July 31, 2010

Horrific crossing & Intro to Koh Pha-ngan

Well, where do I begin? I immediately felt uneasy after stepping on board our ferry to Koh Phangan. People were crammed inside and already looking a bit seasick. We were locked in and piles of suitcases blocked the main exit doors…not a great sign! Within 1 minute of leaving the port people started screaming as we pummelled through giant waves, the water crashing against the windows and vigorously rocking the boat. A sheet of tarpaulin which was covering mounds of luggage on the front deck suddenly came loose and whipped around the side, cracking a window with a tremendos amount of force. More screaming ensued of course, as people burried their faces in seasickness bags.
To say this whole scene made me feel slightly uneasy is an understatement. I joked to the girls that if the boat were to sink we would have to swim to the island together using our 20 Longchamp bags between us as floatation devices…that suddenly seemed like a great idea!
We hit the top deck hoping to get some fresh air, only to be met by sheets of rain and the stench of vomit as people clung on to the railings for dear life. Rachel and I found ourselves a corner and chilled out, getting soaked as we stuck our heads out into the wind and counted down the minutes until we hit dry land. Every 30 seconds another green faced victim would leg it outside and almost fall overboard as they were sick. It was the most digusting boat journey of my life!
Finally, finalllyyyyy we made it to Koh Phangan! At the port we bartered a price with a hotel rep and a taxi driver and all piled into a jeep. My enormous bag fell off of the back of the truck after we hit a speed bump and I demanded a full refund (at which point the driver suddenly didn’t understand English…) We made it to our designated hotel and looked around, only to be told that the price we were promised was not for a bungalow but for the computer room! (“Same same as bungalow, A/C and we put 5 mattress just for you!) Because of the Full Moon party rooms were really expensive and it seemed like a lost cause. We cursed, we called them liars, we told them we were going to write a letter of complaint to the Lonely Planet and eventually stormed across the beach in search of somewhere else.
We finally found somewhere decent and came back to the original hotel to get our bags. The girls said the new hotel was just around the corner so we could walk along the beach instead of on the road. This daunting task seemed impossible to me (I can’t stress enough the ridiculous size of my bag!) But I stupidly dragged my bag onto the beach as the girls loaded their bags onto their backs. And of course no long walk on the beach would be complete without a thunderstorm, which happily rolled in and soaked us to the core within seconds. The girls marched ahead, leaving me behind with my bag and a very dark cloud looming above me. I eventually got so fed up that I dragged my bag to shelter under a tree and stood there shivering, trying to keep my hand bag from getting soaked too! Eventually Rachel the Angel came running down the beach to help me and she didn’t really know what to make of me standing under a tree, crying and looking rather pathetic. “Don’t worry, I did Duke of Edinborough”, she said as she flung my bag over her shoulder and marched halfway to the hotel, taking little notice of the fact that I was in awe of her strength (and generosity!) I still think she’s one of the coolest people in the world for helping me! Soaked, shivering and in desperate need of a warm shower, we finally made it to the resort which was to be our home for the next week. Bring on Koh Phangan!
Once the grey clouds cleared up, it wasn’t too shabby…

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