Tomorrow marks one incredibly brilliant month in Thailand. The natural disaster taking place in Bangkok has taken the beginnings of my life here in a completely unexpected, exhilarating, yet slightly frustrating direction. As we speak, I am using the wireless at a restaurant overlooking the sea with the most majestic sunset on Koh Tao island that reminds me that life isn't so bad. The last time I wrote, we were potentially going to visit Chantaburi from Hua Hin, but we were instructed to avoid going north towards Bangkok due to the flooding.
After debating what to do, I stumbled upon a bumper sticker in my purse a bar/hostel further south in Chumphon. One of our classmates from the TEFL course, Ivor, owns this bar & hostel. He is in his mid-forties and has lived in Thailand for the past 10 years. Needless to say, we took the next bus 4 hours south to Chumphon where Ivor picked us up from the bus station. We had an amazing Korean BBQ (which was one of my favorite meals but unfortunately did not settle well for my friend Rob who has been bedridden) and spent the night at Ivor's bar/hostel "Farang Bar" (Farang means foriegner in Thai). While having some drinks with Ivor at his bar, another English backpacker walked in looking for a room, and instantly he became one of us over a few drinks & swapped stories. Graham too was headed to Koh Tao island, so he joined our group on the early morning 2-hour boat ride and has been an essential part of our hang out here on the island. Additionally, another one of our classmates has turned up with his girlfriend on the island. So, we've continued to have good company and beautiful scenery. The people you connect with while traveling are easily part of the reason that it makes the experience so addicting.
Farang Bar Bumper Sticker on bus ride to Chumphon
Ivor & I behind his bar - quite the height difference ;)
It is the end of rainy season here in the south, so we've seen our fair share of rain - and when it rains, it pours here in the far east. Still, we have been blessed with plenty of perfect beach weather. We've done some snorkeling and rented motorbikes (24 hour rental for only 150 baht = under $5) to explore the island. We were again going to head back to Bangkok tomorrow, but apparently the flooding has only worsened and there is a mandatory 5 day holiday for residents there. If I'd known we had this additional time I would have definitely done my four day scuba certification, as this is the cheapest place in the world to do it! In any case, it looks like we will be posted on the island for at least a couple days more. Although this extended holiday has been an unexpected expense and we remain anxious to get settled - I suppose there are worse things that constantly being covered in sand and waking up in front of the crystal clear blue sea.
Pictures of the island to come later. xx