Day 172: Anna-mal On The Loose

Yaaaaaay, today we finally met back up with Anna. She had been busy over the past month, working with young children at an orphanage in Cambodia. And when she wasn’t there, she was out exploring the country to see its many tourist attractions, including Angkor Wat. We didn’t do much to celebrate the reunion, instead we decided to save ourselves for the following day, on account of us all feeling a little tired. But here’s what happened on yet another hot day in Thailand.

• I never manage to sleep well when I know I have to be up early, and today was no exception. The alarm rang at 6am and I don’t think I’ve ever felt so tired. I stumbled around the room packing the last of my things, eating some cereal, and going through the morning rituals. Then the pair of us waited at reception for our taxi driver.

• Somewhere between 6:30am and 7am a lady showed up in a large 4X4. She took us all of 10 minutes down the road to the closest ferry port.

• After receiving our pink stickers for Koh Tao, the pair of us had to wait an hour for the boat to be ready. As we sat around a concrete table, we were befriended by an older British woman. She explained how her daughter was travelling, and that she’d just recently treated her to a couple weeks of luxury at a nice resort. The thing with backpacking is it soon gets tiring staying in budget places all the time. So if someone offers to take you to a nicer place, even somewhere as cheap as £15 a night, it’s seen as a luxury for people like us. The lady was heading to Bangkok to fly home, but was getting on the same boat as us, she went on ahead and that was the last we saw of her.

• At 8am everyone walked onto the rocky boat. Sarah and I found a couple seats together, so she decided to have a nap while I played on an addictive game called “alchemy”. The boat journey lasted 2 hours exactly, with various people getting on and off at the two islands we stopped at along the way.

• When we dismounted the boat, we then had the issue of not knowing how to find Anna. She too was arriving on a boat that morning, and should have been arriving at a similar time. Seeing as she hadn’t replied to any messages online, we only had to hope we’d bump into her. One by one the bags were unloaded, then when I collected ours we had to walk through the gauntlet of beckoning taxi drivers. Rather than accept any of their offers we kept walking until we found a place to have a drink.

• It was a small cafe called “Cozy”, they sold fruit shakes and food for a reasonable price. We thought, if we used their wifi, we would be able to see if Anna was online – she wasn’t, so we were left with a conundrum. I ordered a full English breakfast, and the pair of us ordered fruit shakes while we pondered over what to do next. While we were waiting for them to arrive, Sarah noticed a large frizzy hairdo bobbing up the hill outside. “There’s Anna”, she screamed excitedly, and immediately ran over.

• Anna came inside to join us and she filled us in on what she’d been up to. She hadn’t had much rest, because for the past day she’d been travelling 15 odd hours to reach Koh Tao. Her boat had come in from Bangkok, and arrived 10 minutes after ours. When we were done eating and drinking we began a search for accommodation. We bartered with a taxi driver to get the fare to a more reasonable price, and he took us to the main backpacker area. Koh Tao was also deceivingly large, with many roads winding all around the island.

• As we began our exploration by foot, we were rejected by the first hostel because they were full. The lady inside said that people were flocking to Koh Tao after having been to the neighbouring Phangan for the half moon party. We then began to panic when we thought we wouldn’t be able to find anywhere to stay. Someone must have been watching over us for what happened next. Roughly 700 metres away we found a bungalow resort called “Sairee Cottage Resort”. When Sarah went inside to enquire about availability and cost, they told her they had one building available for 1200 baht. This made it really cheap when split by three people, but Sarah just got that room by the skin of her teeth. 2 seconds later a guy walked in, and the only available room they then had cost 2000 baht a night.

• We had to wait 20 minutes for it to be cleaned. When it was ready. the receptionist walked us to the building. It was a lovely room with comfy beds and an en suite bathroom. The only issue we had was the heat. Because we were cheap and opted for fan, it meant it was cooler outside than in. Somehow the room acted like a car on a hot summers day, trapping in all the heat it could. A piece of advice to anyone reading this that is thinking about coming to the islands, pay the extra 8-10 quid for a/c, that way you won’t feel sticky and sweaty all the time.

• After dropping off our things and applying sun screen, we went to the beach. The most annoying thing about being near a beach, the second someone says “let’s go to the beach”, you can guarantee some idiot will sing the Starships song by Nicky Minaj! After the 3000th time of hearing it, it soon loses its charm.

• We spent the best part of 2 hours on the beach. The dry bag came with us so no one had to sit guard of our things, instead our possessions came with us in the water. The sea wasn’t that clear, and there were constant waves caused by the boats farther out. We floated about for a little while, with me ending up scratching my back on some rocks. Eventually we decided to get out and dry ourselves off, and went for dinner. There was a nearby restaurant on the beach which sold plenty of Thai dishes. I had a large plate of pineapple rice with chicken, while the girls had mushroom toast and tuna sandwiches. We were full by the end, and after paying we walked back along the beach.

• The girls were undecided at first. Initially they were going to sit on the beach some more to top up their tans. Sarah now had some serious competition in the form of the darkening Danish one. Anna only had to be in the sun for 10 minutes before she changed to a darker shade of brown. They decided against staying on the beach when I said I was returning to the room. But they agreed they’d do an all day tanning session the next day, Sarah even had plans to sabotage our friend from changing colour. Back at the room Anna and I ended up falling asleep for the next 5 hours, leaving Sarah to read her kindle, occasionally perking up whenever she thought we were beginning to stir.

• It was 8pm when we finally got up, then after getting ready, we all went out for food. I swear we are living like the animals you see on a wildlife documentary these days, sleep and eat, sleep and eat. Because Anna had been to Koh Tao before, she acted as our tour guide as we walked around the streets. We ended up in a Thai restaurant which was filled with tourists from all over. We base our opinions on restaurants by the amount of customers. I don’t think the employees spoke very good English, because when I ordered my Massaman curry I made the point of saying “no spicy”, yet when it arrived it nearly blew my mouth off. I got through it somehow, and when we were done, we retired to our resort for the night. Stopping in the 7Eleven for beer and milkshakes on the way. Outside the shop was a local man making pancakes lightning quick. Anna informed us that the man was in the Lonely Planet for his exceptional delicacies.

• We promised ourselves we’d go out properly the following night, but for this evening we’d take it steady and have a quiet one instead. Koh Tao is very similar to Phi Phi in a way, in the sense that it has a bustling night life. The only difference is it’s not as busy, which is nice because it means there aren’t as many drunken a******* wandering around. I ended up going back to the room first, leaving the girls to sit outside reception sucking up all the wifi like some social networking vampires. I played the Alchemy game for around half an hour before they showed up, then they became addicted to the cooking show that was on the television. All three of us didn’t get to bed until around 1am, with me staying up to type into the night about my day. It wasn’t the most exciting day to write about, but now we were with Anna again, things were beginning to look up.

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