|Yeah, I am soooooooooooooooooooo on vacation. "But you haven't worked in nearly two years", some might be inclined to point out. True, but I've been "travelling" which is all apart distinct and separate from "vacation". After the toil of India and the turmoil of Nepal, Thailand offers a completely carefree vacation atmosphere. No pesky culture to absorb, no unidentifiable foods to stare down, no dodgy bus schedules to decipher, none of that stuff that makes travel so challenging and interesting. But I'm on vacation; screw the challenges...my life is interesting enough. Pineapple or papaya is as challenging as I'm in the mood for. It became obvious to me that I segued from travelling to vacation when I eschewed the bus/ferry option for a flight down to Ko Samui. It was significantly more expensive, but I just couldn't be asked to deal with an overnight bus...I'm on vacation. And flying with Bangkok Air feels like it! Free internet, magazines and munchies in the waiting lounge; a terrific in-flight meal and great service on the way down; and too-helpful staff upon arrival at Samui's tropical open air airport. Throw a lei around my neck, shove a fruity/umbrella drink in my hand, burn me to a crisp in the sun and the picture is complete.
Though over-developed Ko Samui was supposed to be a mere transit point on the way to the diving hot spot of Koh Tao, the allure of vibrant nightlife sways me to kill a couple nights there until Mike arrives from San Francisco. The stories become a little sordid from here out, and full disclosure could result in the loss of my coveted PG rating. Suffice to say that good times were had by all, and that Thai pimps ain't all that scary, especially not the four foot tall ones fronting for their spurned bar girls.
Regardless, it seemed like a fortuitous time to change islands and both having diving on the brain, we hopped the catamaran over to the much more chill, Koh Tao. We eventually settled into a phat pad on the beach, as Mikey worked on his Open Water certification and I chugged through five dives in a twenty-four hour period to earn my Advanced. Didn't really learn a ton, but had some fun and logged my first night dive, which was pretty cool. With diving settled into the front seat, partying hopped into the trunk until the last night there. A proposed Graduation/House-Warming/Going-Away/Thank you/Cinco de Mayo party with the folks at Island Dive Center petered into a mere congratulations-to-us party for Mike, me and Adam from Mike's class. A baker's dozen of big Singhas went down smoothly before Car Bar buckets came into play, ultimately leading to my pratfall on the slippery tile, with a loaned chillum and my bloodied toe bearing the brunt of the fall, but the Bucket riding it out with nary a drop overboard. "Save the bucket!"
I'm really giving island life short shrift here, but pictures are worth a thousand words and those attached probably say too much already. Besides, I'm on vacation!