I know ya’ll are thinking that after two weeks on the
tropical Thai island of Koh Samui, I’d be the most relaxed person in the
world. Well, I’m not. Life is tough in paradise, and ‘m gonna tell you
First, each morning, at an unforgivable hour, I’m awaken
by the many birds, lizards, crickets, and random insects that come alive
at sunrise. They fill the air with their songs, chirps, clicks, and odd
noises, rousing me from my slumber. This onslaught of sounds drives me to
the fresh fruit stand next to my bungalow at Meanam beach.
There, under the watchful eyes of the proprietor, a lady
who told me on December 31, she was too poor to have any Y2K problems, I
am served a fresh banana shake. On some days, I am even forced to consume
a mango shake to! She then loads me down with pineapple and papaya slices
and pushes me onto the beach.
After such a rough morning, I usually try to catch up on
my sleep, but I’m constantly awakened by vendors of all sorts, demanding I
partake in their fresh fruits, foods, or booze. I shoo them away, for if I
am to be conscious before noon, I at least want a decent view of the
topless European sunbathers who frequent the beaches around me.
By lunchtime, I attempt to escape the sun’s warm rays in
one of the beachside cafes, which, to my continued dismay, only serve
fresh seafood, rice, and vegetables. I’m tired of the red snapper, king
prawns, blue crabs, and rock lobster served to me straight from the
fisherman’s net. I miss the wheat noodles
of Beijing and odd hot pot of Hong
Kong. I want the mystery-meat shashlik
and caviar bliny
of the countless restaurants I
wandered into off the trans-Siberian.
I would trade the weak Thai beer and strange local whiskey for good vodka,
or at least strong piva, if only
I knew how.
With a full belly, I reluctantly trudge back to my
bungalow, for a long afternoon nap. Rested and bathed, I grab my diskette
and head to the local Internet cafe, risking my life for ya’ll as I try
to drive a moped on the left side of the road. Surviving the journey, I
return to prepare for my nightly excursions to the main tourist beach.
Filled with foreigners, Chaweng is more a tourist trap
than a nightspot, but its here that I try to douse the pain of Koh Samui
living with copious amounts of banana daiquiris, strong margaritas, and an
occasional Mai Thai. I’m joined in this hopeless task by an odd assortment
of Germans and English, with a smattering of French and even an occasional
Russian thrown in. We toast Ra, the Egyptian sun god, and when the local
waitresses are looking, throw in a toast to HM B. Adulyadej, the Thai king
I usually stumble home late, filled with sweet libations
and even sweeter dreams, longing for a deep, restful sleep. Usually, my
desires are fulfilled, except when there is a full moon, a New Year, or a
random Tuesday. On these nights, the phantom disco starts early and does
not stop until well past daylight the next morning.
I say ‘phantom’ disco, because, this past
Tuesday, I was unable to sleep due to the constant, rhythmic thumping of
base. Wanting a decent night’s sleep, I rode around on my moped, looking
for the source of my discomfort. Only when I’d circled Meanam beach twice
did I discern where the noise was coming from. Across a wide bay from Koh
Samui, is Koh Pha Ngan, another island with legendary all night parties
that, to my displeasure, are audible from my bungalow.