“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” ~ Rosalia de Castro
Journal, 03 January 2012. Koh Lanta and Krabi, Thailand.
SO LONG, KOH LANTA.
7am. I can still hear the frickin’ mice moving all over the place.
Stretch. Shower. Pack up and leave. Quick chat with Nang to pay for the accommodation and meals, he tells me I owe him 380 baht but I know I actually owe him 450, he forgot to take note of a couple of drinks… I keep losing money by being honest, but then again why risk the bad karma?
I check my emails. Two of the CouchSurfers I’ve contacted are out of town, but a certain Pasha is available to meet me today. Awesome, I finally get to meet a Thai CSer and pick her brain for cool stories. (Plus she works with local NGOs so I’m sure she’ll have some insights to share.)
Mr. Long gives me a ride to the minivan office and I catch the first one towards Krabi. I’m out of fresh Demartini audios so I start listening to some lectures by T Harv Eker on my iPod. Very business and marketing oriented, but it’s good for me to listen to this stuff once in a while and get my feet on the ground… Apparently I have a career to go back to and manage once this expedition is over.
SETTING UP CAMP.
Two-and-a-half hours later, we arrive to Krabi. The van stops right next to the Pak Up, the hostel recommended by Dune. Buuuut… it’s totally packed up (ha!) for the week, not a bed to spare. Bummer. The place looked really cool with its young backpacker vibe…
I wander around for a bit and find a guesthouse nearby, called Cha Guesthouse. Private room with single bed for 100 baht plus 20 baht for the sheet, and shared bathroom. Bloody hell, that’s two quid a night?? Man, that’s cheap! I’ll take it, thank you very much.
MIND YOUR THOUGHTS.
Fresh coconut juice at the restaurant in front of the Pak Up. Perfect timing, suddenly it starts pouring rain, but just for a while. I skim my Lonely Planet book and brainstorm on what to do around here. There are some beaches, tours to Koh Phi Phi…
I start a conversation with the girl sitting on the other side of the table. Her name’s Kendall, from South Africa (how come all South Africans I meet are white?), and she’s here visiting her sister who teaches English in Phuket. The chat is unexciting to say the least, I’m feeling tired today and can’t lead the conversation properly or plan an “emergency exit”. Didn’t get any sleep last night because of the damn mice, the sound of them walking all over the bungalow kept me restless all night…
My mind is playing tricks on me because of the lack of sleep. Silly thoughts of having a place to call my own, a girlfriend, friends and family around, home-cooked food, a job I love.
Unbelievable. I’m in a gorgeous country, surrounded by warm weather, amazing food, fascinating people (okay, maybe not this girl here in particular) and living one of my long-cherished childhood dreams… and yet my dumbass mind insists on interrupting me with its groundless bitching.
Oh well, at least I’m more aware of my thoughts now, so there’s not much damage they can do. I’ll do some meditation later, see if I can collect my mindless wanderings and discipline them a bit…
GO FORTH AND EXPLORE.
The afternoon flies in an instant. I check some travel agencies nearby for tour prices to see the four islands, Koh Phi Phi and exploring the area around Krabi. Hmmm interesting but I don’t want to commit to anything right now, I’ll see what tour I fancy doing tomorrow when I wake up.
I manage to buy some flip flops for 300 baht / £6. Man, I really don’t like shopping (must be a guys’ thing?)… On top of that, the shop owners here are incredibly sticky, as soon as I glance at a product they’re all over me like flies.
Buddhist temple nearby, very simple looking but with massive speakers bombing the city with mantras and chantings or whatever those things are. There must be a special reason for this, if they played this stuff this loud every day I’m sure people would go mental…
Letting my feets guide me, I stumble on some street sculptures of giant crabs. Crabs? “Krabi”? Nah, the word similarity must be just a coincidence…
Guesthouse. Shower. Clean clothes (I think). Quick Skype with Mom to let the family know all is good in this corner of the world.
I buy some hobbit pants (short pants? fisherman pants?) at a shop on my way to the night market nearby. Not too shabby, and only cost me £7. I’m loving the exchange rate in this country, much more merciful than Malaysia or Singapore…
The dinner at the night market, for instance, was less than £2! Fresh coconut, pad thai of… something, and some coconut-based sweets, yum! Happy tummy, yay!
MEET THE LOCALS.
Quick rest at the guesthouse. Man, I am knackered.
10pm. I head to the Top Up Bar, in the terrace of the Pak Up Hostel. Noisy place, but yeah it’s a bar, I know.
Pasha shows up a while later. Very petite and polite, and a bit shy too, I would say. Or maybe it’s just the local culture, dunno.
Light conversation, as I try not to yawn too much. Pasha has never hosted a CSer nor has been hosted by one, she just shows people around Krabi. Sounds familiar…
We pass by her home (funny coincidence, it’s just two minutes from both my guesthouse and the Pak Up), she goes up to get me some brochures on Krabi as I wait downstairs.
Outside her building there is one of those “spirit houses” which looks like miniature-temple-meets-doll-house, with these little human figures inside. I smilingly mention Pasha that these spirits must be very tiny and with very long legs, otherwise they wouldn’t be able to climb the disproportionate stairway nor fit inside the house…
Uh-oh. Sense of humour, bad. Pasha seems to take these matters very seriously and tells me I shouldn’t even point at the spirits house because it’s disrespectful! We take a bow towards the tiny house and that seems to calm her down… Uff. Mental note: Tiago, shut up.
She walks me back to my guesthouse as we talk a bit more, and then it’s good night and see you tomorrow.
Time to shleeeeeep…
• A safe trip to Krabi.
• A clean and cheap place to sleep.
• Being healthy! Which means I can enjoy all this wonderful food…
• …And coconuts! Hmmmmm coconuts…
• Managed to buy some flip flops and pants.
• Pasha’s company, cultural tips and patience.
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