Day 201: We’re Off To See The Wizard, The Wonderful Wizard Of Aus(tralia)

Surprisingly I have quite a lot to write about today. Somehow we managed to do loads in an area where there’s not much to do. Rather than give it all away in the introductory paragraph, I’ll get straight to it.

• When we woke up this morning the weather outside was glorious. Not a cloud in the bright blue sky at all. The sun was out and already roasting as early as 9:30am. Sarah didn’t hang about and was already in her bikini before I had the chance to ask what was going on. She told me she was going down to sit by the pool. I needed a few minutes to wake up, then when I was ready I joined her.

• Because Sarah wanted to sunbathe I went to reception to enquire about another nights stay. I explained to the lady that it was cheaper on Agado to book another night than pay the reduced rate she offered us. I asked if her offer of 800 baht included breakfast, to which she said no. She then became very blunt, saying if I wanted to stay another night it would cost 800 baht. I returned to Sarah to tell her the bad news, then went to the room to pack my bag. Soon after Sarah joined me, then the pair of us went out for breakfast.

• We went back to the same place as the previous evening. After looking through the menu we both chose porridge as our first meal of the day. I only mention this because of what happened next. When they arrived, each bowl had a funny taste of salt to it. We don’t know how, as salt isn’t an ingredient used in porridge. I managed to eat mine, but Sarah had the fun job of trying to explain to the Thai ladies what “too salty” meant. It was hilarious, neither lady spoke any English, and watching Sarah run around the restaurant looking for a salt pot provided great entertainment. She even tried using google to translate the words “too salty”, but the ladies still didn’t understand. In the end they phoned another employee, or their boss, who spoke good English, and handed Sarah the phone. He told her she didn’t have to pay for it and was allowed to order something else instead. When her chicken sandwiches arrived she was a lot happier. We then used the wifi to find cheaper accommodation. Sarah selected the same place we went looking for the previous evening, and booked one night. As soon as we paid for breakfast we began walking back to our current resort.

• Half way there was a tourist shop offering day trips and motorbike rentals. We decided to hire one so we could easily transfer the bags from one resort to the other. There were taxis, but for the prices they charged we thought we may as well get a bike. We stood debating for a while as originally the lady wanted 400 baht for two days. The longer we thought about it the more she came down in price.
“Ok, I give you good price, 350 baht”.
“Hmmm what do you think Sarah? Uuummmm, ahhhhh. ooooohhhhh”.
“Ok, ok, 300 baht”.
Brilliant. I think we pretty much snapped her hand off when she made that offer. Seeing as we got charged 100 baht for a 5 minute taxi ride the day before, we could now ride around all day for the same price if we wanted – fuel allowing of course. The lady didn’t want any passports as proof of identity or collateral for the bike. She only asked where we were staying. We gave her the details and in return we were given a small moped with a near empty fuel tank.

• There was enough for what we needed that morning. I rode us back to Suwan Palm Resort where I grabbed my holdall and one day bag. Sarah continued packing her bags while I rode to our new resort. It was no wonder we didn’t find it by foot the previous evening, it turned out Grand City resort was 300 metres in the opposite direction to which we walked. I located it easily enough and checked in. I was allowed to leave my bags at reception while I returned to grab Sarah. By the time I got back Sarah was waiting beside the pool. She struggled towards me with her holdall and day bag. I went to her aid, and she checked us out. I then had the task of riding a tiny scooter with Sarah and her holdall on the back, and the day bag between my feet. It was fairly easy when we got going, but the newly added weight was certainly noticeable as I drove. I dropped Sarah off and told her what room to go to, then returned to reception to grab the bags.

• Our new room wasn’t as fancy as the last one, but this resort was cheaper, came with breakfast, and also had a pool. Speaking of which, after dropping off the bags, that’s where we spent the following few hours. The pool was lovely, not too hot and not too cold. Although it was slightly salty which was odd, but unlike breakfast there was nobody we called call to complain to. Sarah disappeared at one point to speak to her parents, while I messed about on eBay. I bought a pair weightlifting gloves in preparation for the gym in Australia. Unfortunately I hadn’t taken into account the fact it was a bank holiday, and would most likely not receive them before Sarah’s parents flew out to meet us. When we’d had enough of the pool we returned to the room for a bit, where my new favourite thing happened. Sarah had been burned by the sun, “HAHA”, I shouted. “I guess that’s what you get for sitting in the sun without any lotion on. I’m Sarah, I don’t need any lotion these days”, I teased. Her face, chest, arms were scarlet. I felt it had been a long time coming after all those times she’d mocked me and put pictures on Facebook. After she took a shower we remained indoors until the sun was less potent. Around 4pm we went out on the bike to explore Koh Lak.

• It is a peculiar place, where we were staying was kind of like an old west town. Meaning either side of the road were buildings such as: bars, convenience stores, restaurants, dive centres and tourist shops (granted these places didn’t exist in the old west, but the layout of the buildings were the same). They went on for a couple miles, but when you came to the end of the strip it was nothing but long windy roads. We followed one of these roads, passing a national park along the way, until we thought it best to turn around on accounts of having low fuel. Koh Lak is beautiful though. The roads were really nice to ride on as they had no potholes, and all around us were bright green forests rich with wildlife. Sarah described it as looking like something from the movie Avatar. To which I couldn’t disagree, it was difficult to admire the surrounding nature because I had to focus on the roads, but from what I could see it was stunning. So much so that we were thinking about visiting the national park the following day. We eventually came upon a lay by at the side of the road and used that to turn back around. It was funny, we had just missed a mini rainstorm. By the time we got back to the main strip near our resort, the roads were soaking wet, and there was still the occasional droplet falling from the sky. We were dangerously close to running out of fuel, and because we couldn’t see any fuel stations nearby, we returned to where we hired the bike.

