Sunday, May 13, 2007

So after chaotic India, I landed in Thailand and felt like I'd landed in a country-sized resort. I explored the Bangkok for a few days with an Israeli guy and his Thai girlfriend before heading to Ko Pa Ngan with them for the famous full moon party. The main highlight of Thailand for me at first was the food. It's really amazing and is a welcome change from the fried bread with sauce and rice of India.
So anyway, Ko Pa Ngan wasn't great at all...mainly because it rained the whole time. It was really expensive and the bungalow in which I was staying was located on the opposite side of the island, away from everything. The road to get there was basically dirt and rock soup, so when it rained the night of the party and we were going to have to take our motorbikes over that road, then across the whole island, we decided it'd be a better idea to keep on living. The next day we found out that there weren't a lot of people there because of the rain, and that around 8 people died because they went for a swim in the ocean while on various drug trips. So I don't think the party had the happiest vibes anyway.
We moved away from that "resort" the next day and the couple I was with got a new bungalow. I couldn't find anything in my price range, so I ended up sleeping on their front porch for the night. The next day I got the hell off that island and headed for the main land. I was alone again, and felt much better...the third wheel is never a fun part to play. I was planning on heading north and had already taken the first steps. On the boat to the mainland however I had a change of heart. I decided instead to return to a new island - Ko Tao and realize a childhood dream of mine; that being scuba diving.
I registered for my open water course the day I arrived. Met some nice people who I went diving with and I was with them for my birthday-which I spent breathing under water. Also, as mentioned in some comments, for my birthday I had the pleasant experience of being hit on by two ladyboys, one of whom followed me most of the way home.
After the 4 day course was completed, my diving buddy Ray and I still had the itch to go deeper into the water. Open water allows you a maximum of 18 meters. So we both registered for our "Advanced Adventurer" which is basically a license that allows you to go up to 30 meters deep. So I completed that course 2 days ago. It was really an awesome experience.
On one of the dives I encountered a trigger fish. We'd been warned that they attack as soon as you enter their territory and that the best way to defend yourself is to swim backwards and use your fins to protect yourself, so that’s exactly what I did. I hadn't realized it was a trigger fish until it shot forward at me with a seemingly angry expression on its face...until that point I'd never seen a fish exhibit emotion, but I could really sense that he was angry by the way he wanted me dead. Other things on the island that didn't necessarily want me dead, but somehow ended up in my bungalow were: a very large blue spider (with eyes you could look into), a scorpion and a large poisonous centipede. I tried at first to tell the spider (who was watching me from his post above the front door) to leave politely but he didn't listen. I then started telling him angrily that he had to get out otherwise he was going to die via my shoe. Again he didn't listen, so I started hurling my shoe at him. He dodged it every time with spider speed. So I got a broom and eventually managed to brush him outside where my friend the foot long gecko awaited him. The next day when I saw the scorpion on my bathroom floor I wasted no time and quickly and brutally murdered him with my shoe. As for the centipede, he was given his freedom, but with a price- a one story drop from my balcony.
Back to the water, when we went down to 30 meters, we were surrounded by thousands of fish (as usual, but there were even more here). We stood on the sea bed and our instructor cracked open an egg to demonstrate the atmospheric pressure at that depth. We batted the yoke around without it breaking. We were soon distracted from our game however by the three sharks and school of barracuda that were swimming around close to us. I've always had somewhat of a fear of sharks, but seeing them down there was more fascinating than anything else. When I looked back, the egg yoke was gone- sucked to the surface in the bubbles we exhaled while we weren't paying attention.
Later that night we went on a night dive. It really looked like a scene from a science-fiction movie- pitch blackness besides the beams of torches that cut through illuminating fluorescent choral and tropical fish. When you shine your flashlight beam into your chest to dim it, then move your hand back and forth in the water, the plankton suspended in the water flickers like sparks are coming out of your hand. I found this to be amusing and spent a while doing it. We also swam through some underwater caves and some choral bit me.
So that pretty much takes us to now. I think I'm leaving this island today...I've already spent around 10 days here, so it's about time I suppose. Next stop, some ruins on the mainland as I head north.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Quelles aventures!!!
Le spectacle sous l'eau doit être superbe.fais attention avec les poissons qui ont faim!! il n'est pas question de servir de hamburger à ces bêtes là...
J'ai bien aimé les photos . Jolie à voir la première mais pas envie de prendre un bain dedans...Très beau devant le Taj et Shim aussi..Bisous bisous de tante Josée;

2:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very Funny! You beat me to it. As I was reading,I was wondering If your various friends looked you right in the eye. You have an amazing eye for photography. I love the picture of the two women on the porch. I will eagerly await the phone call from your mother with her comments about your under water adventures. Again, that is not anything I have ever wanted to do but it sure sounds great!
Love Belle

7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

that party sounds swinging - death by dirt and rock soup masquerading to be a road - what more do you want?

i googled trigger fish to see if they resembled any part of a gun, and sadly, they do not. but in all the pictures i saw, they looked like jolly, brightly coloured clown-fish. that would be startling haha: one with death in it's eyes, shooting at your face.

and ewwwwww blue spider. normally the colour blue makes thing appear to be cooler, but not in this case.

holy mother effing sharks. i shat my pants reading your blog. and would have shat my pants in the water had i been there. that is terrifying.

guesss what, i didnt fail any courses! my poli sci teacher is just an ass who was apparently pulling my leg whenst he told me i was sitting at about a 50%. his last name is mellon and he has a high voice and only one outfit, so i forgive him. did you ever have him/want to kill him?

7:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Je lis tout cela, je vois les photos amusantes, j'ai l'impression que je lis un roman d'aventures, sauf que c'est toi Justin , mon neveu qui est l'acteur dans cet Indiana Jones...
Je pense aussi à ma chère belle soeur Arlene et je sais combien elle doit se faire du soucis pour son "petit" ....
Dans une publicité à la télé on voit Un jeune qui veut partir dans un autre pays pour manger des raviolis et sa mère lui court après en disant"" Reviens reviens j'ai les mêmes à la maison!!!""Alors moi j'ai envie de te dire ""reviens reviens ici sur la côte d'azur tu pourras plonger, voir des poissons et je t'emmènerai voir des belles vaches à la montagne!!!! et ici c'est moins dangereux....

Bon Indiana Justin fais bien attention à toi et j'espère que bientôt tu seras dans des regions plus calmes sans scorpions et poissons carnivores.
On pense à toi...Josée

5:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny that Josee wrote that. I was just going to write (again)....
"Come home, right now! LOL.
Too scary for me. Have Careful!

Love..Your mother

6:23 AM  
Blogger Justin said...

Oui, c'est un peu dangereux ici, mais il faut just fair attention et ca plus part du temps. De tout facon, je reviens assez bientot...2 mois as peu pret et je serai en France, alors il faudra just fair attention aux Parisiens. La ca serait une nouvelle aventure.

I thought you would like that little coment...truth is it would have had eyes I could look into had I gotten close enough. Thanks about the photography. It's often quite easy to take nice pictures when you're in these countries. Did my mother call you? She says she wants to scuba dive too, so I'm sure she's for the scorpion, I'm pretty sure that's her main concern.

Yeah, I'm sure the party would have been killer...
Trigger fish look pretty, and when they attack it's scary, but it also made me laugh a lot because it reminded me of the killer rabit from Monty Python. It moved just like it too. During the night dive my friend Ray and I found a sleeping trigger fish and woke it up with our flashlights. Later I think he woke up all the trigger fish (as they don't usually attack at night)and the other group of divers got swarmed by them. Basically it resulted in pure chaos with fish flying from one diver to the next, biting fins. Funniest fish ever.
Good work with the not failing. Nah I don't know that teacher. Mr. Mellon? One suit and a high voice. That's awsome. How could you hate someone like that?

Don't worry. The sharks weren't agressive, the scorpion was small and died a quick death and the spider, well, no that spider was scary. I'm being careful.

12:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahhhhhhhhh!! tu rentres dans 2 mois, me voilà rassurée...Evite les araignées , scorpions et autres bestioles dangereuses et je pense que tout ira bien pour toi et tes parents...(moi je n'ai peur que des chenilles...)
C'est vrai à Paris ils faudra faire attention aux parisiennes ; il parait qu'elles sont redoutables.Que de dangers partout dans le monde!!!ahah.Bonne continuation dans ton voyage .Quand on se verra je te ferai un peu de pain frit et de riz indou pour te rappeler ton séjour. ahah. Bises bises de Josée

2:37 AM  

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