity, then I dressed and put make up on with a candle light and we went to a nice Italian restaurant for a goodbye dinner. They invited the 2 Italian guys and a couple who we just met in the pool 2 hours ago. They ordered so many appetizers that no one had any more space for the main course. They were all left half finished.
I've listened to so much Hebrew these past 2 days that now whole sentences are coming out of me, and every time I get a round of applause :) Maybe if I had a few more days I would switch completely to Hebrew, but no such luck :(
Back on the beach we met another guy who's a businessman and a chauvinist. Then he told us a few stories about girls and how it didn't work out and how much money he lost because of it, I didn't say anything, but I kept thinking, if you're thinking that way about women and if you live with fear of relationships and are a chauvinist, of course that's how things will turn out to be. The power of attraction comes to play again, you attract what you think!
We then said goodbye. I received a huge hug from all of them, and they told me it was a great pleasure :) Where do these guys come from??
I went up to my room on the 3rd floor in pitch black dark, feeling my way around the walls, and the stairs, then somehow found my door and a door knob. It was a bit spooky but fun! :)
Next day I found myself alone in the pool. Time to make new friends! I met the guy from yesterday who wanted to live with me. We spoke for an hour before he needed to go to the airport for his flight back home, in the beginning it was fun and interesting, he's very strange and different person, but after half an hour I started to get annoyed. It seemed like he tried to apply the general principles on "how to attract girls" on me, which have absolutely no connection with me. He tried to intimidate me, a good trick to impress a girl or make her interested, but I wasn't. In fact I don't remember the last time I was embarrassed or intimidated, that's all after my self analysis of why should I feel this way, and I haven't found a valid reason. I was happy that he had a flight and I only had to spend an hour with him. I should also come up with what to say if I'm no longer interested talking to the person without hurting his/her feelings. Any ideas?
Got back to the hotel at 10 and surprisingly I wasn't tired, so I got ready and went out. I got to the club which was still empty, it only fills up at 12, so I went back to the pool/bar which is always full. I met Daniel by accidentally taking his beach chair when he left for a drink, we quickly got talking and spent a fun night together. We agreed to meet the next day at 8.
I rented a bike to explore the island. It was so nice to get out and see something other than the main street and the pool (of course the pool is still amazing!), I climbed to one view point, saw a waterfall which wasn't too impressive, and then a very cool waterfall which was very impressive! It goes on and on for many levels, you can swim at any level (though I didn't bring a swimming suit :( ) and the views are spectacular! Then I stopped at one temple which had a mummified monk sitting there in a meditating pose with sunglasses on. Apparently when he died, his body didn't start to decompose, so his family decided to mummify him. Too bad I had to return so quickly because I don't like to drive in the dark in unknown areas.
I got ready to go out, I waited for half an hour but Daniel didn't come. Instead I met a girl, her friends and a guy who came to talk to me while I had dinner and we spent the night together. Too bad I didn't like the guy and he tried to impress me, but what can I do if he's just not my type. He asked me if I'd like to go around the island with him tomorrow, but I said that I'll probably sleep in cause I'm tired. I wish I could be more direct, or should I not?
I met Daniel before I was going to leave, he said that him and his friend got drunk in one bar and he just got back, will I see him tomorrow? I don't think so. People should appreciate each other and not make them wait, I think it's the first rule of hanging out with each other. I noticed that I wasn't even a little bit upset. If he's being an %#%^&^$ then why should I have a bad mood because of it, he's just not worth it. Makes me feel good that I don't feel bad :)
What would I've done without the Arc Bar swimming pool? I've been 7 days in Ko Samui, 6 of which I've spend in the swimming pool :) It's just that one place that made my stay amazing, without it, I would've probably left after 2 days.

pix are here: https://picasaweb.google.com/100036016632387453128/KohSamui