I’d like to say I truly had an entire island to myself, but really, I just went on a trip by myself. There are many people who can’t or don’t like to travel alone, and six months ago I was one of them. Now, I rather like it. At times, I even crave it.
This week is midterms week. All the students have been testing with their Thai teachers, so I’ve “not had class” to attend. I’ll get to why that’s in quotations in a bit. So I decided last weekend to go to Koh Samet, an island just off the coast in the gulf. Koh Samet happens to be a National Park, so you have to pay an entrance fee which is only 200 baht ($6), but with my work permit, it was knocked down to only 40 baht ($1.30)! Round trip, I spent 447 baht to get there which calculates to just under $15 USD. The bungalow I stayed at, Jep’s, was really nice… I’ll post a write up under the “Hotel Reviews” section in the next couple days. Enough about the cost of things, that’s just for curiosities sake… Let’s get to the interesting stuff.
I spent Saturday, Sunday and Monday relaxing on the beach, reading, and stuffing myself with delicious non-thai dishes. It was quite a treat. Since I cut myself off from the outside world (i.e. no electronics, internet access, phone, etc.) I was finally able to finish reading An Idiot Abroad by Karl Pilkington, a book I started a couple months back but have been too distracted to finish. Then I started reading Palo Alto by James Franco. Haven’t finished it yet, but I’ve made some good headway. I’ve got a good stack of books I’m hoping to get through in the next few months, so hopefully with the help of a couple trips I’ll knock ’em out.
About 15 minutes into my beach time on Saturday (when I arrived) I decided I would get into the water for a nice “cool down,” as it was midday and quite hot out. Not five minutes in, I felt a sharp stinging across my legs so I got out of the water. My legs continued to burn, and I’d still not a clue what had gone on. I looked at my legs, and there were two lines going across my shins on both my legs…. Are you catching on to what happened? Yep, jellyfish. That was the last bit of water time for Saturday, and I only got in the water one other time (on Sunday) because the salt and sand didn’t feel too good on my legs. Turns out, tiger balm (which is a bit similar to Vicks vaporub… maybe? Or could just smell similar. Either way, it’s got some sort of menthol in it.) doesn’t make your jelly stings feel better. It actually hurts, quite a lot.
Like most trips when I travel alone, I met a few people. The first day, I helped some backpackers from Sweden (Frieda and Jonas) find a bungalow… They were lost and on the more crowded side of the beach. We chatted for a bit and then went our separate ways, as many encounters go. Then, on Sunday evening, I had dinner with a girl from Australia, Katherine. She had just come from a two week Mahout trip and told me many stories from her adventures and about her life in Oz. I’ve definitely noticed that you meet more people when you travel alone than when you travel in large groups, but you have to be open to it!
Other than that, nothing is new! I came back to teach my M6 students because they didn’t have testing this week, but none of them have showed up to class… I should have just stayed on the beach. I know for next time! I will just skip classes all week.