Sunday, March 13, 2011

On the Road to Sustainability, Koh Phangan

The three of us have covered a lot of ground in the last 24 hours.  Last night we boarded a plane for Bangkok and felt spoiled rotten as we watched the tuk-tuks and moto drivers turn into ants below us.  After a short hour in the air, we grabbed another set of wheels: a taxi to the bus station.  

Yesterday was our first experience revisiting a country and it kind of came as a shock how familiar it was.  In our few spare hours we headed towards the street vendors who had, as we remembered, done a very fine job of filling our bellies in the past.  I rejoiced at the no-longer-mystery-meat on a stick and Robyn ordered the noodle soup she'd been missing for so long.  It was exhilarating to be able to order food properly and actually end up with what we wanted. 

The return to Thailand heralded an even greater return to normalcy: 7-11.  We hadn't seen one in over a month and we were only too glad cross the green and red threshold into a world of plastic wrap, air conditioning, and posted prices.  It's one of the few places you can buy things at a fair price without a great deal of effort. 

Our time in Bangkok was to be shortlived.  We only had two hours to spare before our Koh Phangan-bound bus came to pick us up.  The vehicle approached and things looked promising: double decker, toilet on board, no locals sleeping in the aisle.  We climbed aboard and at once realized that this night bus had no beds.  Shucks.  That's ok, I bet the seats recline fairly low.  Ahh, they do, excellent.  Wait... no, mine doesn't.  It's going to be a long night.  I spent 9 hours in the most bizarre positions trying to get a moment's rest.  Failure!

I've been told that I've been looking a little crazy lately.  I don't suppose the distinctive bus lighting helped any.  The color of my face in this picture is an omen of things to come.

The bus dropped us off at a ferry port with about 3 hours to spare.  Everyone on the bus was exhausted.  We laid a thin airport blanket on the concrete floor and crashed out, awoken at 6:30 am by the boat captain who wanted to get us on the boat and get moving.

The sun rises just as we climb aboard the boat to Ko Phangan

We weren't on the water long before Robyn, Jevin, and I all started turning a little green.  Sleep-deprived and sea-sick, we made our way to the upper deck over the sprawling bodies of our fellow travelers.  Maybe a cool breeze and some fresh air would do the trick.  It seemed that we weren't the only one with the same idea.  The top deck was littered with bodies, some sleeping, some too tired to sleep.  Squeezing into a space between bodies and bags, Robyn and I released our bodies and minds to the will of the elements, mouths gaping open towards the sun.  The sun, that wretched sun.  It turned our tired faces from golden brown to lobster red while we were helpless to defend ourselves. 

After almost 24 hours in transit, we finally arrived on Ko Phangan.  This island and those surrounding it are the setting for Alex Garland's book The Beach which I have just started reading.  If you have or plan on reading the book, it makes a pretty good sketch of the region. 

We found a dingy little beach bungalow and rented some scooters.  Tomorrow morning we start our Permaculture Course.  Work!?!  I don't know if I'm ready to start learning at this point in the trip.  I was just getting used to not doing anything.

David J Parker

Every bungalow has a hammock.  Major perk!
Beach out front of our bungalow.


  1. I love these blogs. Great writing David! I almost feel I'm there with you except I'm really in a comfy bed with by 42" flatscreen. Oh well.
    Love you all, take care of each other!
    mom [colman]

  2. Yes David, great job as always! Keep safe,as always. Miss you, as always!
    I leave on tour soon and am hoping to start a video blog (if I can get my computer fixed! I need an external disc drive to reinstall windows onto my netbook). Either way, I will let you know the link if it happens :)