Christmas In Koh Lipe

© 2011 El Capitan!

“Christmas, children, is not a date. It is a state of mind. ” ~ Mary Ellen Chase

Journal, 24 December 2011. Koh Lipe, Thailand.


5am when I wake up with my stomach burning and feeling like I need to puke. Damn fried stuff, whatever that thing was, that I ate for dinner last night… Unable to force myself to throw up, I chew some Rennies and return to bed.

Breakfast. Stomach feels calmer, but the bowel continues to misbehave for the second day in a row. Easy in, easy out. Gilles gets me some more Imodium.

Well isn’t this frickin’ lovely. Way things are going I’m either gonna throw up or crap myself during the diving today and drown myself in the process, what a lame way to go.

(Plus they’ll probably make me pay for a new wetsuit.)


We meet up with our dive instructor, Merce, in front of the dive shop and head off for the boat. A quick ride and we’re already on diving waters.

My mind is drowsy and scattered as I prepare the equipment, causing our dear “El Capitan” to swear in Spanish like a maniac pirate on a rhum rampage. Spanish is a great language for swearing.

Entertaining as she is, Merce has a point – today is the last day of the course and I should’ve been able to prep all this equipment with a blindfold. Okay but dude, seriously, chillax, it’s Christmas…

The morning dive goes smoothly. We do half-a-dozen drill exercises and fortunately I’m much calmer than yesterday (one panic attack twenty meters underwater is one too many), followed by a fun dive… Gilles and I do our little photoshoot with his Santa Claus costume.

Lunch. Rice again, these people eat rice with everything, I can’t frickin’ stand rice anymore.

Ah! No, wait, rice is good for sick tummies… Changed my mind, love rice, rice is my friend, can I have more rice please…

Afternoon dive is a relaxed fun dive amid the Andaman corals and sea life. Class dismissed, one last exam tonight before school is over.


Island. Bungalow. Shower. Bloated, constantly burping.

Dive shop. Final written exam. Awesome, Merce let’s Gilles and I team-up and answer the questions together so we finish everything quickly. All done, so long Capitan! and thanks for all the fish…

Onward to Walking Street, Gilles and I decide to have dinner on one of the restaurants by the beach. Grilled fish and potatos, a bit flavorless but at least it’s not fried or greasy… Yeah I know, my bad, I’ve been abusing Thai cuisine from day one, should’ve been more cautious… A safe traveller is a happy traveller…

Fireworks and sky lanterns. The entire island is sparkling in the night like a big Christmas tree. My body slowly becomes invigorated by the warm meal, and my mood lighter by the cool sea breeze.

Feeling really lucky for having Gilles’ merry company on Christmas night, it would’ve been a really strange evening otherwise… This is the first Christmas ever that I’ve spent away from my family…

I pass by the bungalow to get my netbook. We sit down in front of the Resort Lipe. There are several other tourists around snatching the local wi-fi. None of the staff even bothers to ask us if we want a drink, everyone is super relaxed tonight.

Video Skype with Mom and Dad, and afterwards with my “sister” Ana Rita and the Ferreira family! How wonderful it is to feel these dear people so close to me…

Uff!… It’s been a gorgeous three days scuba diving in Koh Lipe, but with all this indigestion crap, physical strain, poor hydration and no yoga or meditation… Man I am knackered, and definitely welcoming a lazy day tomorrow by the beach…

Almost midnight when I go to shleeeeepzzzzzzzz…


• Gilles’ company and good humour.
• Family and friends, united by heart.
• Internet, wi-fi, Skype. You rock.
• Being in a gorgeous postcard-like paradise island, with warm crystal-clear turquoise waters.
PADI Open Waters certified diver, whoo-hoo!
• Not throwing up or crapping myself inside the wetsuit. (Or outside for that matter.)

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