Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Tripping in both senses of the word

It's a sad fact that one has to get used to long expanses of time in a confined space to travel around this part of the world. This is exacerbated out of all Godly proportion because I'm Irish and a long drive is more than an hour; a lot of travellers we meet are from Oz or AmerikA so they're used to driving 8 hours for a bit of surf or a burger respectively. I on the other hand, delicate soul that I am, am ill equipped for such endurances. Bear that in mind when I tell you we left the island of the turtle yesterday at about 2pm ish and arrived in Chiang Mai today at around 9am this morning. And that's with us taking the extremely cushy route of flying from Bangkok.

No one really wants to leave a place like Ko Tao but time is ticking it was a pickup truck to the pier, boat to Chumpon, bus to Bangkok (Khao San road area), taxi to the airport ("Which airport Sir?", "What?", "Two airport sir, old one or new one?", "Shit, dunno, can you take us to an internet cafe to check?", "International cafe sir?", Here he rang a translation service to whom I explained we needed to go to an internet cafe, handed the phone back and he spoke in rapid but helpful Thai - this was all on abandoned streets at 2am in the morning, knackered off a bus now, so internet place, checked the mail, it was the main airport all along) , four hour wait to check in, one hour flight on a new airbus that was piloted by what could only have been a child who'd done a short course in aeronautics and then a taxi to our wonderfully named new home: Same same guesthouse in Chiang Mai.

It is no exaggeration to say that I was almost speaking in tongues by the end of that ordeal. Both of us were falling asleep given anything more than 30 seconds in one place during most of it but a good book (the saviour of many a nasty situation) rescued me from absolute hell, which is ironic since it was the God Delusion (which you should read).

I should write a short note on how I've been coping with the wildlife here. Most people that know me are well aware of my explosive arachnophobia so it's a sad fact but one that reinforces my usual fear that the first cockroach we encountered indoors stirred the following exchange:

"Jesus Paul, look at the size of him.!"

"What?" Here I saw the cockroach, in OUR bathroom (the impertinence), who was about an inch and a half shorter than me. "Jesus christ look at that..." (playing it totally cool, but standing well back)

Casually but still a little creeped out Adam says: "Will we take a picture for the blog?"

"Just kill him."

So that is why you've been robbed of evidence of something that I thought I could never stand and which it turns out I can, just not particularly comfortably. But then if you are comfortable to the point of affection with anything like that then you shouldn't be walking around on anything less than four legs.

I want to say this 'little' bastard was hanging above our hammock but he was HUGE. A foot at least. I 'discovered' him after repeated gentle entreaties that I try the hammock out, I should have realised what was going on when gentle entreaties became an insistence that really 'it was cool' and 'you should just lie in the fucking hammock, alright.'

Our quaint huts on Sairee beach, lovely from the outside but constructed specially of material that insulates and amplifies stifling heat that one's night might become double plus unpleasant.

This place apparently did the best pastry in Ko Tao! Another example of the constant nature of the world of uninvited micro squatters in the warmer areas of modern day Earth.

Leaving the island is a sad thing and made more miserable as it is here, viewed through a dirty ferry window. The background music is the movie that was playing for the duration. The Ladykillers if you're asking. Actually between Ko Tao and Chiang Mai if measured in movies, the distance, in our humble case is: The Ladykillers, Are We There Yet? (on a bus full of adult what were they thinking?) and Michael Clayton.

Two cocks and one understandably battered looking hen at chumporn pier.

The vulgar display of piety that is the Temple around the corner from this internet cafe.

(Note: I can't get this Thai keyboard to allow the implied accent egu, so get off my back alright)

Yet more colourful effigies that prove we really believe in a higher power around here alright. Well it looks cool doesn't it? Come on it took aaaages to build... and it cost a fortune too... come on....

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