Kho Tao, Thailand
Some exaggeration, I’ll admit, I didn’t kayak round the whole island, small though it is. Whilst kayaks are cheap to hire for the day, I had lunch first and then read a book while the midday heat tired itself out making other people hot. Their turn today. Yesterday I’d had a wander, ending up committed by my own pig-headedness to climbing a steep road, descending an equally steep one and finding a beach at the end. Wet through from the heat, dipping into the sea was glorious, though this was a quiet resort and so people’s only by couples while I was there. The walk back was equally steep, of course, but at least this time I was headed for food and a shower.
Today’s kayak; I only hired it for a couple of hours, in fact, but that was long enough to get me out into the bay, along the whole of Sairee beach, and to see just how far you can drift while kicking back and gazing up at Koh Tao’s hills.
Quite a long way, it turns out, and it is deceptive; my eye always seemed to be on something, like a hill, which didn’t show how far I was drifting, then before I knew it I was 100m from the buoy I’d found before. I can see how cousin Soph and I slipped so far out to sea in my childhood now, thinking the faint dots we knew to be our parents were waving when actually they were panickily gesturing for us to come back.
I’d timed it well, the sky clouded over, even drizzled a bit, which was decent weather for a paddle, especially for someone who carefully packed his hat earlier, then took it out and left it on the bed. Muppet.
Post kayak I ran. Plenty of people here are too cool for school, so ignore all and anything others do, but the triathlete I’d passed twice on my Wednesday run was out again, smiling in the same way, as were a few others. Today I was due a tempo run, but Koh Tao is pigging hilly, so I had to settle for a long long uphill run in mile two. That, at least, got me some kudos from those coming down the hill on scooters – every one gave me a thumbs up or, my favourite, what I can only describe as the ‘funny face of respect’.
Tomorrow I’m on the afternoon boat back to Chumphon and then the sleeper to Butterworth, Malaysia, from where it is a short ferry hop to Penang/George Town. Funny, I’d spent some time pondering routes – spend a night in Koh Samui then south to Surat Thani? Have to spend a night in a Southern Thai town if so. I checked hotels were available in (I) Hat Yai (so much right now), then went to the ferry company and found I could just go back the way I came and pick up the train the same day.
A new country beckons. It has a (road) race in it, too.