Location: Koh Samui, April 12 - 16th
After some mighty detours on British Air and Bangkok air taking me not to Singapore from London but to Hong Kong, I made it to Koh Samui. #Touchdown.
Another person who also made it and who I met on my way to my hotel was Sam. I didn't know it at the time (as I am writing this post two weeks into my journey), but Sam was about to be a reoccurring pal over the next few weeks as he too was traveling through SEA as a break between leaving his London job of 5 years and moving back to the States, where he is from.
That night, Sam and I discovered that the following day was Songkran - celebrated in Thailand as the New Year, following the Buddhist/Hindu solar calendar. (who knew!?) And while in theory this is supposed to be a day that you go to temple, honor your elders, have a monk bless you with chalk and have water poured on you to wash your sins away - naturally all the yahoos out there have turned this into a righteous street party where you pelt people with water and smear their faces with chalky goo that stings.
You know how your mother told you not to drink the water in Thailand? Imagine getting it up your nose, in your mouth and in your eyes because some asshole kid has taken a large bucket, filled it using a hose from the back of a "store" and chased you down a street to throw it at you. In your face.
You know what you do at that moment? At the moment that this occurs and some grown ass man wearing a hello kitty plastic water backpack complete with hose ALSO sprays you in the face? You pay the street woman making bank by selling overpriced toys for an even bigger gun than what you have. And then, you get involved. It's go time and those little shits that took great pleasure in your girly American screams better start moving - and fast.
Songkran is like a real life video game where you take breaks at bars and foam parties to have cocktails. Or, in Sam's case you take breaks to double fist shots of jame-o and sambuca. SAMBUCA! WHAT! Sam had his party pants on and proclaimed as he took down a samba, jame-o and a vodka soda like rapid fire that he "can drink a lot." I, wanting to remain a mysterious and delicate flower, did not offer any details of my imbibing habits. Why ruin the illusion of femininity and grace within 24 hours of knowing this person?
Anyway, Songkran was the bomb. Water flooded the streets, and we refilled our guns repeatedly from a lady boy controlling the hose on a side walk. Lady boys, as it turns out are Thailand's "third sex". They tend to be very petite and more often than not, very beautiful. A lady boy hit on Sam, looking for some business. She was denied but across the way I saw a lady boy put some "moves" on a bombed American tourist. These moves really only included the swift removal of her tube top. The drunk guy got right in there and I don't think ever bothered to look down to some very tight and very packed daisy dukes. He was so proud after he nuzzled around for a bit that he fist pumped the air. I laughed and Sam turned, to go hit back more of "the 'buca."
In the days after Songkran, it rained in Samui and I ended up reading about the Cambodian genocide - you know, to just feel happy and excited on this world tour I've embarked on. All too soon, it was time to head out to Koh Tao.
And my thoughts on Samui? Fine. I wish I went to this marine park of limestone islands in a kayak but in the rain, that sounded like a pretty miz idea. There are resorts and a town and bars that want to serve you small buckets of "drink" which looks like a long island ice tea... but nothing really pulled at my heart strings. So, it was time to move on...