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March 5, 2007

7 Days Turned into 3 in Ko Chang

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Michelle made it ok after a nights stay in Tokyo.  Her flight from Dallas was 2 hours late leaving which caused her to miss her connection and turned into a 14 hour delay.  We still had a little bit of time in Bangkok and went to the Golden Palace (again for me) and toured around some.

Thought there was going to be a long night before we could get out of here when we were locked on the rooftop of our hostel one evening.  They have a bunch of chairs and lounge area which is supposed to close at 10, but they shut the door and locked us up there at about 9:30.  After 15 minutes of banging the door and yelling another guest heard us and went for help.  Michelle seemed to get the worst of it though as she was covered in bright red bug bites from her knees to her ankles.

The trip to Ko Chang, our island paradise, was fairly straightforward.  Skytrain to the bus station, bus, shuttle to the ferry, ferry, taxi to hotel.  I was happy everything went as planned even though it cost a bit more than we had seen online.  Michelle got a small glimpse of what travel here is and can be like and was amazed that it took that long and how things are different from what you are expecting them to be.  Still it was a full day of travel and nearly dark when we got there so that was the first day on the island that we didn’t get to take advantage of.

The island is really nice, about 5 hours east of Bangkok right next to Cambodia.  There are lots of closer islands you can get to so it isn’t quite as built up as others, but is getting there quickly.  It has one road that goes around about 3/4 of the island and don’t try taking your rented motorbike over the other 1/4.  I’ve got the burn on my leg from the exhaust pipe to prove it.

The next day we went and bought the necessary beach supplies, a mat to lay on and a frisbee!  The rest of the day was lounging in the warm water, finding sand dollars every two steps, and drying off now and then.  It was fun being there with Michelle since I could fill her in on what I knew about the ocean or sea as it actually is about the hermit crabs, different shells, and so on.  We explored our little stretch of the beach finding all the shops which have about the same stuff as in Bangkok and where to do our activities from later in our stay.

Day three we were still in lounge mode and after stuffing ourselves at the included breakfast buffet of eggs, banana pancakes, fresh bread and pineapple we headed straight for the beach massage area.  They lay you down on the lounge chairs put a little oil on a get to work on a Thai massage.  A thai massage starts by poking and prodding along your spine.  It feels like they are using their elbow and pushing in with all their body, but its just their fingers.  I guess from doing it everyday.  Regardless it doesn’t start out as the most relaxing massage.  I got adjusted and used to it after a bit and they give you a full hour massage for about $7.50.  Quite a deal.  Michelle had never had a professional massage before and I don’t think the Thai version is the one she will be going back for, wasn’t too relaxing for her.

Day four we got up early, off to breakfast, of course and then went to rent the motorbike and explore the rest of the island.  There was a waterfall nearby that we started at and despite the hefty 800 baht entrance fee for the two of us we hiked up to it.  It wasn’t a very dense forest or jungle walk and was missing the bird and monkey sounds you expect to hear.  The waterfall was a good height, but as it is towards the end of the dry season wasn’t at full strength.

We went for a swim in the pool underneath right as a tour group showed up and had to share it.  The water was much colder than what we’d had the last two days so the swim wasn’t too long.  From there we headed south to investigate snorkeling and parasailing places.  We found a place that did both on the first try, but the recommended snorkeling early as the water was calmer then.  So a quick lunch to make plans and we decided to rent the bike again and come back tomorrow.

We saw the little dotted line that was the road around the rest of the island and decided to try that, but turned back after the road disappeared into a tight unpaved jungle path.  Of course that was after the washed out bridge that we pushed the bike around over the stream path.  

On the way back is where I burnt my leg pushing it up the dirt when I made contact with the exhaust pipe.  Nothing serious, just gave me a one inch red spot which has scabbed over.  We drove around to some viewpoints, but had seen the highlights at the southern end so went in for a bit of shopping before dinner.  A quick check of email led us next to an Italian place which gave me a craving for garlic bread.  We got some to go  and finished it quickly and decided to get some appetizers at the hotel restaurant.

About two bites into that neither of us felt good and Michelle was throwing up 5 minutes later.  I held on for about two hours and until I started.  We really didn’t eat the same stuff until that night and can’t see food poisoning happening that quickly from the bread or chicken so still don’t know what caused it.  By morning Michelle was done throwing up and able to get up a little bit, but I was still in bad shape.  She felt up to returning the motorbike and getting some fluids for us to drink.  I was able to walk onto the balcony, instruct her on getting it going, and that was the last I got out of bed on Saturday.  Sunday wasn’t much better for me, still no energy or appetite although I did get outside for about an hour total.

There went snorkeling and parasailing.  Two things that we had really hoped to do, but there was no way it was happening.  Our plans were to leave Monday and head to a national park east of Bangkok and we wanted to do that still.  The trip there went better than I ever could have hoped for timewise, but was still a long hot day for us to make it through.  All of a sudden the week we’d planned turned into three fun days, two days of travel, and two days of me sick in bed not what her or I had hoped for, but its what we got.  More from the national park in a bit.

Brian and Michelle

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