Koh Lanta?

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I check out of my high house and head out for some breakfast. It is a bit after 9 am and only one place has yet to open. Relaxation is religiously observed in Ton Sai. It is like Sunday in the Midwest of the USA sans church.

A morning meal of noodles with some guys from New Zealand. One is a cheese maker who is comically itching for some dairy in Asia. I suggest he friends a Thai fruit shake maker and whip up some raw vegan cashew cheese borrowing the blender. He glares at me as if I said something sacrilegious.

It seems like the ratio of men to ladies here is not in favor of the males seeking female friends and I feel a bit like vegan meat, not in a totally disturbing way but still. I impulsively purchase a $15 boat ticket to Koh Lanta, leaving at 11 am. Gratitude to the rastas, the limestone rocks, and the fire ravers. I am off!

Koh Lanta. Hmm. I am not sure why I am guided to this island. Rich Europeans head to Phuket, those who like to party a little head to Koh Phan Gan, those who like to party a lot head to Koh Phi Phi, expert scuba divers to Koh Tao, Koh Lanta, Koh Lanta…who are you?

Two hours on a catamaran later I am at the dock of the island. The sea is equally as bright, a color of teal only a child born in the 80s could love, even by the commercial marina. Andaman you are special.

On the ride over I do chat with another dude who spent the last couple of days in Ton Sai and got a massive bite from a poisonous centipede and thus seeks medical attention. I hope the hospitals in Thailand are of higher quality than those in Laos and send him light. Diarrhea seems petty in comparison to the nasty welt on his foot.

There is a swarm of tuk-tuk drivers at the pier offering various forms of accommodation on the island. Some are absurdly pushy, the guy I ride with cheeky yet with a juvenile smile. I seek the Rastababy hostel on Klong Nin beach for I am attached to spending more time with dreadlocked folk. All four beds or so at the abode are full and I walk up and down the beach seeking another place to crash. In and out of the countless seaside quarters I view the possibilities, the range of quality and price totally inconsistent. I finally choose to stay in the Rundhouse bungalow, a round hut with two beds and cute homemade decorations and bamboo lanterns. The sheets smell unusually clean and I am thankful. Perhaps hanging around too many rastas lends itself to greasy smelling bed wear.

Rundhouse is owned by a Swede who eagerly reduces the price of the bungalow. I am the only guest. He smokes with his Swedish pals at the bar, enjoying afternoon beers, as an adorable toddler plays around the restaurant. She is so blond and so white. Koh Lanta I learn, is for the Swedes and a little less so for the Norwegians. I am on the island sanctuary for Scandinavia.

Klong Nin beach overall is blissfully white, smooth, and empty. Winter (high) season is over.

I sit in the twilight on one of the countless beachfront café terraces admiring the sun set over the sea and enjoy the view for the entire evening, gazing at the beauty as I sup. I sit for so long I have to change tables three times to accommodate the other guests. Apparently I chose the only place on the strip of beach with customers, a location popular for their fish barbeque. Who knew? The staff is super kind, a Muslim family who scurries from the kitchen to the grill to the bar to the beach tables and those on the porch, all rotating positions of chef, waiter, bartender, busser, table mover, etc. It is amazing to observe their multidimensional skills. Full belly and sleep in my round room.

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