Why the hell are we here? Neither of us particularly like beaches, and the heat is a constant annoyance to Mr Locke!
Well, I will tell you - as Dan said last night, this is the closest thing to paradise we have found on this trip, and even though then I wasn't convinced, I woke up this morning to the sun twinkling in the green sea, waded out into the cool water, and as the fish swam around my ankles, I now owe him an apology.
he was right.
You can keep the beaches and islands of Fiji, this is the real deal. If you can get over the fact that the place is full of westerners, at times making it seem like Thailands answer to the Costa del Sol, and find a deserted area of golden sand and gently lapping waves, then you can begin to appreciate how worth while it was making the effort to come here.
And what an effort. The booking of the bus was relatively easy, apparently we were to get a bus from Penang to the Thai coast to get the ferry to the island. But as it turned out, things can't always be as simple as they sound. A quick rundown as follows -
- 0500 pick up in a minibus outside our hotel in Penang. Pick up several passengers and head towards the border.
- Cross the border at approximately 0730.
- By about 0800 we are made to change to a different minibus.
- This bus picks up several new passengers. The small bus is now full.
- Arrive at a tourist office around 1130, and wait.
- 1145 a Tuk-Tuk takes us to another office.
- 1230 we arrive at the office and are informed we can either wait for the 1600 ferry, or go to get the more expensive one at 1430, which we can make if we hurry. Convinced we are being ripped off, we still agree to the earlier ferry.
- A short ride on the back of a motorbike to get money to pay for the ferry.
- 1315 sees us in another Tuk-Tuk, this time stopping randomly at the side of the road. Momentary panic.
- 1325 we are flagging a bus down at the side of the road to take us to the 'port'. I am crammed between two people, the Thai conductor forcing me to sit down, getting fairly intimate with the elbows and thighs of my neighbours - unintentionally.
- 1425 rushing to get on the ferry before it leaves in five minutes.
- 1430 we are on it and an hour later arrive on Ko Samui.
- Our final journey is by Taxi to our accomodation.
We are staying in a small beach side bungalow, which all adds to the illusion of this tropical haven. We are managing to avoid the Brits abroad groups, and now, with only a week to go, winding down and using the time to reflect on this journey.
I have to say the more I do this the sadder I feel. I think an apology to Dan is in order for my foul mood the last couple of days. Yesterdays early morning coupled with the feeling of the adventure coming to a close is getting me down. But I shouldn't let it. We have a week left, and I need to make the most of it.
Who knows what can happen, and my bad mood shouldn't sour the sweetness that seems to be Ko Samui. So I will savour every second we have left before returning to real life and all the things that come with it.