I did it, I did it, I did it!!!! I finally completed my 200hr Yoga Teachers Training and am now a certified yoga teacher and boy does it feel good!! :D I am so proud of all of us who were part of the Vikasa Sept/Oct training! We had a tough past couple of weeks but we all made it through and came a very long way since day one! I am so glad I chose to do this and will forever remember this past month which was full of ups and downs. I feel like I have grown so much as a person and have become both mentally and physically stronger. It's the mental strength that I find most impressive though, I am noticing it more and more everyday!!
Saturday was our last full day at Vikasa but most of the day was ours to do however we pleased. Like I mentioned in my previous post, I motorbiked to the Intercontinental Hotel with one of my fellow yogis for a day of rest, relaxation and a little bit of luxury. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the greatest but we decided to still just make the most of it.
It's about a 30 minute motorbike ride which was fine with me because I have become very attached to the motorbike I rented for most of my time in Samui. By the time we got to the hotel it started to drizzle rain so we just walked around checking it all out until it cleared up. The rain didn't last too long so we ordered a drink from the bar to drink poolside in hope that the sun would come out for us. About 10 minutes after we got all set up it started to pour!!! This time it was coming down hard so we had to pack it in and to back inside. We finished our drinks in the bar area and then headed down to the restaurant for a nice lunch. We decided to treat ourselves and splurge a little since we were at a nice restaurant in a beautiful hotel. This was by far the nicest hotel I have ever seen, and the service was amazing. (Stine, you should check it out online if you see this. It is absolutely breathtaking and being there made me think of you!!) We ordered veggie spring rolls to share as a started and each ordered our own mains but ended up just splitting them. I got a Thai Green Curry and Mary, my fellow yogi friend, ordered a Chicken and Cashew Nut dish which were both served with rice. Since we were going all out we also each ordered the Cheesecake with Peanut and Macadamia Crust and Berry Compote. Everything was amazing but the desert was absolutely incredible, which says a lot coming from me because I am not a huge desert fan but the cheesecake was perfect! After our lunch we had to make the ride back to Vikasa to get ready for our Graduation and Grand Opening party!
The opening party wasn't quite as crazy as we all expected but it was nice to really let loose with everyone and enjoy our last night together. Our graduation ceremony was short and sweet. Kosta and Ram presented us with or certificates one by one with the opportunity to pause for a photo before returning to our seats. They both congratulated us for completing the course and acknowledge us all for our hard work and tremendous improvement over the past four weeks. Ram finished off the ceremony with a chant. It was nice and short and got straight to the point. After the ceremony we were ready to party. The party started at 5 and since most of us had nothing better to do we got straight to it and started drinking organic rum from the island. We had a choice of mojitos or a rum punch each for 50 baht (about $1.60). Waterloo friends, think Phil's and cheap drinks sloppiness. Seeing as we started drinking at 5pm and drinks were super cheap, a lot of us were feeling pretty good by 7pm. We were all shocked at how early it was and how many drinks we had already has :s. The plan was to go out once the party starte to unwind around 10pm but by 9pm I knew it was probably a good idea that I didn't go anywhere. A lot of us were starting to rethink our party plans and opted to stay in and hang out in one of the guys room where a group who weren't going out continued the party (which I did for a bit until it was time for me to pass out at around 1230am). I got a really good nights sleep and woke up the next morning feeling completely fine. At breakfast I noticed those who did end up going out were looking pretty haggard and felt pretty rough. I was glad I decided to stay in because I felt great and could enjoy my last day in Samui but at the same time I wish I would of just sucked it up and gone out after hearing all the funny stories. I know I have a lot of partying to do over the next few weeks so it was probably for the best anyways, especially financially. I think I've spent more this past week then I had in the first three weeks combined. I think because the end was near and I knew this was my last shot at luxury before hitting the backpack trail, I was more willing to spend. Hopefully I didn't overspend and I will be okay for the rest of my trip! I will just have to be more cautious of spending and stick to a tight budget and I should be fine.
