Thursday, February 10, 2005

Turtle Island

We left Koh Samui with the early morning sun still peaking over the horizon, We were then informed that there had been a boating accident, and the boat we were to catch, had dropped its engine in the ocean. This news seemed to ease my soul, knowing how seasick I get on long boat trips. Anyway, we found some other boat later that was going to koh Tao, or the island of the turtle. I did indeed get nauseous, but held my ground, or I should say my breakfast burrito, until we hit the land. We had met some kids for The USA on the boat, two which lives in the small California town Christine grew up, and the rest from NYC. We ended up following them to the place they had booked for their diving course, and happily found they had some extra spots in the certification course. The place was called big blue, and is highly recommended for anyone going to the koh Tao area. The highlight of the day came when we met our Thai diving instructor, named Jude. After he introduced himself, he walked us through the course, and than talked about himself for a while. He boiled his existence down to diving, marine biology, and smoking huge joints on hammocks. His English was good, but when he spoke to you, he always kept his eyes closed. He gave the impression that he was teaching you some ancient oriental secrets of the deep, the way a master kung-fu teacher may. Anyway we parted way with our master, and headed out to chill on the beach for sunset. The ocean comes right up to the deck in the day time, but in the evening (low tide) the ocean recedes some 50M. The local bays than scurry along the beach putting up citrenella candles and plants for decor. We rendivou with our all American team, and adopted a cppl for Amsterdam, and two Swedish guys. We started off slow with a few beers, but soon we moved over the infamous "bucket". The bucket is a Thai thing. It consists of half local rum, some coke, and a redbull on top. But, the red bull is not your average USA redbull...No,no,no. It is the stuff that FDA wouldn't allow into the country, it is literally liquid crack. As the evening proceeded, our group began to grow restless, charged up with this crack elixer. We decided to go to the clubs down the beach to check out the scene. It was rather mellow, except for a few Asians lurching about, and one Caucasian girl, who had obviously studied African dancing, and fused it with bad boy band moves. It was stunning, this girl attempted some of the most ridiculous motions I have ever scene. Mind you not in a demonstration of grace and poise, but in a she watched the African anteater dance one too many times, and really believed she was good. Needless to say we needed to know what her deal was. Turns out she is from Wisconsin, and told us that everyone knows she's American by the way she dances. I have never felt so ashamed on a dance floor before. Christine and I went home soon after questioning what the world must think of America.
The next morning, we awoke early to start our scuba instruction. We talked a lot about the equipment..ect,ect, than finally went into the water. We waded out to about a 5ft depth, so we could stand if there was a problem, there was. Christine two deepest fears are drowning and sharks, so you can see scuba is a natural fit. Our instructor (Jude, real name unpronounceable), calmed her with all the skill of a horse whisperer. Before the afternoon was over Christine was underwater diving. Diving kicked our ass, actually it was the night before, but anyhow we retired early. The next day was a lot of the same. We talked, than dove a bit...yada yada yada. The day after that came our first dive. The weather was overcast, and the visibility was as clear as pea soup. These were perfect conditions for my beloved Christine. Her ears wouldn't equalize as we reached about 12m deep, and I as here dive buddy try to help bring here a bit higher to relieve the pressure. It wouldn't work, and before you know it, Christine and I ended up on the surface, which is the best way to die in diving. Luckily we were not very deep, and we acceded very slowly, so our lungs didn't burst like balloons, but she was pretty scared about the whole thing, and we still had another dive that day. The second dive went perfectly, with the assistance of our instructor who is a mad man underwater. Because he is a marine biologist, he feels the need to mess with every aquatic life we come across. This includes throwing cushion coral around like basketballs, playing fetch with clownfish, and continually poking a stonefish, which if attacks you, you can count the seconds to seeing Jesus. We celebrated our first dives with dinner at the nicest resort on the island, and again went to bed early. The last day we dove again in the morning, but due to success of previous dive had more freedom, and were even encouraged to go crazy. I was doing backflips, let Christine ride me like a bronco (not like that, Im not that good yet), and yes even attempted a halfway successful underwater Caulcan. It was a good day, but the night was the crazy part...That night was the legendary full moon party on the next island over, koh pgan gan. Christine and I washed up and loaded up on liquor and Dramamine for the party boat ride over. We had of full crew ,11 deep, ready to take on the most famous party in Thailand. The party boat was