Shit Culture

Koh Tao is a significantly smaller island than Koh Pangan. There is really only one town spread along the major bays beach. I imagine it was historically 2 towns but now the resorts and bars have filled in the middle. After our relatively hard night out (my definition of going hard on a night out has dramatically changed since dancing elephant) we slept in late. Phil slept longer, maybe some jet lag, so I went for breakfast.

Today was a nothing day, or as nothing as I’m capable of. I still managed to:

  • extend the motorbike rental
  • sign up for dive lessons
  • go and explore the mountain on motorbike with phil
  • take the first introduction to the dive course
  • read 3 hours of material
  • have soup
  • go for a beer
  • jump a flaming skipping rope

… So not much really. But there were a few moments of excitement.

The ride up the mountain was pretty cool, and steep. An automatic 125cc moped with me on it is slow, with me and Phil, I didn’t think it would get up the hill but it made it! We stopped at a handwritten sign saying viewpoint and forcibly donated 20b each for some incense and the right to look at the view. This is something that I both dislike and admire; good on them for being enterprising and making a meagre income from rich westerners. They look after the area and you got some incense to deal with the worst of the mozzies and a place to put your rubbish. But, paying someone to look at a view, is a bit irksome for me. Maybe I’m just spoiled by the fantastic job the mountaineering and hillwalking community do in the UK to protect our rights to roam?

At the top were some other English people, the kind that you are embarrassed to share the genepool with. They were pretty louty and loudly making crude jokes at the expense of others. Fag in mouth, clutching a beer, topless, tattooed and skinhead, riding a bike that was far too big for him (and I was a little jealous of) I’m glad they didn’t appreciate the view as long as we did. I sometimes wonder what other cultures think of us Brits as it’s clear from this example, our culture is lacking depth. Saying this, it was pointed out to me that I come across from the other end of the English stereotype; bumbling along, tripping over my words, floaty gay hair with a posh accent and comments about people’s motorbiking skills. I probably rub them the wrong way as they do me. We did encounter some nice ladies later from Vienna and certainly enjoyed the view a lot more for their company.

The other fun thing to occur, that was probably a bad idea but worked out, was going out for one drink after my studying. I had to read a load of material and take some quizzes ready for the dive school in the morning. It took about 3 hours in total so I was ready for a beer by the end. Just one beer, but make it a large one.

We walked along the beach, sandals off, toes in the retreating ripples, enjoying the warm water. A few clubs were still in full swing, their flashing lights and lasers dancing across the water, illuminating the local longtail boats. One club will had its fire show going. Bravely drunk guys were allowed to show off one by one to their lady-friends in attempting the fire limbo. I’d really like to have tried but I know my knee just doesn’t bend like that anymore. Instead, buoyed on by a bottle of Tiger and bravado, I uttered the famous last words, “hold my beer”. I jumped into a flaming skipping rope being twirled by two strong looking thai guys. I nearly got hit in the head,  but managed to style it out. Exiting in one piece, the adrenalin was heightened by an excited girl praising my efforts. I made sure to include her next time I went for a skip (manliest sentence of my life) she was doing great until she tried to leave and face planted the sand!

We didn’t stay long after that as I had to be up early for the next round of dive training. I also had developed the overwhelming urge to poop since my seafood based soup earlier that night. I was told later by a guy on my course that it was his “go to” meal to induce an explosive butt reaction, helping to clear last night’s toxins.

As with anything else in Thailand, the lavatorial system is a bit different to the western style. We have become very relaxed about dropping bogroll down the toilet, but it’s not done here. You get a bum-gun to clean, and only use the paper to dry yourself before depositing it in the waste paper basket. I’m a complete convert to the bum-gun, as strange a sensation as it is. You get a burst of cold water right on the eye that is a bit of a surprise the first time. It also takes a bit of practice not to spray up your back or douse your balls. I’m thinking of getting one for home use, you feel so much cleaner afterwards.