The day after the party was the day we got to checkin to our nice hotel before leaving Samui. The other two that I was staying with were part of the crew that went out the night before so they were feeling a little rough. We had breakfast a Vikasa for the last time then I returned my motorbike :( and purchased my ferry ticket to Khao Sok. We tried to say we were only two in a room when we booked our hotel in order to save money but when we got to the hotel we were busted. I've done this multiple times in Toronto and it has never been an issue but I think because it was a nice resort and we had people greet us and take our bags upon arrival kinda ruined our plan. Right away they asked for all of our passports and noticed the room was only booked for two but there were three of us arriving together. We could of tried to be more sneaky and have one person come later on and just walk in and come straight to the room but we were able to get a free ride from one of the workers at Vikasa who was shuttling people to the airport all day. Since it was along the way he said he would just drop us off so we couldn't turn down the offer. Since we got caught our options were to pay and extra 2000 baht for the third person when we only paid 3000 baht for the room in the first place or we could book another room. I was ok with just paying the extra 2000b and splitting it 3 ways but the one guy staying with us decided he would just take his own room and spend the extra money. So now instead of splitting a 3000b room 3 ways, we had to split it two. I was a little bummed we got caught because I didn't want to have to spend that much but I got over it pretty quickly once I got in my bather and was relaxing poolside. We spent our day swimming, lounging by the pool and had a couple drinks while doing so. It was happy hour almost every two hours so we were able to get 2 for 1 drinks!! We were good and only had 3 each and then cleaned up and hit the Chewang walking street to do some shopping and grab some dinner. I didn't buy anything because I have tons of time to shop and don't want to buy too much and have to carry it. We ate at a restaurant called Rice which ironically served mostly all Italian dishes. They had a wood oven and a Thai lady making dough from scratch and baking pizzas so I thought it would be a good bet to try the pizza. Since my last pizza experience in Thailand was so good I had high hopes for this one as well. Unfortunately it was no where near as good as my last one in Fisherman's Village which was pretty disappointing. After dinner Mary (the one i was now splitting the room with) and I went back to our room to lie in bed and watch a movie since that's all we'd been wanting to do for the past month but couldn't because there are no TVs at Vikasa. I miss movies and having lazy days on the couch where you can watch movies or tv series all day long. Seeing as we spent most of our time doing yoga and the rest feeling mentally and physically exhausted, most nights all we wanted to do was get comfy and watch movies. When we got to the room HBO was just about to air the movie One Day with Anne Hathaway and the hottie from Across The Universe (I forget his name) which I was more then happy to watch! I have seen it before but it was just the kind of movie I was hoping would be on. We fell asleep right after the movie.
I woke up at about 7am this morning to get ready to catch my shuttle to the ferry at 8am. I was the first to be picked up and then we picked up about 8 others before making it to the ferry dock. As we were driving there it was starting to hit me that my backpacking journey was officially beginning and I was totally on my own now! I felt very calm about it all and it felt very natural and as if it were something I'd done before. I am totally ready for this and I think all the yoga helped me get ready mentally. This is one of the reasons why I've noticed I've become a lot stronger mentally. The old me probably would have been freaking out, nervous thoughts running through my head. Thinking about horrible situations that could arise and then trying to calm myself down and tell myself everything would be ok. The new me basically just acknowledged the fact that this was happening and was totally alright with it. I was happy to just be on my own for a bit and make my own decisions and get away from my daily routine. I will miss Vikasa and my time there but I think I am ready for this next leg.