hilarious. We had to climb over two other boats to get on a ferry that had giant trash cans filled with beer, and 4 PA speakers arranged around the deck of the ship pumping out the worst techno Europe has to offer. Though tired (first dive was at 6.30), I was fired up. The boat ride took to long to get there, and we missed the sunset, but it ended up that was the boat's plan. The boat was way over capacity, and worried about the police giving them trouble, so in the veil of darkness they made hundreds of wasted kids sit down and hide. It may have been the largest peek-a-boo game ever recorded. The rest of the crew was hoping to find accommodations on the island, which we were told is like renting a midget dancer on memorial day weekend. So, we parted way with our crew, and planned the rendivous for later that night. Christine and I had dinner, and than headed over to see the grounds before the full brunt of the chaos hit the shore of Hat rin (the beach were the party is) There were over a dozen bars lining outcove of a beach that would other wise be beautiful, each pumping music as loud as they could in a futile effort to be louder than there neboirgh less than 20M away. People had already begun to congregate on the beach pregaming for the madness. Christine and I secured a table in the designated meeting area, and began to wait for backup to arrive. We prepared a proper Thai liquor bucket and took in the scene. I don't know in my many years of debauchery I have ever seen anything of this flavor. At first, the scene seemed one of chilling out at a huge beach party and causally drinking and listening to loud techno, but soon things changed. As the time grew closer to the witching hour, the numbers on the beach began to swell and the noise grew like thunder, I knew something strange was amidst. People started to appear in dayglow paint dancing around like maniacs. Small Thai children began to light staffs on fire, and began to twirl these flaming weapons like the colourguard from hell. The attendees of the party, which was now well over 20,000, started to look more like some sort crazy dada movie from 1920. Soon our reinforcements had arrived. The were already slightly intoxicated, and quickly made up more buckets to consume. Invigorated by their arrival, I decided it was time to give the madness a go. I upped my intake my alcohol, I sped up the rate of my dancing, and gave any future ideas of finding a suitable bathroom, and used the ocean like everyone else. The night continued to gain momentum, and more shady Thai characters began to emerge to offer different illegal substances, judging by our surrounding more of my fellow revealer were starting to partake. The level of intoxication of the people around me started to distract me from having a goodtime. Christine began to be approached by random bug eyed, shirtless euros. They didn't want to speak with her, just poke her and see her reply. My favorite story of the evening, is the story of our new friend john. John decided to go down to the ocean to relieve himself, when he felt a crushing blow on the back of his head, something like being hit with a coconut, but when he turned around to see his assailant, all he could see was a girl with golden hair running off in to the distance. Just when he started to convince himself that, maybe he had fabricated the idea, the young lady turned, and began to run at him full steam. He was frozen. She than did something that can only be described as a crossbody splash into him. John is a reasonable man, and refused to hit a women, so he slipped free. The golden haired girl retreated, but only to run at him again this time trying to push him into the ocean, and wrestle him down. She was as strong as a mule, but John was a formability opponent. He managed to get on top of her and yelled "who sent you," but the girl squirmed like a politician, and John let her go free. She ran into the crowd never to be seen again. It was early morning, and I started to feel ill. The tiredness was beginning to overcome me, and without any chemical enhancements, I was no match for the rest of the early morning imps. Christine and I found our friend Felix (Koh Samui), and was certainly not going to bed soon, so he offered us his room until our boat left in 2 hours. It seemed if I had just rolled over when the alarm signaled it was time to head for the docks. We found a bench in the cabin, and started to drift into sleeping bliss, when a commotion from the deck sounded from above. It seems some aussie was not done partying, and had jumped dove overboard to head back to the shore, which was several hundred meters away, maybe a mile. The boat than circled back to pick him up, but he refused and swam on. We had to wait to make sure he reached land (he did), and then continued back to koh Tao. I never found out what happened to the rest of the crew, since in the madness we went our separate ways, by I feared for their safety after seeing what the dreaded buckets had done to me. I left koh pgan gan, feeling slightly cheated and defeated at my performance, but vowed to return to defend my honor.


Blogger jayloose said...

bring on the buckets.

are you sure you weren't the crazy aussie swimming back to shore?

and can you bring me some of that red bull. sparks isn't doing the trick anymore.

10:29 AM  
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