General

Mini update #1

Since I am a bit behind with my writing, I thought I’d write a brief update for those with less time too:

30th December 2013

Local Thai band perform at my Bungalows. Whole of Ko Jum comes to party. It’s not New Years Eve, but no one seems to have noticed! Chris and I introduce the game ‘shit celebrity lookalikes’ to a select few. We do quite well, because not only is the whole island at Joy, an OK! Magazine’s worth of shit celebrity lookalikes are too. We spot ‘shit Michael Madsen’ / ‘Shit Sandra Bullock’ / ‘Shit Charlize Theron’/ ‘Shit Steve Martin’ / ‘Shit Nikki from Big Brother’…

31st December 2013

The same Thai band perform somewhere else. Chris, Nathan and I go and see in the new year there. I’m in a mood. The lead singer recognises me from the night before – I’m not sure why. He announces it on the microphone.

2nd January 2014

Time to leave. One week down, and a whole bunch of places to see. Got the boat to Koh Lanta with Norwegian Nathan. Ran into Shit Sandra Bullock and her cousin. Don’t think of her as Shit SB anymore, she becomes my friend. Besides she doesn’t look anything like SB. More like… hmmm.

Forgot my laptop. But I’m chilled. I’m like, ‘ok, whatever, these things happen’. Luckily shit Michael Madsen is on my boat, and like the dad in Free Willy, is there for me. He arranges for Captain Roman from Joy Bungalows to bring it with him on the longtail the next day.

In Lanta, I’m surprised by how built up it has gotten post-2004 Tsunami. I’m extremely weirded out, especially when I spot a ‘Shit Christian Bale’ at Zone Bar on Long Beach, where I used to hang out in 2004. Not because he’s the spitting image of Christian Bale, but because sat next to him is Paul, the diving instructor who did my Advanced Diving in 2004. Only I don’t realise this until I have walked away, wondering why he was staring at me.

I try to find where I was staying 9 years ago on the walk there and back, to no avail. I assume it’s been bulldozed and built over with one of the big luxury concrete resorts. Feel sad.

3rd January

Hire scooter. Go to meet shit Michael Madsen (real name Mike – coincidence?) and his gorgeous partner, who have my laptop. Result!

Am driving back from Ban Saladan when I think to turn down a street I recognise. And there it is. My Tsunami hut. Still there.

WEIRD.

I try to imagine it how it was, versus how it looks now and all these weird memories come flooding back. Sadly I didn’t have my camera or my phone to take any pictures.

But I’m okay about it. It feels like closure.

4th January

Early bus to Koh Phagnan. We grab the cheapest place we can find on a really beautiful beach. Not the full moon party beach, but another popular one that’s a bit quieter. Young folk everywhere. Not used to it. English people! Hipsters and chavs. Met a couple who we coined ‘Muppets with nets’. A scottish girl and a geezer from London I can only assume, who were so worried about getting bitten by mosquitos they were walking round, sitting down and even playing pool with their mosquito net over them. Mental.

5th January

Boat to Koh Tao. Crazy amount of people at the ferry port. Tattoos everywhere. Lots of flesh on display. Annoying boy in hat moaning he needs to hear some drum and bass. Whistlestop tour continues.

Koh Tao is beautiful. Sairee Beach is full on. It’s Thailand, but its not. Everywhere, it’s same same but different. Sairee Beach is really cool and like nothing i’ve seen before, but uber touristy and not what I expected at all. Magaluf meets San Antonio meets Thailand.

6th January

Boat to Chumphon. Bus to airport. Happy Air to Bangkok.

Taxi to Buddhist Meditation Retreat called Pop House. Best. Thing. Ever.

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9th January

After meditating five times a day for the last four days, seeing 1200 monks walk single file on yellow flower petals, eating amazing homecooked Thai food (no green curry or pad thai), sleeping on a plank of wood disguised as a matrress, learning a bit about Buddhism, not killing any mosquitos, and meeting some of the loveliest people I’ve met on this trip (including a brilliantly shit Nicholas Cage), I’m in Ayutthya in a wonderful guest house in the traditional Thai style, 250kms north of Bangkok with my friend from Koh Jum. Remember Shit Sandra Bullock? Gonna chill for a day or so. Then heading north to Chiang Mai & Pai, and then onto Myanmar before all the Cambodian, Laos and Vietnam hippies cotton on.

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