After hitchhiking in Turkey, riding the Trans-Siberian, freezing on a bus for 72 hours across Mongolia, conquering mountains in China, discovering amazing food in Malaysia, and many Thailand events including beautiful beaches, squat houses in Bangkok, elephants, a Burmese refugee camp, cockroach filled night buses, and driving a badass chopper bike on winding roads through the jungle I said ‘goodbye’ to my travel companion who is going to use a work holiday VISA in Australia. Of course it is difficult when you say goodbye to a friend. Especially one who has shared such experiences as this trip brought upon us. Even though things are different and I miss my friend, the Universe continues to be unyielding and has provided me with more than I could possibly imagine.
At this moment I am sitting at Eazy Bar, with my friend Stephanie and cousin Sydney who are traveling with me, where during my last visit to Koh Tao I befriended an incredible group of Burmese guys who run the bar. They have made my return here special and reminiscent of when a person comes home to a group of old friends. This goes for a few of the divers at Sunshine Diving too. Everyone has welcomed us with open arms and would do anything to help us out with whatever we need.
So, what I have found in this time of change has not been despair, fear, or loneliness but kindness, excitement, and love. I am blatantly being reminding of all the amazing people I have come to know in my life and that are STILL a part of my life. I cannot fully grasp the fact that Stephanie and Sydney are actually HERE!
We have taken full advantage of the term ‘vacation’ with our days spent exploring, swimming, laying on the beach, and hanging out at Eazy Bar at night. Stephanie and I attended a Couch Surfing meeting last week where we met a great guy, Kiro, from Bulgaria. With only a few words we convinced him that Sunshine Divers was the best as well as the accommodation, Eazy Bar, etc. The next day he came by and signed up for his Open Water course.
My favorite thing so far has been that every time I go out, I see at least one person I know. Whether someone is driving down the road or is on the beach or at the bar I always seem to find someone to chat/hang with. The girls and I have completely integrated ourselves into this community.
Yesterday morning my friend, One (pronounced Juan), who works at Eazy Bar took me to Hin Wong, a beach on the other side of the island. Koh Tao only has one main road and the majority of roads on the rest of the island are unfinished or inexistent. We made it on a scooter about a tenth of the way to the beach. There was NO way this bike was getting us the rest of the way. The distance to the beach was long and rocky through the jungle. We hiked for about 30 minutes and once we reached the beach we were lucky enough to find one Thai pharmacist who was fishing and had a bottle of water that he shared with us. He was the only person we saw all day in this cove where an abandoned hotel had been decaying for what looked like several years. The whole adventure made me love this island even more. It seems as though there are undiscovered or forgotten places all over.
On a side note, one of our friends, Thura, resembles a very adequate Rufio from the movie Hook. Sydney made this connection and it is very suitable in the sense that the rest of the group could easily be the Lost Boys. One night, in return of all the innumerable kindnesses the Lost Boys have shown us over the past week, Stephanie, Sydney, and I cooked them dinner.
Evidently, this was the first time anyone had done this and their appreciation was overwhelming. We were happy to do it and even more so being given the chance to spend time with the women in the kitchen. These beautiful ladies spend most of their time cooking, cleaning, and chatting. The Lost Boys say this is the best job, staying in the kitchen and cooking all day. None of the women ever come to the bar so this was the first time we got to know them. I really don’t know what we would have done without them because Stephanie and I were having a hell of a time cutting up the fish for the ceviche!
Last night we celebrated Win’s (the manager) last night in Koh Tao before leaving to visit his wife and four year old son in Burma. Win has not been home since his son was born. Obviously, he was very happy last night.
We celebrated with them all night long and felt like family as we sat around and listened to them play guitars and sing Burmese songs. You can even hear the ocean waves in the background…
Life continues to be amazing with all our new friends here in Koh Tao.