Day 180: Koh Samui, Thailand 28/03/2012
The bus stops and we arrive somewhere about fiveish, are ushered off the bus and told to wait around for an hour or so. We are then back on the bus and back off it again, this time for a couple of hours, where I am able to have a little sleep on the grass in the sun for half an hour. This is more than welcome, but then poked back onto the bus and we eventually arrive at the pier, ready for the ferry across to the island. We board the open top vessel, everyone sat on the deck around the inside bit (not sure what you would call it on a boat - a cabin?) where you have to pay extra. Feeling thoroughly furry of tooth at this point and in need of a shower, we make it across to the island in one piece and into a minibus for our hotel. We are accompanied to Chaweng Lake by a group of annoying, posh gap year British girls, whose innane drivel is enough to drive us all mad. Luckily, I was sat in the front, where I was out of the firing line just about...
We finally arrive, a full seventeen hours after departing Bangkok. Now that wasn't so bad was it? Immediately, the teeth are brushed and we all jump into the amazing swimming pool at Nid's Bungalows (recommended accommodation) and we spend the day in the sun soaking in the water. We eat at the hotel - good food - and end up the evening taking some of Tesco's finest selection of beer and alcopops into the bar area for a game of charades. At the hotel, they have three huge fish in a pool (Alligator gar - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alligator_gar) who I tease by wiggling my fingers across the surface of the water. They have the last laugh however, lunging for me, and it is only my superhuman reactions that mean I am not sat here typing with a hook for a hand.
Day 181: Koh Samui, Thailand 29/03/2012
Up after a well deserved night's sleep and drop the laundry around the corner at the cheapest place around. We then all take the ten minute stroll to the beach for a day of sun, sea and sand. Chaweng Beach is fairly busy but a beautiful beach, with turquoise water and a lot of good food for sale it seems...
After lunch we head to Tesco to stock up on supplies for the evening, hit the pool again and then play curby and watch two young boys (Nid's grandsons) Thai boxing each other. We then go to the night market and have a few cocktails and some amazing food (Pad Thai all round). Demolition Man strikes again, knocking over a postbox money bank. I then try to escape before being collared and forced to pay. I am so clumsy. There is also a stage at the market, made for karaoke pros like us, where we belt out Backstreet Boys and Chumbawamba to the masses. Back to the pool, where we have an aftershow pool party. Too much vodka. Ok, Thai 'white spirit'...
Day 182: Koh Samui, Thailand 30/03/2012
Next day syndrome again - these visitors are a bad influence - the pool party catches up with some of our party and affects some of us much worse than others (read Gemma). A day by the pool it is and the water could not be more welcome and more of a contrast to some of the dry mouths using it...
Go for lunch and there is an abundance of comfort hangover food being consumed by our table - burgers, pies, steak and chips all feature. Back to the pool for the afternoon and we are all a bit knackered. Gemma goes to sleep and then comes back out having fallen out of bed!
Day 183: Koh Samui, Thailand 31/03/2012
A nicer day than yesterday, with some of last night's storms seemingly blowing away the hangovers of yesterday and after breakfast we decide to head to the beach for some more good times. Seduced on the way by the Rocky theme tune outside the boxing stadium ('Real international Muay Thai comes to Chaweng Beach....[on loop]) we end up buying tickets for tonight's bout. After stepping into the ring and knocking Ryan out and posing for pics, we evenutally reach the beach.
Quiet afternoon on the sand, Gemma buys us an American Football and the second coming of Dan Marino is witnessed. Have some barbecued chicken skewers cooked on the beach and I somehow find myself holding a baby chipmunk when we go for water. We head back to the market for food again and after Pad Thai and cocktails we take our seats in the stadium. The boxing is a real spectacle and the fights vary in quality, from the two babies (about sixteen) in the first fight to the brutal Thai and Russian champs in some of the later bouts. The best bit however, is the kid who does the half time entertainment, tightrope walking across the ring. Good, clean fun.
Day 184: Koh Samui, Thailand 01/04/2012
A reasonably quiet day today and with the weather a bit overcast and muggy we hit the pool again. We have lunch at another nearby market and the head over to the internet cafe, where we skype and introduce everyone at home to the shop's resident Chihuahua. In the evening we head out to watch the football, and end up in the nearby Irish bar, where Ryan teaches us all the rules of league pool...apparently. I sit out and have a drink on the balcony with the girls.
Day 185: Koh Samui, Thailand 02/04/2012
We have a bit of an eventful morning, having last night overlooked the fact that our keys were left on the balcony table under a leaflet. In searching for our keys after breakfast, we find the keyring, to find that one of the keys has been taken off by someone in the night. Nid is absolutely brilliant about the whole thing and the lock is replaced within ten minutes of bringing it to their attention. A bit worrying really and certainly a lesson learned.
After this drama, we take a walk up to the golden pagoda at the top of the hill we can see from the pool. The hill is steep and the walk makes the legs burn and starts a serious man sweat but it is definitely worth it! The temple itself is beautiful and the views over the island are spectacular, with the airport and Koh Phangan in full view, as well as Chaweng Lake and most of the north east of Koh Samui.
We walk back down, have a well earned lunch and head back to the pool. Dinner is one to behold - all you can eat BBQ ribs and chicken. The restaurant didn't know what had hit them as Ryan and me are ordering more and more platefuls after the management have tried to shut up shop. I don't think it had ever been quite abused this way before...
