Okay so this is take 2, I am not used to writing on my tablet yet and I closed the window and it didn’t save. SHIT! It was really good as well. Oh well….maybe this time I should skip the theatrical introduction?
I am in Thailand……
Damn, I really liked my other introduction better.
Christmas Day 2013, I flew in to Phuket, Thailand. I had been yearning for Asia for awhile and realized that Australia wasn’t the place for me. It was too much like home. If I wanted that life I could go back to Canada but I have decided that I do not want that life so here I am. I have decided that I am going to teach English as long as I can. I seem to be quite good at it – or so my students tell me but on the otherhand they might just be sucking up. But at the minute I have the bare minimum of qualifications so if I want to continue teaching I needed to do something about that. I looked into teaching courses in Australia but the prices were too high and the cost of living was to much.
So that left me with Asia, I found a course in Chiang Mai that was half the price as it was in Australia for the exact same qualification and the cost of living is significantly less. So bye bye Sydney, Sawadiska Thailand. My first thoughts when I landed in Phuket were, “I am tired” and “I am back in Bali”. In my sleep deprived state I was trying to speak to people in Indonesian….which unsurprisingly they had no idea what the fuck I was saying. Driving down the road from the airport to Kata (where I am staying) was surprisingly similar to the Bypass except all the signs were in Thai. Everything here is surprisingly familiar but different at the same time.
Take driving here, it seems chaotic but there is actually order. Motorbikes stay to the left and everyone else goes right. This was the ‘rule’ in Bali but no one ever followed it, with people just taking any available space on the road. After an entertaining taxi ride from the airport to Kata, entertaining because the taxi driver was about 17 and thought that he was driving in Grand Theft Auto or some other videogame. At one point he was doing 120 in a 30 zone…….maybe it is more like Bali than I thought? And because he had no idea where we were going. We made it to Kata and he had no friging clue…we had to call the hostel, which in his defence really should have a sign outside advertising its whereabouts. At this point all I wanted to do was go to sleep so after checking in I got into bed and dreamed about pleasant things. Merry Christmas!!
The next day I woke up far too early and went out to find some breakfast. This is where the other \”I’m not in Bali\” moment happened- the prices. I am use to paying like $2 for a large beer and about 70 cents for dinner. Yes, that is in a street market – of which I have yet to find in Kata. But even in a restaurant, you would only pay about $3/4 for a basic meal. Too be honest I might be looking in the wrong spots or staying in the wrong area. But even getting a massage is about twice the price as it was in Bali…that said it was far more thorough and physically intensive than any massage I had in Bali. I think the woman hated me and wanted me to suffer for some reason but damn did it feel good afterwards. That was one of the main things that I missed going to Australia – my cheap cheap massages. Thai massages are kind of unlike anything that you have ever experienced. This tiny Thai woman with more physical power than you would ever expect her to have pretty much stands on and pummels you until you want to cry.
After my ordeal, I was at a loss for something to do so I went back to the hostel and talked to one of the guys who works there. His suggestion was rent a motorbike because it is significantly cheaper than getting taxis everywhere. I was slightly apprehensive because it would be the first time I had ridden a bike since leaving Bali and also since my friend’s accident. But I bit the bullet, rented one and set off on an adventure to find the Big Buddha. Now, you think something called the Big Buddha wouldn’t be hard to find. Well you clearly don’t know me that well. I am really good at recognising how to get back from somewhere but I might have trouble getting places. I diligently followed the signs for the Big Buddha and then they stopped. I continued driving but alas there were no signs. There were signs to Patong- one of the other towns along the coast so I thought, \”I am almost there now. I might as well\”. Now for those unfamiliar with Phuket, it is a fairly hilly island, meaning that you have to drive over high, twisty-turny roads. These are NOT my favourite roads to drive on. I get nervous driving around lots of corners and there are A LOT of corners on these roads. But I made it to Patong and promptly wanted to get back on my bike and leave. It is like Kuta in Bali on steriods. Maybe I grew to familiar with Kuta’s nonsense and after awhile I grew to love it. But Patong was kind of horrible. I stayed for all of 30 minutes and decided to go back to Kata. Now the only problem was finding Kata. After asking and following multiple people’s directions, I was irocivably lost. I drove over the mountain 4 times before I finally got to somewhere I recognised- before I realised that I was driving away from Kata and towards the airport. I asked one last lady for directions and bless her she pointed me the right way.
I was on my way back to Kata and guess what I found……that’s right The Big Buddha. The Big Buddha is exactly what it says on the tin….it’s a big Buddha statue on a hilltop. It’s another 6km twisty turny road to get to it but it’s pretty cool once you get there. It is still under construction so I can imagine that it’ll be even better when it’s actually finished and Buddha no longer is covered in bamboo scaffolding.
When I woke up this morning I still had half a day of my bike rental so I decided to go to Wat Chalong- a Buddhist temple not too far away from my hostel. The drive there was pretty painless and the temple itself was very pretty. While in the temple I touched a Buddha statue because I wanted to see what it was made of, plastic was the answer. But then just after I did that the guide lady yelled at some guy for touching another statue. Ooops. I got my karmic retribution for touching the statue when I went back to my bike and couldn’t find my bike key. I obviously had it when I left Kata because I drove to the temple but for the life of me I couldn’t find it anywhere. I dumped out my bag and searched all my belongings- nope. I retraced my steps and nothing. While I was in the temple I silently apologised to the statue I touched and resigned myself to having to call the rental company after one last search. I dumped all the contents out of my bag and felt around in the lining of the bag…..and there was the key! I shit you not. I had already felt the lining of the bag because I have lost stuff in there before but all it took was one apology to the big guy and I was on my way.
Right now I am trying to figure out my next move, I was going to go to Ko Phi Phi but the lady who runs the hostel said to avoid it if I don’t want to waste my money…..so that leaves me with 2 days to come up with a plan. Who knows what I will do…..I never do.