Lizards and Pterodactyls- fun and silliness on Koh Samui

In Koh Samui we saw middle age Thai women with bad facelifts try very hard to look young, while their gross old foreign counterparts, twenty years older than them, drank beer and slapped each other on the back.  We found them in the British bar in Chaweng.  The men had Brummy accents.  One was so old and liver-damaged he could barely walk to the door.  The women sat apart from their husbands and laughed, in Thai.

We tried to go exploring.  There were dirt tracks leading through the island interior with wooden huts where the more normal folk lived.  We attempted the drive up in Steve’s hire car, even gave it a good shot with a run up, but we bounced back down, backwards.  It made loud noises as it tried to deal with the pain of the rocks hitting its underbelly.  The dirt tracks were steep and covered in water drain-offs.  We tried another way, but fell off the end of the concrete road.  It was still being built.


Eventually a week later we found a route up, and went to clamber down to a signposted waterfall.  After a steep climb we found really just a pool of water, with a lady in red lingerie posing on a rock while her boyfriend did a photo shoot.  We clambered beyond the waterfall to a viewpoint, getting briefly lost and having a jungly adventure of the vine and trip hazard type.  It was very humid.  Steve found a coconut and bashed it against various hard things until it opened.  Sue searched for monkeys in the coconut palms. 



Further on into the interior we accidentally visited Paradise Farm, a sort of secret semi-zoo right on top of the cliff, with a huge number of brightly colored birds, and a stunning infinity pool overlooking the jungle.  

It was an amazing place.  There were emus, deer, lizards and monkeys, and someone had thoughtfully hand painted a selection of doves. 

There was a pterodactyl, which I thought a little mean.


There were even rabbits, though they did all look as though they had been chewed by something. I got a hug off a giant lizard, and Steve had three cockatiels placed on his head.  He looked uneasy.  Sue made friends with a large macau.

We took a boat trip to a tiny island with one ‘village’ (three shacks and some bungalows).  It was a very peaceful little place, with a Mynah bird with ruffles on its head that spoke Thai and English, and could have escaped but didn’t. 

There was an old bomb lying by the restaurant, weirdly.  No one seemed fussed.

It was looking a little like rain, so we headed back.  On the way there was a unanimous decision to snorkel, despite the ominous blackening sky, and Adam and Steve leapt in, barely avoiding a gigantic lump of coral a foot under the surface.   I joined them in a more discreet and lady-like fashion:

Two minutes later I was squealing and clinging to the side of the boat, as the waves suddenly grew enormous and definitely life-threatening.  Adam tried to save me by grabbing me round the middle, and I may have shouted a bit.  I made it out of the water only with help and sat miserably shivering and swearing about it to Sue, who put up with it remarkably well… 

Then the rain started, and we zoomed back in the stupidly small boat, hitting stupidly large waves head on in a sickening sort of way for what seemed like a very, very long time.  

We got soaked.  There was nothing dry left, apart from the boat man, who was totally without dampness.  I don’t know how. 

 before the rain...

By the time we reached the shore the wind had died down and the rain had stopped, and we all looked sheepish and wondered what all the fuss had been about.   The boat organiser had a sneaky giggle with our boat man.

A few nights later we hopped into Lamai town for the evening.  Girls in tiny shorts gyrated on top of bars in the girly-girly bars, beckoning to Adam when I looked the other way.  There were McDonalds and Pizza Huts, plural.  

There were dolled up transvestites handing out cabaret leaflets.  We were accosted simultaneously by an Indian gentleman holding a drugged-up monkey, and a Thai guy with an enormous worried-looking monitor lizard in his fist.  A Korean tourist was having his photo taking with a vulture of some kind.  It perched on his head.  There were Eighties bars with indecently cheap cocktails, and British bars with drunken expats in.  We swallowed our pride and joined in.

There we found an Australian who was biking around SE Asia, and his mate, who’d done the UK to India route by bike.  Everyone got a bit drunk reliving Pakistan.  A girl from Kansas told us all about her amazing life until we all collectively vomited into an empty pint glass and tipped it over her head.  Irritatingly, she was also quite nice, so that last bit didn’t actually happen, but I am fairly sure everyone independently thought about it. 

