I was having trouble falling asleep last night. I laid in bed at 6am, my heart racing. Maybe it was because it was the first time in weeks that I went to bed sober. I woke up from terrible nightmares about work and money after 3 hours of sleep. Stress is always on my sober heels.
Today we decided to do something different from the usual napping under the coconut trees on the beach and eyeing hot bodies. We decided to rent motorbikes and explore the other side of the island. At first I was hesitant (It’s so hot, I’m so lazy, I just want to tan) but I’m glad the guys talked me into it. The views from the cliffs were absolutely breathtaking. It’s hard to imagine that this is the same island full of thumping house music, buckets and beers, drunken debauchery. With the sun on my shoulders and wind blowing through my hair, the ride was surprisingly bringing me back to Zen.
My first train of thoughts when I got on the bike with the steep hills and curvy roads ahead were:
1) I really don’t want to die on this island.
2) Damn, I look hot on this bike.
3) As long as I don’t knock all my teeth out I should be ok.
But after riding cliffside over the ocean for a few minutes, even after passing countless islanders all bandaged up, clearly from motorcycle accidents, I thought, “If this is the last experience I have I would die a happy person.”
Alas, there was no need for all this death talk as I am still alive. We rode back during sunset, ate an awesome dinner at the market (grilled squid, veggie green curry with nom jeen, and a mango shake), and went home to nap.
We were out quite late last night, till 8am, but we had plans to ride our motorbikes to the waterfalls today so we were up by 1pm. I asked D before we left if I needed sensible shoes for the hike and he said no so off I went in my bikini top, cut-off shorts, and flip flops. We rode through the island again, the view still taking my breath away, and reached the park in less than an hour.
We hiked 500 M up the mountain (read: sensible shoes would have been nice) to find a pool of water and just a trickle coming down the rocks. The waterfall was dried up because it hasn’t rained in a while. We were slightly disappointed but the view was still gorgeous and we figured it was good to get some exercise after all the harm we were doing to it over the week. We decided to hike up to viewpoint, 500 more meters at the top. We were drenched in sweat and panting so loudly you’d think someone was filming Russian porn nearby. I swore I was going to break my sandal during the hike, joking to D about needing sensible shoes, but the only other pair I brought was gladiators. I yelled up to Paul, “we’re totally going to have to buy new flip flops after this,” the joke being that we all lose our flip flips every night in the sand, and he replied, in between choking for air, “I’m gonna need a new fucking set of lungs after this!”
We passed a Thai couple coming down from the viewpoint wearing long-sleeves and pants, smiles on their faces, and not a trickle of sweat. We were slightly embarrassed at our obvious lack of fitness but she rolled her eyes at her boyfriend and joked, “All that, just to take a picture.” We got lost part of the way, the trail no longer looking like a trail but just a bunch of winding tree roots. “What if we get up there and it’s anti-climatic?” I asked, no pun intended. Just when we thought we were about to drop dead we saw a peek of sunlight and through the branches and over the rocks we saw the most amazing view ever. We climbed up on the large boulder and could see miles and miles over the island, nothing but a sea of green covering the mountains. It was worth risking a lung collapse. I sat very still up there, one sudden move and I was pile of broken bones and flesh on the side of the mountain. You gotta love Thailand for its lack of safety precautions and trust in your sensibility. There are few restrictions enforced, no safety parameters built around the site, just an imaginary sign posted high up on a tree that would read, “One stupid move, retard, and you’re dead so you make the choice.” Of course, this sign would be written in Thai so that none of the people the sign was intended for could read it.
The hike back down was much faster because while I was lagging about 20 feet behind, Paul yelled back to me, “You know, in horror movies the last person behind always gets snatched up.” D adds, “and it’s always a little Asian girl.” I screamed and ran as if I was being chased by someone with a chain saw.
We chugged a bottle of water from a rest stop down below and rode to Haad Yao, another beautiful beach on the island filled with white sand, beachfront bungalows, and a few lazy sunbathers. We immediately ripped off our sweaty clothes and jumped in the cool water. This is what I hope heaven is like.
We rode back during sunset again, stopping at the same market for dinner (bbq pork and beef on a stick, sticky rice, grilled squid, mango shake and a guava for dessert). D and I got back to our bungalow and immediately fell asleep under the fan. We really wore ourselves out today.
We woke from our nap, almost 3 hours later, and headed out. Halfway to the restaurant it started to downpour and we were soaked through. We ordered our dinner, played a game of cards, and the power on the entire island went out. It seemed magical really, in one second, everything went completely black and there was not a sound on the island. All you could see were a few fishing boat lights on the horizon. The waiter lit some candles and we ate peacefully in the candlelight.
We tried to go out drinking later, because with no power our rooms would be boiling hot without the fan, but we just didn’t have the energy. Two hours later the power was back and we just headed back to one of the bungalows to play cards. Sometimes it’s just the simplest nights with good friends that are the most fun.
This week on the island was just what I needed to relax, let loose, and stop every now and then to take in the view.