Day 186: Koh Samui, Thailand 03/04/2012
All awake early today and Ryan is extremely chipper to be up and about before nine. We hitch a lift to the Big Buddha a bit further along the coast and are greeted by a twelve metre gold Buddha, again a shrine with incredible views. There are fortunes being told here, which point to enduring misery for all of us apparently!
After leaving the Big Buddha, we take a real long walk along the beach to Bangrak, Bho Put and beyond, having to walk through a posh hotel to get to the road. The girls of course befriend every dog and animal we encounter on the journey. We end up back at Chaweng Beach for the end of the afternoon and have a bit of time in the sea here, which is much cleaner and clearer than the water around the expensive resorts at Bangrak.
Back to the night market again tonight. Spicy food and strong cocktails leads to another session on the karaoke stage. Another excellent performance. On a sadder note, the old pull the chair away schoolboy prank works too well for me and Gemma crashes to the floor. Feel a complete dick.
Day 187: Koh Samui, Thailand 04/04/2012
Wake up this morning still feeling a bit stupid for my pulling of the chair ceremony last night. We get up and have a spot of breakfast before heading to the beach for a bit more beach time and some more oceanside grilled chicken skewers. Leave around fiveish as me and Ryan are off for a bit of Extreme Fishing with our mate 'Kevin' (real name is unpronounceable Thai) from Nid's and we buy some fishing line and hooks from the fishing shop. We cast off with our beer bottle reels and guess what? We catch nothing.
Kevin does catch a couple of shrimp in his net and I try one of these raw. In fact, it is still wriggling as it slips down my throat. We have a few beers and the girls go out to get dinner, bringing us back some green curry and pad thai. In the meantime, a couple of rather strange locals take a shine to us and after bidding them farewell, we have a few drinks on the balcony, with Gemma and Paula staying up until all hours.
Day 188: Koh Samui, Thailand 05/04/2012
I wake up around tennish and Gemma is nowhere to be found, despite being up all night talking to her mum. I think that everyone has had enough of me and all gone out together (as Paula is not in her room) so I go for breakfast alone. Ten minutes later, Cesca and Ryan emerge furious I didn't knock on for them. Didn't know I was so popular.
Straight into a two hour game of curby in the pool after breakfast, all the while wondering where Gemma has got to. They arrive back around half twelve barking orders and telling us we have an action packed afternoon ahead of us.
And action packed it is too, as we go elephant trekking on the back of an elephant in the jungle a bit further down the island. A much better experience than the one I had last time I went on an elephant in Phuket. At the end of the trek we headed onto Nua Muang waterfall, which is a beautiful waterfall not far from where the forty two year old jumbo dropped us off. We have a dip in the plunge pool and we jump in off a big rock. A great way to cool off, the only problem being that we wanted to spend longer there. After the swim, we are taught how to make a yellow curry paste from scratch and I end up staining my teeth yellow on the fresh turmeric...hopefully not a sign of things to come later in life. The curry meanwhile is extremely spicy and we all stand with tears in our eyes as we witness Michael the monkey collecting coconuts. Back to the market for tea and cocktails, crocodile kebabs and pad thai, which tonight are sadly not accompanied by karaoke. The German tourists in the crowd breathe a sigh of relief.
Day 189: Koh Samui, Thailand 06/04/2012
A lazy morning then back to chill on Chaweng. Some interesting people around today, my personal favourites being the Essex boys in the sea, one of whom announces to everyone that the worst day of his life was when his mum told him WWE wasn't real.
Good day on the beach (are there any other sorts of days to be had on a beach?) gearing ourselves up for the Full Moon party looming ominously on the horizon. Gem and me look into the boat arrangement for getting to Koh Phangan and before long there are ten of us from Nid's booking ourselves onto the speedboat for the big night. We line our stomachs and then this is where there is nothing more to report as I simply can't remember anything, having gone from sober to paraletic in seconds. Still, good night I hear.
Day 190: Koh Samui, Thailand 07/04/2012
The day after the night before...we wake up about one in the afternoon after a solid four hours sleep and it is lucky that we are all friends this morning, especially as Cesca awoke curled up at the bottom of our bed like a house cat. Straight into the pool to try to rehydrate the skin and regulate my soaring body temperature. We have some food and start to kid ourselves that we feel better. The second wind of this hangover hits me hard around fourish and it takes some serious PMA to pull through to the other side.
The girls and Ryan head to the shops, and I stick around as Nid's grandsons, Am and Em, are playing on the iPods. I eventually go to catch the others up and eventually find them in a handbag shop. However, I must have passed Ryan on the way and I end up jogging back to the accommodation, where I find him scratching his head. After this nice sweaty affair we head to the night market, have Pad Thai and endure the ordeal of some last minute shopping. At least I get to watch the footy I suppose. One last dip with our guests and we retreat for the night.
Day 191: Koh Samui, Thailand 08/04/2012
Up early to say our goodbyes and see the rabble off. We help them up the road with their bags, bid them adieu and go straight back to bed. Second wake up is about twelve and Am and Em are around angling for a bit of iPod action. Lovely kids, so we ask if we can take them to the beach. We take them with us and they are so excites! Not sure how often they have ever been out like this but their faces are a picture and their bucket and spade work is incredible. We spoil them rotten, skewers, ice cream, coke and chocolate, but they have been very good for us and we know we will be sad when we leave Nid's behind. The man on the beach in a rather inappropriate posing pouch cannot even spoil the mood for these two.
We have a quiet evening, pack the bags, go for tea and then watch the first half of the Arsenal Man City game. Early morning departure tomorrow.