....Going through the highs and lows
After Ko Tao it was only a short hop (well a 1 1/2 hour boat ride) over to Ko Phangan, home of the infamous full moon parties and generally revered in backpacker folklore as a must-do, so I picked this place over Ko Samui as I thought that might be back to smug couple and wealthy elders land....
I booked ahead some accomodation aimed at backpackers (good old Lonely Planet)because I thought this would be the best way forward. Well it did what it said on the tin, lots of young traveller types haning round the bar, but my room was sooo grim, grubby and hot, and the bathroom... the water was yellow and it permanently smelled of drains.
But it didn't take long to make a buddy, so this raised my spirits considerably. Me and Rachelle hit the beach, which along with the resort itself was a tiny bit disappointing after the picture-perfect Ko Tao. The sea was very rough too which was annoying, but it can be fun playing in the waves right? No. Within minutes of meeting this poor girl I was shouting "erm, I really can't swim against this tide" and I was drifting further and further away from her and then she tried to swim towards me and got stuck too. Bascially we had got caught in a rip tide which the few other swimmers seemed oblivious to, and it was really scarey. I think we kind of went out of the side of it in the end because suddenly I could touch the bottom and mananged to haul myself back to shore (as did she) but we just sat on the beach feeling really shaken.
Later in the bar we were talking to a Swedish couple and they said "oh yeah look at the poster behind the bar, a Swedish couple drowned last summer and they are raising money to have lifeguards on the beach". Nice.
Anyway that night we had a fun night out on the beach to celebrate being alive (the full moon party isn't for another couple of weeks unfortuantely but the bars are always pretty busy) and we hooked up with another couple of girls from our accomodation so that was all good. I'm steering away from binge drinking however becuase even though alcohol is well cheap, I'm permanently dehydrated with the heat as it is, I really don't think I could live through one of my killer hangovers (OK, I'm getting a bit flippant with the whole 'on deaths door' thing at the mo).
I'm afraid to say that Ko Phangan was really about beach bumming and little else, lots of reading, hanging out with the girls, and I did venture back in the water. But I also got rather sick over the last couple of days there so was forced to take it easy. My rock solid Yorkshire constitution was beaten I'm afraid, mild food posioning, a dash of dehydration and taking malaria pills on an empty stomach making me puke just for good measure! Wasn't very nice being stuck in my room feeling icky with just a rattling fan and the cheesey music from the bar downstairs for company... but got through it and am fine now.
So two weeks in am feeling a lot more relaxed about the whole travelling alone thing. It took a bit of adjusting to I have to admit, but I'm well into it now and have met lots of nice people to chat to along the way - from all corners of the globe. The mantra of listening to others travel advice is already proving useful, everyone full of tips of where to go/stay etc. And I'm even dolling out my own recommendations too.
Hope this dear diary stuff is not boring you all to death, will persevere anyway, is proving quite a good time filler sometimes (and an excuse to sit in an air conditioned room for an hour - bliss!)
Until the next one....