Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Life is good...

13 February - 21 March 2010
On Koh Lanta I stayed in a little bungalow, shaded by bambooplants and trees, just off the beach, owned by a crazy muslim guy, Mr Hutyee Boat. He wears a cloth as pants which resembles a big diaper, a turband wrapped around his head, he has a longish grey beard, consisting of maybe 20 hairs and long dangly legs. His English is made up out of about 20 words: Have, don't have, you, me, good, eat, cheapcheap, motobike, samesame, yes, no, no problem, book ticket with me, and so on... somehow I still manage to have whole conversations with him.

He lives with his wife in the middle of all the bungalows in a little bamboo hut without walls. His grandkids run all over the place and laugh and shout and cry and jump on their granddad. "SAP! How your day?" He shouts when I walk past. "COME DRINK COFFEE!" or "HAVE DINNER WITH US!" It's great, very welcoming, and that all for a great price (only 8 euros a night)

My hut is behind another resort and there are more poor travelbums like me who are here for a few weeks (or months or years), not able to leave because it's just so damn relaxing and cheap and chilled out and gezellig. We all hang out at the bar, the small group (apx. 10 of us) consisting of many nationalities, ages (15 months to 60 years old) and genders (males, females and babies).

In the morning the sea is still pretty high, but at around lunch time it recedes about 10-15 meters, revealing many big rocks (great snorkeling in the morning!) and leaving behind shells and pieces of coral. Around this time I usually go up to the bamboo-hut-restaurant and order my spicy green mango, cashewnut and shrimp salad and a Thai Ice tea. After lunch, back into the sea for a dip (not really refreshing, but luke warm), and lie under my parasol to read another few chapters of my book, or another chapter of: "French in 40 lessons!" At around 17.00 I stroll back to my bamboohut for a shower (lukewarm, heated by the sun) and maybe a drink and a chat with Mr. Hutyee.

The sun sets at around 18.30 with a stunning reflection over the sea and rocks, that's when everybody gets together after doing their things all day (snorkeling, swimming, sunbathing, getting a massage, scootering around the island), we listen to "what a wonderful world" by Louis and drink a Chang beer or ask Mark, the Dutch bartender, to try out a new cocktail on us.

Afterwards we have dinner in the neighbourhood or at the bamboo-hut-restaurant on the beach (with a group, or sometimes just by yourself, no problem). Delicious food, but the kitchen is tiny, so it takes forever, but hey, who's in a rush? At around 22.00 everyone starts getting tired and heads off to bed, to get some rest for the next day of doing all I just mentioned above... At night the wind picks up like crazy and blows leaves in through my open (but attatched) bathroom at the back, making the musquito-net wave in the wind. I was getting used to it in the end, so it was actually pretty relaxing.

Sometimes there are parties on the beach. I went to a Reggae party on the beach next door (Klong Kohn Beach), I found out that Thais are great at Reggae! And they look the part too: big afros and dreads, holding a banana-leaf cigarette in their hand which looks very much like a joint. I had no idea that the Thais are so cool. It was a good night, listening to a live reggaeband with sand between my toes, a beer in 1 hand and a cigarette in the other..."We're jammin',we're jammin', jammin' all through the night"

Ankie came to Koh Lanta aswell for 3,5 weeks, that was great! Some of the friends I had made were already leaving soon, so the company was welcome. We had a great time, discovering "Relaxbay", it was a really relaxed bay, rented scooters, chilled out, had good dinners, read many books, went to a muslim wedding, played yahtzee, got massages, went on a snorkel trip, celebrated my 31st birthday, and went on a few days trip down south to HatYai and another island called Koh Lipe.

Koh Lipe was beautiful, a proper bounty island with white sand and turquoise water and fantastic snorkeling. We were astonished by how much sealife we could see around all the coral, fields and gardens of beautiful coral. Looking at all the fish go by, I now understand where they get the designs for all the new Nike Air Max, all the vibrant colours designs and shapes, I wish we could have taken pictures! Our last night on Koh Lipe we sat on the beach with a beer in our hand, feet in the sand and listening to a live Thai Ska Bigband playing reggae and ska, another one of those happy moments...

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