29th July - 6th August (From an internet cafe in Haad Rin, Koh Phangan)
Some people who i met in Koh Tao (a couple of them were in our dive group) have turned up at cookies and they are my new friends for this section of my tour.
They are Simea, James, Maz and Sophia and they all know eachother from living in Dubai although they are a mixture of English, Phillipine and Lebanese origin. Later on James' brother Ben arrives and Simea leaves. They are all very nice and a lot of this week is spent with them, either sitting around chatting, eating, drinking, travelling about the island, whatever.
The weather has been strange, mostly hot but often cloudy and a few storms that appear out of nowhere. I spent about 3 hours on a beach one day without suncream because i could barely see the sun through the cloud - i turned very pink but eventually with a lot of aftersun i am back to my normal bronzed adonis colour.
While i've been here i've read 'The lion, the witch and the wardrobe' (it was the only english book i could find at the time) and 'Saturday' (can't remember the authors name but it wasn't great anyway). I am just starting a trilogy by Philip Pullman that Malachi gave me.
I have been hiring a 100cc moped for 150B per day (no helmet or anything - sorry mum) which has been great fun, whizzing about the island in a pair of shorts, sometimes on really dodgy dirt tracks, trying to find hidden beaches and stuff - sometimes on my own, sometimes with the others. We've made a couple of night rides to Haad Rin (the main party area of the island) which is quite a hairy ride even in the day. Sofia fell off the back of Simea's bike whilst trying to get up a steep hill, but she was ok.
We discovered a bar near cookies, run by an english bloke called Sam who is a bit of a character, there is a pool table and he introduced me to a drink called San Sung which i drink in large shots and tastes similar to vodka.
While i've been here, I have done a bit of snorkelling off the north at Mae Haad and saw a lot of fish in the lovely clear water, went to a half moon party (Koh Phangan is famous for it's massive full moon parties on the beach at Haad Rin but we weren't her for a full moon), and also tried a free yoga session with the others - i was a bit worried about you all taking the piss and calling me a hippy tree hugger if i ended up really getting hooked on yoga (some people stay here for years just for the yoga), it was interesting and the excercises were quite good but the whole spiritual side of it was a bit much for me (apparently there are 7 energy centres called Chakras in your body and the exercises are designed to absorb cosmic and earth energies into each of these chakras, with each exercise designed to bring different positive energies such as wellbeing, lucidity, harmony etc.) There was even some mantra chanting from the instructor. As i said it was interesting and worth a try.
Most importantly of all is food, as usual it has been cheap, usually fairly small, and tasty thai food and although meals are small they seem to be enough to keep me going, probably because i'm not doing much and also the rice expanding and filling my stomach. It's quite nice really to eat small meals instead of eating until i can't move like when i'm in England. My stomach still has the odd bad day but i won't go into that again. Last night we came to Haad Rin and ate in a very hot and busy seafood restaurant, it was expensive compared to what we were used to (300B about 5pounds), i had a nice seabass and also tasted some Shark which was really succulent and tasty.
James and Ben have left today - James needs to sort out a visa then they are meeting their parents in Bangkok. Maz, Sophia and I are getting on a boat in an hour to Koh Samui, the biggest island of the three on this side of Thailand. I'll let you know how i get on. Bye for now.