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Koh Samui Bankok

Goodbye Thailand

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Julia the mermaid.

Today we took a boat trip to Angthong National Marine Park. This is a group of islands to the west of Koh Samui.

It was about an hour of bouncing around on half meter waves in a very fast speed boat before we reached the islands. Once there we snorkeled, toured around the islands in the boat, hiked up one to a view an inland sea, ate lunch on another of the islands, went kayaking on another island, and then lazed about on a beautiful beach. We packed in lots of activities and got lots of sun so when we finally arrived back at the hotel we were both very tired.

Julia surrounded by beautiful islands.

Both of us have been very concerned with the amount and type of road traffic we have seen on the island. So many motor scooters, small roads, large cars, and much bad driving made us suspect there must be lots accidents. So no surprise that on our way back to the hotel the bus driver hit a motor scooter with two people on it and they crashed falling on to a very busy road. We do not think they were seriously injured as they were both able to get up and walk after the accident.

Julia doing all the work kayaking.

The bus driver stopped and got out to help the two victims of her carelessness.

One of the injured had to be taken to hospital so the bus driver had to detour us all to the hospital as this is a required action in Thailand after a collision. We were both glad to get back to our hotel and sleep away this very long day.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Today was a day of rest after yesterday's flurry of actives and experiences. We also had many mundane tasks to do to prepare for our next trip to South Africa, sending mail back to the USA, and so on.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

On our way to diving this morning, as we drove down the main road, we came across the most horrid sight. Once again it was a motor scooter accident. But this time we did not see it happen. However, this time I am almost sure someone died! Up ahead of us a motor scooter lay on its side on the road and next to it was a man lying face down on the road in a pool of blood convulsing in a regular but hideous way. Our driver called the emergency services and also stopped two policemen on a motorbike to help. I cannot tell you how dangerous it is to drive on the roads here in Koh Samui.

A good indication of how dense the fish can get at Koh Tao where we dived today.

From Julia: We are thankful to live somewhere that has road safety laws and traffic cops -- when you are somewhere without them you realize their full value. We don"t know what the ambulances or hospitals are like here. Apparently, a new hospital was built here because so many tourists were being injured and killed on the roads. I don"t know the exact numbers of injuries or deaths but we have heard that It's at least one tourist death on the road every month. Our experience has been shocking; we have seen accidents on two out of five of our road trips. This leads me to believe the incidence of accidents is very high. It's also very difficult to witness such horror and then keep on being a tourist without feeling disturbed and concerned to do something, but there really is nothing I can do.

It is just amazing to think about the consequences of increasing traffic, driving without a helmet, and no policing. We have seen some sights you wouldn"t believe such as a whole family of four people (tourists I think) with a mother, father, small child, and baby balancing precariously on the mother's knee, all on one bike; with no helmets.

The roads here are terrifying. The residents seem to accept the way it is rather than believing there is something they can do to change this danger to them all. It's a real lesson to me to not be complacent and to stand up for what I believe in. I only hope that I can.

OK now for some good news. We had a great day of diving and I felt very relaxed and happy under the water for the first time. The fish were beautiful. I imagine being underwater with fish is like flying in the sky with flocks of birds.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Acting goofy yesterday while diving. Perhaps this will be my permanent behavior after today; but then what would have changed?

Today is the day we begin our malaria treatment in preparation for our visit to South Africa. Julia and I are both going to take Lariam/Mefloquine which was prescribed to us by our doctors independently as the best malaria prevention. Here is an excerpt of the potential side effects of taking this drug from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site:

"The most common side effects reported by travelers taking mefloquine include headache, nausea, dizziness, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, vivid dreams, and visual disturbances. Mefloquine has rarely been reported to cause serious side effects, such as seizures, depression, and psychosis. If you cannot tolerate mefloquine, see your health care provider; alternative drugs are available."

So if our writings get stranger than normal from now on you can suspect we were one of the rare few that has not done well on this drug; wish us luck.

Monday, March 17, 2008

See if you can figure out what Bruno is doing to Julia in this photo. Look at Julia's expression and then look at the expression of the three guys behind her.

We had dinner at a resort two resorts down the beach last night. We had eaten there once before and the food was very good, more western than Thai. Last night we had the additional treat of being entertained by a traditional Thai band of "glockenspiel" players and traditional Thai dancers. It was such a brilliant way to spend our last night in Koh Samui. We discovered that the wrist is the most important body part in Thai dance. Much swirling of the wrist takes place. Their costumes were made of vivid colored fabrics all covered in sequins and they wore imitation gold helmets with tall points on top. The dancers really looked like the characters we have seen in every Thai temple's art decorations.

It is just another sybaritic day in our life today. The only thing left now is to repack our bags for the flight to Bangkok tomorrow. We took our pills and nothing bad has happened so far; so far so good.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

This is one of my favorite shots from Koh Samui.

We got up, ate our buffet breakfast, risked our lives on the Koh Samui high road, and left on an airplane for Bangkok this morning. It was an uneventful flight and trip back to the Dream Hotel; you have to love that name.


The taxi ride from Bangkok airport to the hotel was much more frightening than driving in Koh Samui. You can save money by taking the "metered taxies" but our experience with two of them now is that they have no safety belts and the drivers drive like maniacs.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

One of my favorite shots from this leg of our trip. This shot really gives you a feel of our sybaritic life.

We leave for South Africa tonight on a 12:15am departure, 11 hour flight to Johannesburg. I feel we are hardened travelers now.

We will most likely not have Internet access for the first part of the trip in South Africa which will last for three weeks. So if you do not hear from us over the next few weeks please do not worry. If you do not hear from us in three weeks time then we have no doubt either been consumed by wild animals, wandered off into the bush in a psychotic stupor, or not been able to connect to the Internet; one of these for sure.

Goodbye Thailand
South Africa Plan


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