The ferry ride was about an hour or so. This was my first ferry ever. The weather today wasn't so great so the view was nothing spectacular. I sat at the back of the boat next to two German girls who were backpacking and were also on my shuttle to the ferry. They were heading to Surat Thani airport to catch a flight to Bangkok where they were flying out of to Australia. Our shuttle took us to the ferry depot where we and some others got on a bus which took us straight to the dock where we then got off and the bus drove onto the ferry with all our luggage. I was a little confused at this point but the Thai man from the bus who spoke very good English informed us all that we would get back on the bus after we get off the ferry and it will take us to a bus depot in Surat Thani. From there some would transfer to a separate bus or minibus which would take you to your final destination. The German girls stayed on the bus as it was going to the airport and I had to switch buses at the depot. I was the only one going to Khao Sok and my minibus was the last to arrive. I got in this minibus/giant van which was full of Thai people. I was the only Caucasian and the driver let me sit in the front where he went on to ask me about my backpacking plans and all the stops I was planning on making. He kept asking where my boyfriend was and didn't believe that I didn't have one. I was starting to feel a little weird about the situation and had no idea what I got myself into. He literally honked his horn about every 30 seconds. For the most part he would honk it if someone was in front of us beside us or coming the other direction towards us but sometimes I think he would honk just for the fun of it. The Thais love to honk and I have gotten used to this behaviour since I've gotten here but he was just over the top crazy with his honking. I was also confused by who all these locals we were picking up were. Sometimes he would honk and then stop and someone new would get on, other times he would look a a sheet of paper which I'm assuming had addresses of locations in which he had a pickup. We drove for about 2 hours picking people up and dropping them off until finally I noticed signs for Khao Sok and there were about 4 of us left in the vehicle. It was refreshing to know we were close and I was likely going to get there safe and sound. After we dropped off the last person I asked if we were almost there and if he was going to take me straight to my accommodations. I booked my accommodations at the bus depot before he picked me up and was told I'd be dropped off at the bungalows in which I booked for two nights. He said yes and then asked me if I would have dinner with him first. I just laughed and told him I didn't have time. We then pulled over at some restaurant and he said we were there. I looked around and did not see any jungle huts or bungalows and asked why he hadn't taken me to my accommodations. He said someone else would take me there so I got out grabbed my bags and he yelled to another Thai guy sitting outside that he was to take me to Jungle Huts Bungalows. It was about a 3 minute drive and I finally made it. The guy took me straight to my room and left. I didn't have to check in or anything. He showed my to a hit which had a key in the door and that was that.
My room is pretty tiny and only has a bed with a mosquito net, a fan and a toilet. There's a shower head in the washroom but no drain or anything so I'm not too sure how that's supposed to work. It's super quiet here as it is the low season in Thailand right now and I don't think this is a very touristy area but I am so glad I made the trek. I am in the middle of the jungle and the greens are so lush. There are crazy animals, insects, birds and reptiles everywhere. Kinda freaks me out but super cool at the same time. After dropping my stuff off in my room I went for a little walk up and down the street from where I am. When I read about Khao Sok, I noticed there was a quieter side and a more lively side of the area. I'm guessing I am located on the quite side as there is not much going on at all. The restaurants and bars all look really cool and like they would be fun to hangout in but the is literally no one around so they were mostly all empty. I walked back to my room and did about a 45min yoga practice on my balcony. It's super humid here and it was about 5pm when I was practicing so I was sweating up a storm and getting eaten alive. The mosquitos were wayyy worse here compared to the Sala at Vikasa. I guess we has the help of mosquito coils and were somewhat covered compared to practicing in the middle of the jungle were the mosquitos were probably twice as bad. I could only last 45 minutes because I couldn't take it anymore. I was trying not to think about it and just mentally power through but my body couldn't take it anymore. I did a quick savasana, closed my practice and headed inside to freshen up before going to grab some dinner. I walked up and down the street again to see if any of the restaurants were somewhat busy. Most had absolutely no guests while a couple had one or two. I finally just chose a place that served authentic Thai food but had no other customers. I noticed this place was one of the busiest during my first walk so I thought it would be a safe bet even though no one was there at the time. I got a chicken curry dish which was actually really really good, and cheap! I ate my meal feel somewhat awkward being the only guest but it was nice to eat a meal in peace and not having to make small talk. I was enjoying my time alone today. After my dinner I kept walking in hopes of finding somewhere with wifi. Luckily there was an Internet cafe right across the street from where I am staying. They charge 1baht per minute which ends up being $2/hour. I spent about half an hour checking my email and Facebook. I wanted to update my blog but had to go to the washroom and they didn't have a toilet there. I figured I would just walk back to my room and type up my post from there and then upload it once I have Internet again, which I am now doing.
I booked a jungle/lake tour tomorrow which involves taking a longboat, trekking through the jungle to a waterfall, swimming and then heading back. We leave at 830am and are expected back at around 730pm. It's my only full day here so I decided to make the most of it. I leave on another minibus to Krabi at 8am on Wednesday morning. I haven't booked accommodations but will probably find something once I arrive and will then decide which island I want to go to from there. I'm thinking I will head to Ko hLanta, Railey and Koh Phi Phi before making it back to Samui to meet Bryan! So far I have enjoyed my first day as a backpacker but it will be nice to meet some people tomorrow and explore more of the area.
Thanks for reading and I will try and keep updates as much as possible so my entries don't end up being so long. Hope they aren't to long and boring and that you guys are enjoying my posts still. I won't have the luxury of wifi every night before bed either but I will do my best!