Tha Taphao, Thailand
The plan was to get to Chumphon, stay a night and then hop on the ferry to Koh Tao, following a Brazilian’s recommendation while I was in Korea; “I thought it was the loveliest of the islands”.
The plan changed. First I found there was a night ferry, and figured I could have caught that instead of staying at all. But here I was. I couldn’t be jiggered to move, and although this is a small town almost bereft of tourist things, that just made it seem all the more natural to stay, enjoy cheap food and an easy to wander centre. Plus there was no decent hostel accommodation available on the island tonight so I’d have had to blow more than twice as much, maybe £12, on a bungalow on the beach.
I know! Gawd, sometimes I have to make some tough decisions. I stayed, is the upshot.
I spent my day getting up late, getting hungry and then exploring, having lunch at one of the many shack-like stands that are in between street food and restaurants. It was under a pound. I mooched round, having stopped near the railway station for lunch, and had a quick chat with a local on a road to nowhere, as the sun beat down harshly. “Mel-lon”, he said. “Ha!” I replied. We repeated that a couple of times – ‘it’s hot’, maybe, or ‘this road goes nowhere other than the main road’, he was saying. I’m really not sure.
Ice cream, unbelievably cheap toothbrushes and supplies, a shirt for £4 for which I probably overpaid but good luck to her, and a gasping and under productive interval session finished my afternoon. That morning, the dude from the hostel had offered me a lift to the beach, picking me up at 7, really before I knew what was going on – I’d only just woken up – and I don’t know whether it was out of the goodness of his heart or some scam. He didn’t show at the time, anyway, but whether my sense of time was too exact, beach was off because it had tipped it down or he had left work late I don’t know. I found food, anyway, essential by now, and liked my fried rice so much I had dinner again, which narrowly averted a whole day without pad Thai, phew. I finished my second beer and realised the wifi in this place was working very well, downloading me some podcasts, unlike at the hostel. I had felt very clever reading the code off the back wall, then turned and spotted it right behind me. It turned out that my hostel friend had fallen asleep, and ‘big rain’, you know. I did know, and was not fussed. He became my Facebook friend, and promised to see me on my return. He’s the second person to think I’m coming back. The first was on the train, my seat-row-mate for several hours talked to me an hour or so from my destination, ending up giving me her email address and phone number so she could show me round – “you have to come back to Bangkok, right?” Well, no. The phone number was in case – or became so, to save face in front of my indifference, I suppose – of emergencies. I always feel I should warn people that it’s not personal, I just don’t use the phone, so don’t wait up for a call.
Back at the restaurant, I’d only turned in the first, to check that the banging I could hear was rain. Oh boy, yes it was. The corrugated iron part of the roof was now making a heck of a noise. Monsoon season, and when it goes, it goes. I was without kindle, but with “one more beer?” and the iPod, so I searched and was there for long enough to pick 30 or so podcasts to top me back up. Tomorrow I am on the ferry, it’s booked. Koh Tao in the afternoon.
Fascinating football seeding things: http://www.theguardian.com/football/blo g/2013/oct/17/england-seeded-switzerlan d-world-cup-draw-friendlies.
As Gordon Milne recalled, mistily, of his time with England: “It used to give us a such a lift when he’d [Alf Ramsay] say ****.” The guardian.
Thank **** it exists or we’d all be in the twilight world beloved of parents who don’t mind their kids growing up thinking they (parents) are outliers, pretending swearing doesn’t exist: “peculiar poetry.
For example, “What the ******* hell was that?” is a good song. “What was that?” isn’t. And to give Ince a bit of credit, “Where’s your busy fucker of a fourth?” is like Shakespeare after six pints of Stella”