I can’t get on the internet at the minute so I am thinking that I left off with going from Ao Nang to Ko Lanta…..even if I didn’t that is where I am starting off this post. HAH- take that continuity.
I started the day sitting outside the hostel waiting for the minibus that would take me to Ko Lanta. It was supposed to turn up at 10am but in true Thai fashion it turned up at about 10:30. I was the last person to get in and was squished up front with the driver and who I assume was his girlfriend. This doesn’t sound too bad and it wasn’t apart from the ridiculously shrill Thai pop music that was blasted at top volume. We arrived at A bus station about 20 minutes away and were told to get off, given a sticker with our destination and motioned to wait in the waiting area. Like the boats I mentioned in the previous post, they leave when they are full not on a timetable. The only person who seemed to know what was going on and where buses were going was a tiny Thai man with a clipboard. He would stand in the middle of the waiting area shouting out destination names and pointing in various directions indicating what bus out of the 25 waiting the passenger should board. This is the Thai way. No actual timetables, no electronic signs indicating bus numbers or destinations, just one man and his clipboard. In fact he might not have even worked for the company, he might have just been incredibly OCD and just liked organization. In the waiting area, people with the same destination stickers started to clump together, if seemed that if there were more people they got on a bus faster. This was not the case for us weary travellers going to Ko Lanta. Bus after bus pulled out of the station and the group of people waiting got smaller and smaller.
I heard two of the other people waiting for the Ko Lanta bus speaking and recognised the familiar pronuncation of certain words and asked, \”So where are you from in Canada?\” The answer was \”Vancouver…well actually Kelowna? How about you?\” My response was, \”Vancouver….well actually Victoria.\” Aparently Canadians just pick the nearest big city to say they are from because the majority of people outside of Canada are really not that aware of Canadian geography. “Vancouver? Is that near Quebec?” or my favourite, “I’ve been to the East Coast of Canada….Toronto” So I, the Victorian and the two Kelownans/Kelownites/Kelownians?? (anyone reading from Kelowna please tell me what you are called) became a group. Finally it was our turn to get on a bus and the girl Kelownan sat in the front. We joked that the empty seat beside her was either going to be occupied by a fat white guy or a tiny Thai woman. She seemed to get off and as we left the bus station the seat was still empty -cut to about an hour later and the bus suddenly pulls off the road and picks up a tiny Thai woman who jumps into the front seat next to her. She turned and looked at me with a “Did that really just happen?” expression. Oh Thailand.
When we reached Ko Lanta, I said goodbye to the Kelownans but it is a very small place so we were bound to run into each other again (we did). I checked into my hotel, Sincere Guesthouse. I don’t really like writing the typical tourist thing, but I can’t recommend this place enough. I stayed in a female only dorm but there are regular rooms there as well. It is situated right on the water, the back balcony/restaurant actually sticks out on stilts over the water. The people that own the place as well are so friendly and helpful. If you happen to head to Ko Lanta check out Sincere Guesthouse. Ko Lanta isn’t really a party island, there are beach side bars but that is about it. It is a really chilled out island. So my inital wander around the main town, Ban Saladan didn’t really take that long but I did run into the Kelownans again. We decided to grab some dinner and my decision in food would come back to haunt me. I’m not sure what it was but something didn’t agree with me and I spent the next day on the balcony of the hostel or laying on the bathroom floor. I’m sure that you really wanted to know that. Sorry. In my defense, in the last two years, I’ve had food poisoning only twice. And they were both from eating western food. Take that people who avoid street food. Never once been sick from ‘dirty’ street food, only from ‘clean’ western places. “Hmmmmm…..interesting.
After my ‘relaxing’ day, I decided even though I didn’t feel that great, I couldn’t spend another day doing nothing so I forced myself to get up and rented a scooter to explore further afield on Ko Lanta. After driving for about an hour, I literally made it to the end of the road. I wanted to see the Chao Ley (Sea Gypsies) community. They are a people who have lived one the Andaman Sea for generations but after the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami came and started communities on the mainland. I was at the end of the road looking down the cliff at this community and thought to myself, “This is like going onto a reservation just to have a look around” and then I felt kind of bad for wanting to intrude on these people’s lives. As I was turning around another woman pulled up on a scooter and said, “Can I have a look at your map?”, again I recognised some familiar words and said, “Where in Canada are you from?” “Toronto” was the response this time. Apparently Canadian love Ko Lanta. We were both travelling alone we decided to team up for the ride back since it’s always more fun to travel with a buddy. We got some lunch and hung out on the beach for a bit and then went our separate ways. Thus are the trials and tribulations of travellers, the temporary nature of the relationships you make with people. You are best friends with someone for a day or two, tell them your darkest secrets then part. Yes, not every friendship you make while travelling is temporary but the majority are. That is one of the miracles of Facebook. Judge me all you want but I think that Facebook is one of the most important and useful inventions of my generation. There I said it, I fucking love Facebook.
On that note….peace out…More on Bangkok later.