Alarm went off at 4.30am, I woke up at 4.28am, really really hate it when that happens. So tired, even though I slept remarkably well on my rock hard bed. At reception we got me all checked out and by the time I was done, the taxi was waiting, I didn’t even see the receptionist call (she’s a keeper that’s for sure). Will definitely stay at Delight Residence again!
The airport was chaos personified, what are all these people doing awake at this time of the morning, and so animated at that. There didn’t seem to be any real system as to processing bags or anything, I stood in line in what appeared to be a pre-security check, but as I put my bags on the belt, I noticed people just walking past. Well at least my bags got a pretty sticker that said “approved”. Not even sure if the scanner was working. Then stood in a line for 5min before I realised it was just a group of people waiting and there was no one checking people at the end. Shifted to another line and finally got to the desk. No problem checking my bags, and when I pointed out which bag was the sports equipment it got another pretty sticker saying “fragile”…well every little bit helps I guess.
Then through security and off to find some hot water to make a coffee with my instant packets i bought in Korea. I was fairly certain I could get a cup for free, but then again I was charged 2euros at Frankfurt airport, so who knows. After some confusion and them asking for money, another lady buying a coffee said something in Thai and then turned to me and said “no no she didn’t understand, just hot water is free”. SWEET!
Met a great lady from Australia while we were waiting to board. She turned out to be lifelong traveler, age 54, saw a little bit of me in her. We chatted until the plane was due to leave and planned to meet up at the luggage carousal.
I had the window seat and chatted to a rather sick looking girl who turned out to be an English teacher in Surrat Thani, the town we were flying to. I quizzed her about ESL jobs in that region and she gave me a bunch of great tips. Then we were joined by a rather hot (as in temperature) looking business man in a suit. It wasn’t even 7am and it was close to 30C/86F and very humid. He was from the British Consulate and had a business trip to the university in Surrat Thani, he removed the jacket as soon as he could.
I got my pancakes and honey for breakfast that I had ordered, not bad, but wish I had maple syrup. At Surrat Thani, I met up with the lifelong traveler and she watched my bags as I did a mad dash to pee, being in the window seat with sleeping seat mates isn’t all its cracked up to be.
Upon getting our bags, lifelong traveler had to dash off and get her bus to the ferry, apparently she had managed to buy a ticket all included with her air ticket. I made my way to what I assumed was the transport desk, handed over 500 baht (US$15ish) and was escorted to a mini van and squeezed into the last seat. Luckily the air conditioning was running as we sat there for 30min. I couldn’t understand what we were waiting for and I was too exhausted too care. Eventually we all headed off and I was pretty certain we had missed the first ferry and I would have to wait 2-3 hrs for the next one. At the terminal the driver pointed me in the direction of the main building and I lugged all my bags (I never travel heavy but a bag with scuba gear kind of throws off the light part of travel light), into the building. They then told me to go back out to pier 3 where the boat was waiting. Turned out the boat was leaving in 10min and would be there in 2.5hrs. Guess all my research was wrong. I had there sheer joy of lugging my bags up a VERY steep gangway and stairs before finally getting to the main deck (there were gentlemen climbing over each other to assist me…not), where I dropped everything in a pile and went in search of water and something salty and sweet. I found it at the little store and also discovered a South African who said there were about 5 of us on the boat and none of us knew each other, what are the odds.
Ended up chatting with a guy from Canada, who had managed to study computer stuff and then moved to the island and live off remote internet things he works on. See I know all that techy lingo! Managed to get in a nap and then the island came into view.
The nice Canadian techy guy was kind enough to help me down with my bag and point me in the direction of the taxi’s. Ricardo, my mate and soon to be instructor, had planned to come pick me up in the dive school truck, but it was in use. The taxi took the coast road and while it was beautiful, I found myself concerned about road conditions and wondering if driving a motorbike for the first time here would be possible.
For those of you reading my blog you might remember I met Ricardo, dive instructor from Chile, on the oil rig converted to a dive rig in Borneo where he was working. He was the mysterious dive instructor who appeared, took photos and disappeared, and also showed us amazing sights as far as small tiny things go, like nudibranchs.
Well when all the sh@t hit the fan with the boy, I had contacted Ricardo and asked about coming to Thailand, he encouraged me to come and chill out, recoup and do my divemaster at the same time. Seemed like a great idea.
He met me at the dive shop and showed me around. Then took me across the road to the bungalow he had organised for me to get me started. It was really nice, I paid 3000baht (US$100) and settled in. Then I realised the wifi didn’t work, there was no warm water, the power lines made ominous crackling sounds, but for now sleep over ruled it all.