(Friday, January 17th, 2014)
Sawadee kah! Hello from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport! Soon to be “Ni hau!”
I’m comin’ HOME, baybeh!
So, as half-expected, the simple hotel->boat->bus->hotel transfer guaranteed the day before, was neither simple nor a transfer. BIG surprise. Yesterday consisted of trudging down the hill to the shore (past the stationary tractor-with-carriage which I had so optimistically assumed might actually drive us to the boat), laden with bags and packs – through the muddy swamps, into knee-high water, and gracelessly plopping into the longtail boat. As I watched the island receding in the distance, I was once again stunned by the sheer beauty of it all. I could wax poetic for pages and pages about the colour of the water, the streaked limestone cliffs, overgrown in parts with lush green thick trees, but I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves.
Thailand is BEAUTIFUL. Even with all of the over-tourism and craziness that exists. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the level of commercial tourism is both disturbing and saddening. I watched it happen in Boracay before my very eyes, and it’s well on its way in this South East Asian island nation too. Huge resorts are going up all over the place, obscuring the tree-line, diluting the cultural uniqueness, and destroying the lush beauty. The shoreline is littered with cigarette butts and plastic wrappers – there’s even a bloody shooting range in Railay! WHAT. THE $%^ ??? WHY?!?! Le sigh.
We humans seriously need to wake up.
Anyway, so there I was, 20 minutes later, trying to manoeuvre my way back off the boat again, down the little ladder on the side, backpack-sidebag-frontpack ON! On the shore, several Thai people waited, all in different uniforms, clearly having been sent by various hotels, tour companies, and so forth. I showed my ticket to someone, and waited and watched the confusion mount as they all passed it back and forth amongst themselves, yelling things in Thai, pointing, correcting each other on the name of the hostel as printed on the ticket, gesticulating, looking around. None of this neither surprised nor perturbed me. Anyone who has ever travelled in the developing world will know: par for the course. Eventually a man directed me towards his minivan (with another couple) and started FLYING down the road like a lunatic. Again – pretty standard. Only two driving speeds exist in Asia: either speeding like a maniac, or driving slowly enough to drive Miss Daisy.
Turns out the other couple in the van were headed to the airport, so when the driver got to town and randomly stopped, depositing me on the side of the main road and telling me we were there, I was on my own. He pointed down a side-street and shouted “Guesthouse! Guesthouse!”, then hustled me out of his van before speeding off again. So I walked down the side-street…
… and found myself nowhere where I needed to be. Turns out (again – no surprises) that there is more than one guesthouse with that name. FARKING HELL. The woman behind the counter at this rumbledown, nasty-green hovel told me in thickly accented shrieks as I walked towards her “Me no English! Me no English!” Of COURSE not! We communicated through a series of grunts, gesticulations and speaking to each other in our own languages - which meant absolutely nothing to the other, smiles, and embarrassed-yet-somehow-we're-in-this-together laughter. She really wanted to help me, sweet thing. She pointed to her phone and tried to give it to me, saying “You call! You call!” but as I mentioned yesterday, I don’t have a number for my hostel because Agoda doesn’t provide it, lest you book it directly with the hostel and screw them out of their commission, no doubt. Eventually she called her friend, who spoke a bit of English, and him and I worked out where I should be but wasn’t, and he spoke to her again, got her to call me a taxi, and I was duly deposited at my rightful spot.
Anyway, the new place was LOVELY, and clean, and felt like my own bedroom. I showered, had some lunch, and after verifying with the hostel owner that there weren’t really any not-to-be-missed sights in town, I was more than happy to go lie down on my new soft, super comfy, bed and watch some TV for the rest of the day. Which was really quite a rare treat as well, seeing as the last time I watched TV was… I don’t even remember when.
In the evening I walked down along the river’s edge to the local Krabi Night Market, and was absolutely THRILLED to catch my first moonrise in YEARS!!! Moonrises are AMAZING!!! I didn’t even know they existed until about 5 years ago! (Don’t judge me, I’m a city girl.) Anyway, no sooner had I set out on my walk than lo and behold: a bright orange orb rising up above the water, just on the other side of the river! (I remember the first time I ever saw the phenomenon. I was watching the sun set on Koh Samui, and it had just gone down – the sky dark and full – when suddenly it started to come back up again!!! Whaaaaaaaaaat was happening?! I thought it was the end of days for a second! Until the guy sitting next to me on the beach, who’d probably heard me gasp audibly, told me what it was. And then I thought it was the best thing I’d ever seen!)
I love watching the moon go from a huge orange ball on the horizon, to a smaller yellow one as it rises, and then even smaller white as it keeps rising in the sky. It’s SUCH a beautiful sight to behold.
Holiday: MADE. This was the bright, shiny, glorious cherry on top!
So yup, that’s it.
Woke up early this morning to get on a domestic flight to Bangkok, caught the shuttle bus to the bigger international airport, and am now entertaining myself on my 7 hour layover thanks to my iPod that sends sweet sounds into my ears. Have been thinking about this year ahead and am feeling VERY motivated for it - which is a GREAT sign. WHOOP WHOOP!!!
I am absolutely determined to learn conversational Mandarin this year. The fact that I bumble along as I do after all of these years is, quite frankly: bullshit. No more, no less. I also have an apartment-hunt to kick off, as the manfriend and I will be moving in together once my lease runs out in March. So – YAY! Then I want to look into the Masters programme which I intended to start last year but postponed due to my dad’s illness. I also want to travel more within Taiwan – research the options and explore the country more, spend my weekends more wisely. (Not all of them. A lot of them will still be spent doing delicious NOTHING. Ha!) And more exercise. And just generally being a happier, nicer, more patient person. I’m excited. It looks to be a big, beautiful, rose-coloured year ahead!!!
See you soon, Taiwan!!! :) xxxxx