• The lady there gave us two bottles of gasoline, which filled the tank halfway. It was enough to keep us going for the duration of our rental. I was feeling pretty hungry by this point, so I continued along the road until we found a place called Mars Bar Cafe. It appeared to be owned by English gentlemen. The whole menu was that of English dishes: pies, chip buttys, beans on toast. I ordered a chicken and mushroom pie, and although it was quite dry, I still enjoyed it. While I was eating, Sarah was using Facebook to talk with our friend Beth in Australia. For those who can’t remember, Beth an Adam had offered to put us up when we got there. It was during this conversation that we finally chose a date to end our Asian adventure, and begin a life of work and routine in Australia. That’s right folks, we have officially booked our flights to Oz. THIS WAS HUGE. The flights were booked for the end of May, and Adam even said he’d come to the airport in the early hours to get us. What a star he is. By the time we leave Southeast Asia we’d have spent over 8 months travelling its beautiful countries. And to be honest, I am kind of happy about it. The saying “Too much of a good thing” really does apply here. As great as having all these new experiences has been, and believe it really has been great, we’re now beginning to take some of it for granted. Like the islands for example. We’ve been to so many beautiful locations now, that we’ve become a little desensitised to it. And being able to sleep in until you want, eat whatever you like, not worry about exercising, and staying up all night eventually gets old. That’s why I’m looking forward to routine and having some structure again. I am especially looking forward to adult sized meals and a gym membership, that’s for sure. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, losing all this weight has been hard on me, especially seeing as I worked so hard to bulk up in the first place. I think Australia is going to be good for us, as there’s only so long you can live in the clouds before you have to come back down again.

• Beth was really excited when we told her the flights had been booked and confirmed. After that was sorted, I settled the bill, then we got back on the bike with the intention of watching the sunset from the beach. But as I started riding I noticed a sign which read:
“Tsunami memorial sculpture <-"
My curiosity got the better of me, the beach would have to wait for now. I followed the sign's directions to see what it was, only to be disappointed. Whatever the sculpture was, it wasn't finished. At the end of the road we found nothing but a construction sight. All that was built so far was a very small grassy area, which looked to be a roundabout, and a very small building. Other than that, there was a large digger churning up the ground and several men at work. We swiftly turned around and headed for the beach.

• When we arrived we were disappointed for the second time. The sunset was nowhere near as spectacular as the previous evenings. In fact I think it was safe to say we'd missed the best bit again. We still took a couple pictures, then I rode back to our resort as quick as I could, with Sarah moaning in my ear the whole way for both my speed and the fact her bladder was about to burst. While Sarah ran up to our room, I used my phone to Skype my mum before she went to work. I hadn't spoken to her in over a week, before her holiday in fact. She said it went really well, BUT (see where I get it from), they didn't have the best of weather. She then went on to tell me she'd given everyone the presents I'd sent home, including my nan. Bless her, I was told that at first she thought her present was a nice wooden box. It wasn't until she opened it that she discovered the real gift. It was a scented flower carved out of soap. She's always liked flowers, and what's better than one that won't die. Much like Sarah does her parents, I gave my mum some clothing demands to fetch certain items from my collection to give to Sarah parents. I am sorry in advance Ann and Simon if you're reading this. If you need to make space, just forget to bring some of Sarah's, I'm sure she won't mind. When our phone call ended, Sarah and I returned to our room so I could shower.

• Now that I was feeling fresh again, we decided to go out for tea. Well I say that, what we actually did first was go to an Internet cafe so Sarah could try and find some hospital job references in Australia. We only had half an hour before the man closed his shop, it wasn't long enough really. While Sarah Googled away, I watched the owner playing with his pet cat. It was probably the most tame feline on Earth. He teased it with grass, taught it to jump up on the bench beside him, it never strayed away, and it even let him tickle its belly. I couldn't help thinking he should compete on a talent show as a double act. When Sarah's time was up we crossed the street to eat at the same restaurant again.

• I had a satay chicken burger, which is something I hadn't had before. It was goooooood. Sarah had the bland Caesar salad. After that we called it a night and returned to our room. On the walk back we were treated to yet another tropical thunderstorm. Funnily enough there wasn't any rain, just flashes of lightning and claps of thunder. We were fortunate enough to have a room overlooking the storm, right outside the large glass doors we could see it all. I stood on the balcony trying my best to capture each flash as it happened. In a way I guess I kind of succeeded, but obviously the lens of the iPhone wasn't quick enough to capture the speed of light. So instead of having photos of lightning forks, all I have is bright white light. Which Still made for good pictures. This whole time we've been away I've wanted nothing more than to see a thunderstorm over the ocean, and tonight looked like I was going to get that chance. By now I was in my pyjamas, and just as I began getting changed to go out, Sarah changed my mind. We'd both read that the beaches aren't the safest places to be at night. A lot of muggings and such occur there then. Wether or not its because I'm older now and the sensible gene's kicked in, I don't know, but I chose to stay in instead. It was dark around that area at night, and I'd be going alone with my iPhone. I didn't actually mind that much anyway, as by the time I'd made up my mind to go, the storm had started calming down and moving on. There's always next time I guess. Now we were both settled in for the night, we finished watching a film we'd started the previous evening, followed by a tv show. I then stayed until 2:45am working on the blog. Still, it wouldn't be long before I'd be finished with the Erratic Ramblings of an Uneducated Daydreamer. I was on the final countdown, only 20 something days remained. It'll be strange to live a day of my life and not feel the need to document it.

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