Traveling is like dog years, you have to define ‘time’ differently. You see more sights, meet more people and learn more than you would in a normal day so it feels like it should actually count for more than one, right? Before you know it, only a few days have passed and you think to yourself, “well that felt like two week’s worth of activities.” Now I understand how people get sucked into travelling for months and years at a time. Side note to parents: let your kids travel, they’ll grow up faster.
So, back to the Seagate. Because travel time counts for more than normal time, Alli and I had gotten to the point where we felt like we lived at the bungalows. I would compare us to house cats. We lounged around like we owned the place and our belongings were scattered like cat droppings in the “common” areas. Our bungalow was starting to resemble the owner’s – where the railing was actually a clothesline and there was so much sand on the porch, you couldn’t tell where the walkway started. And if that wasn’t enough, we realized we could even identify which store fronts the stray dogs belonged to on our walks to and from the Khunpen Restaurant in Thongsala.
We had gotten too comfortable and we were ready for our next adventure. It was time to move on. We bid goodbye to the Austrians, who were headed to Koh Tao, and hopped in a taxi to the opposite side of the island. I handed the driver a piece of paper with the address of Smile Bungalows and pointed on the map to where we wanted to go. It was supposed to take about 45 minutes so we settled in to reflect on the past few days with the boys.
15 minutes later, we found ourselves gripping the sides of the taxi as we rattled down a bumpy back road and screeched to a halt. Thai drivers are seriously out of control. Our driver hopped out and pointed to a sign that read “SmileBeach Resort.” I anxiously pointed again to the address on the piece of paper and tried to explain that we wanted to go to Smile Bungalows, not SmileBEACH Resort. It was no use, he had no idea what I was saying. “Same same but different.”* I shrugged, paid the driver and wandered inside to see if there was vacancy. There was, of course. It wasn’t directly on the beach, but there was a hammock and it was $6 per night, so it seemed like a good trade off.
After settling in, we headed to the beach to explore the options for dinner. Haad Salad was a bit more touristy than Baan Tai, but definitely not lacking in beauty. The cove, also known as “Pirate Beach,” used to be a pirate hideaway. Pirates would stash their booty and seclude their ships so that they could easily launch attacks on unsuspecting ships headed down the coast.
Five hours after we split from the Austrians, we decided it was kind of lonely without them. Our meals were quieter, our inside jokes weren’t as funny and we found ourselves in bed at 8pm after one margarita. Plus, photo opps are a little more awkward when one person has to take it (see photo above). I guess Radu and Mike felt the same because we woke up to a Facebook message that said they were taking the first ferry back to Koh Phangan in the morning.
By the time Radu and Mike caught up with us midday, we had already destroyed a set of ping pong paddles, had our muscle kinks worked out by a Thai massuese and failed twice at renting kayaks. Yep, we both needed a beer. We were thrilled to have them back and celebrated by ending the day with a round of drinks on the beach… errr, “bitch.”
*Same Same but Different: I have no idea where this expression came from, but people say it ALL THE TIME in Thailand. Oh, you asked for a Singha but the waiter brings a Chang beer? Same same but different. Your train is three hours late to Chiang Mai? Same same but different. You realize the girl you are standing next to at the station is actually a ladyboy? Same Same but different.