We headed off to one of the girly bars, and sat guzzling our way through more beers.  The girlies in this particular bar turned out to be blokesies.  The night ended with Adam visiting his favourite travel agent and waking the whole family up for a chat.

Sue and Steve left the next day, and we were sad to see them go.  It was great to see them both, and now we will be flying solo again for a time.

Driveshaft update (by Adam): Its now fixed! A local mechanic was able to order a replacement universal joint of the right size. He took  few hours to dismantle the driveshaft, knock out the old joint and put in the new one. We watched him intently throughout the process, and to his credit he coped well. The next day we had to take it back, but only to re-centre the swinging arm as we think it had been knocking slightly. It seems as good as new - time will tell. The best part was that this would have cost a fair bit at home, the driveshaft is recommended to be replaced as a whole unit, and you’re talking 300+GBP ($450). Not here thankfully - the total for the new part and all labour was 25GBP! Not at all bad.

The Last Few Days:  We’ve got our passports!! They were waiting for us in Bangkok, and after a days delay due to the King’s four day birthday extravaganza, we picked them up fine and dandy.  Its still a bit gutting having brand new passports with nothing in them though- we’ve lost all our Iran visas and things, and the new photo makes me look like a crack whore on a bad day…

The bike stayed behind in a half-built house on Samui while we lived it up at the Kings celebrations. 

There were floats and floats and floats, all made out of tissue paper with billions of tiny lights, turned into dragons and boats.  Young Thai women with elaborate headgear perched peacock-esque on top of them, waving to the crowds.  The floats were enormous, and it was amusing to watch them do six-point U-turns around the corner to head back down the packed street.   The fireworks were brilliant, and went on for hours, for four nights.  On the second day for some reason everyone wore pink, and the fireworks matched. 


We found Siam Square, a huge square of futuristic shopping centres, cinemas, and the Skytrain, all joined together with walkways above the traffic.  

Bizarrely for an almost entirely Buddhist country, there were Christmas decorations to shame Harrods.  

They were all peculiarly Asian, with cute cartoon characters and bright pastels, and teenage girls kept running up to have their photos taken in front of them.   There were Chanel branches, Tag Heuer watch shops, Hermes stores with snooty-looking shop assistants.  It was all very continental. 




We went to the cinema, and there was a 3D IMAX theatre!  Very exciting, so we watched ‘A Christmas Carol‘, in 3D, with enormous stupid-looking glasses on.  Everyone kept sticking their hands out in front of their faces to catch the snowflakes.  It all felt a bit like we had landed on a future planet.

We met an excellent taxi driver, who gave us a talisman against road accidents to keep in our car.  We are hoping it also works for other modes of transport…

On the train on the way back we settled in for an awkward ride when neither the German fellow opposite, nor the guy of indeterminate origin who was sat by me appeared to be remotely willing to communicate.  Being as how the train set-up leaves not a whole lot of leg room, we were destined to sit very, very close to two people who were totally silent, but fidgeted awkwardly for close to an hour.  Eventually the German got scared and ran off somewhere, and the indeterminate guy spoke two words or so, in monosyllabic answers to direct questions. He lived on an island in the south and considered himself far too cool to be speaking to us holidaymakers. 

Awkwardly, we headed for the train bar for something to do, and ended up getting fairly plastered with a Pole, a Russian, the indeterminate non-speaker who had followed us there and suddenly found his tongue, and the silent German, who drank copious amounts of high-strength beer,  but still didn’t speak.  The bar had funky disco lights, loud Thai music, and a bar-lady who liked to wiggle.  By the end of the night the Non-speaking Cool Guy had invited us to stay at his bungalow, and given us the address of his friend, and the Pole had given us his address in California.  The Russian had become completely unintelligible and drunk half a liter of Vodka Red Bull.  The German had said nothing.   

And last but not least, here is a Muay Thai boxing ring by night, on Ko Samui.  I am too scared of the boxers to take one by day.  They puff themselves up like robins and strut along the edge of the road pulling crazy faces.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nicky. Great blog and interesting reading. Was in Thailand a few years ago and loved it. After reading your latest blog I may have to go again! Travel safe. Cheers. Peter


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