I woke up late and panicked. Where was I? It took me a few seconds to get my bearings right. Oh yes! I was in Thailand, in Koh Samui and in a hotel. Once again that helplessness of being alone hit me. What am I going to do today I wondered? The sun was out and beating. I had not yet figured out a plan for the vacation and the thoughts of last night still played on. I didn’t want to go anywhere, I didn’t want to go to touristy places for sure. I just wanted to curl up and be alone in the bed. But that is not why I am here I remembered. A plan formed in my head and I decided to take it forward.
At first I just wandered around and went to have coffee. Then I came back and showered etc. Finally the plan had materialized. I had come here to explore and yet be by myself. What better way to do that than to rent a motorcycle. I rented one, filled up the tank and started off down south. I wanted to go far from chaweng but more than that I had no specific plan. I just saw the map and followed the main road of Samui. My bearings were to see the water all the time. Follow the water and stay on the road wherever I can. Just driving with no plan was a pleasure. I stopped at a place I found quiet and just by the water. It was deserted of tourists and seemed beautiful. I sat there and had a coffee. I just watched the local little boys play and catch fish. I just walked in the shallow clear waters. I felt at peace just being by myself.
After half an hour I started driving down. Next stop was at a random butterfly garden. Here I saw butterflies and also a great view of samui water from some height. I continued in the same to another empty beach where I was walking alone. Just sitting at random rocks and thinking about the little joys and beauty of this world inside me / around me. Next stop was a Buddhist temple. The craziness of taking random pictures. And by now the evening was upon me and so was my hunger. I ate some noodles at a beach shack, filled up the tank and drove back 25KM back to my hotel.
The drive and the shower that followed was soothing. Once again the wandering was more peaceful that anxious. I ate at a local shop and saw Thai people come and go by. They were so at ease at coming to these small places for dinner every day. They buy a drink from 7-11 and sit down at the shop and have a fun dinner. While I was sitting there a girl came and sat on the same table with a friend. At first I thought something seemed weird. But then I realized that she wasn’t really a girl. Then it clicked.
Thailand is known for all the beautiful ladyboys and its hard to mistake one for a girl. In fact someone had told me that if you see a gorgeous woman in Bangkok she might just be a lady boy. And this girl (for that is how they like being referred to) was a ladyboy as well. I struck up a conversation with her. Her English was broken at best but I realized she was from another city and worked here. That she was just another normal person who wants to live a normal life, be loved and so on. They work at bars, grocery stores, food stores anywhere. In Thailand, ladyboys are just humans too. I didnt see any stigma around them, they were not ostracized or anything. We talked for some time and then she left. I got to know a lot more about them, how they become who they are, why they do so and they just want to live too.
Another interesting day. Another interesting encounter. But it was late to think too much and sleep called upon me. When I woke next morning, there was no panic. It was just a normal day and I was ready to face it. I had to checkout today and once again wasn’t sure of a plan. I had spent some time searching the day before and found this city further down south in Thailand. For some reason, Nakhon si thammarat beckoned me. It was not too famous, there were not a lot of tourists who went there. Why I decided on that one I dont know. So that was the next destination. I wasnt sure how to get there and indirectly had no idea when I would eat next. So i filled up with 2 burgers and a milk shake and was ready to go!
It turned out to be an exciting journey. First I took a motorcycle-taxi for 150 THB back to pier for the ferry. On getting there around 12.15PM a lady at information counter told me that I can get a combined ferry + bus ticket to Surat Thani for 250 THB. I considered it and said yes. But it was at 2PM so I just sat there and waited and watched people as usual. At around 2PM a bus came. I put my backpack in the bus and boarded the ferry. I ended up watching a Thai TV show on the ferry and even thought I didnt understand the language I could understand the plot. It seemed so much like Indian soaps that it surprised me.
Finally I got down of the ferry at port of Donsak and boarded the bus. I told them I wanted to go to bus stand in Surat Thani but these people dropped me somewhere in the middle. I asked the guy that I need to go to nakhon si thammarat. At first he said that there are no bus right now but I can take a taxi for 2500 THB. I told him to fuck off and just drop me to bus stand or train station then. On realizing that I am smarter he said that he might find a bus but I pay 100 THB to go to bus stand. I hesitated at first but it was getting late and so I said yes. Meanwhile I had opened my backpack only to find it was opened and my water bottle and can of beer had been stolen. I was having a bad day I thought. I was feeling angry for someone having stolen stuff and relieved too that it was just food and drink.
Finally that guy took me about 0.5KM and hailed a bus on the other side and asked me to get on it. I got on the bus and the fare was 90 THB to get to Nakhon si thammarat. It was so annoying to pay 100 THB for 0.5 KM and 90 THB for 4 hour bus ride. On the way I tried looking up a hotel or something. However there was no options on Expedia. That was another shocker! Like where is this city that Expedia has no hotels here. Finally with some google searching I found this guest house on Agoda called Green place guest house. I got down from the bus on the highway and walked about 1KM to this guest house. It was almost 8PM when I checked in. The guy at the reception spoke some English and that was seriously helpful.
I showered and changed and asked him if I can find anything to eat. He told me that their café is closed but I can go try outside. I did walk outside for a bit but didnt really find anything. I was tired with the travel and I so I came back and he arranged some ready to eat rice congee with chicken. I took that and a drink and went back to my room. Just tuned into some TV and ate my dinner. Neither was too interesting but sleep beckoned as usual. I gave in and tucked myself into the bed with the air-con turned on.
On the whole the trip was turning exciting and I had had some ups and downs but I was starting to enjoy it.