A Travellerspoint blog

Dragon's Den

sunny 36 °C

Dragon, Our Moto Driver Turned Friend

Dragon, Our Moto Driver Turned Friend

With an invite from our tuk tuk driver turned friend, to visit his mother’s house for lunch, I was predicting that today would be one of our most memorable experiences in Cambodia. Dragon’s friend Wan was also coming along for the ride and when we jumped in the moto it was Wan that was in the driving seat while Dragon accompanied us in the back and gave us a commentary on the local sights. With a 50kg sack of rice below our feet the moto was a little slower off the mark than usual and when we veered off the main road onto a dirt track, I was having my doubts about whether we would even make it. I wasn’t recognizing a signal part of this journey to the orphanage that we had made the other day “Lighthouse Orphange?” we asked Dragon over and over. He nodded and smiled, like always as we pootled along kicking up clouds of dust. The dreaded words “same same, but different” popped up as we neared the gates of the wrong orphanage. “We want same same” we insisted as Dragon urged the security guard to let us in with our sack of rice. We could only laugh at the situation, I don’t think they even invited ‘farang’ visitors into this orphanage and there we were with our 50kg sack of rice refusing to go inside. “We have lunch first then lighthouse” I said to Dragon, who agreed.

Dragon's House

Dragon's House

Dragon's Moto Parked Outside His House

Dragon's Moto Parked Outside His House


Dragon’s family home was just across the road from the orphanage and moments later he had us sitting on the floor eating various fruit while flicking through family photo albums. He showed us photos of his sister who was living the ‘dream’ of escaping to the western world, with her husband in America. There was also photographic evidence of Dragon’s 3 years spent as a monk lining the walls amongst photos of his siblings and parents. He gave us a tour of the house which consisted of an upper and a lower floor, in the corner of the upstairs room was a metal box full of books that he used to study. Sandwiched between the pages of one of the fusty old text books was a Buddhist charm card which he offered me to keep for good luck on my travels. From the small shrine downstairs he also gave me a tiny wooden Buddha for more good luck. So by now I was brimming with luck.

Dragon in his Monk Days

Dragon in his Monk Days

Chinese New Year Tree (Dragon's Mum is Chinese)

Chinese New Year Tree (Dragon's Mum is Chinese)

Dragon's Den (actually his mums house, he lives on his tuk tuk!)

Dragon's Den (actually his mums house, he lives on his tuk tuk!)

We sat cross-legged on the cool tile floor with another photo album as Dragon prepared food and Wan popped off to the market for more supplies. An unusual looking soup, lukewarm, was placed in front of us. It was a Chinese soup, which to us British would probably imply chicken and sweetcorn or hot and sour. If only. In this cauldron lurked every part of every animal I think they could find, some parts were unrecognizable. I wasn’t feeling on top form as it was that day, so I pushed the soup about my bowl, trying to appear as though it was the best thing since sliced bread.

The Scrotum Stew EWWW

The Scrotum Stew EWWW

The Feast

The Feast

Dragon and Wan

Dragon and Wan

Angkor Beer

Angkor Beer

Just Fetching a Mango

Just Fetching a Mango

Fresh Mango

Fresh Mango



Relief, the rest of the food turned up to take the attention away from the soup; chickens feet and a sad looking fish. It turned out the fish was great and there was more to nibble than just the bony chicken feet. This was all accompanied by Chilled Angkor Beer and music. Good times.

Family Photo Album

Family Photo Album

Strange Chicken...Bits?

Strange Chicken...Bits?

Fruit and Something Unknown Wrapped in Banana Leaf

Fruit and Something Unknown Wrapped in Banana Leaf

We stayed for hours chatting; so long in fact, there wouldn’t be time to visit Lighthouse Orphanage.
On the way back, Dragon took us to his Silver Pagoda, where he lived as a monk for 3 years; a beautiful shining temple in the middle of the Cambodian dust.

Cambodian Countryside

Cambodian Countryside

Dusty Roads

Dusty Roads

The Villiage

The Villiage

Dragon's Village

Dragon's Village

Contryside Near Dragon's House

Contryside Near Dragon's House

The Silver Pagoda Where Dragon was a Monk

The Silver Pagoda Where Dragon was a Monk

He was proud to introduce us to all of his monk friends and I had to remember not to reach out to shake their hands as the guys did. “Sorry, I cannot touch the hand of the woman” apologised one young monk, so I smiled and assured him I didn’t think he was being rude. Dragon even took us to meet the highest monk ‘father monk’ and we offered him some money and received a blessing in return. I really had no idea what I was supposed to be doing; kneeling, standing, looking, not looking. I only know the basics of monk etiquette! But he smiled and followed us down the stairs. In the courtyard were a group of ancient woman who care for the monks, sitting, chewing betel nuts and smiling up at us with red stained teeth. The father monk then came to our tuk tuk with some holy water and flowers and drenched us and the tuk tuk, while giving a blessing. He then did a brilliant thing; he reached in his pocket and pulled out the money we had donated and spoke to us in Khmer. Dragon had told him about the rice we were taking to the orphans and so he wanted us to take the money for them. We rolled out of the temple with big smiles on our faces and wet, but blessed bums.

At the Temple

At the Temple

Sunset

Sunset

Too Much Beer

Too Much Beer

The Sun Setting Over the Cambodian Countryside

The Sun Setting Over the Cambodian Countryside

Posted by CarlaTracy 03:48 Archived in Cambodia Tagged people food local temple cambodia phnom_penh monk orphanage villiage Comments (0)

Baan Thai Cooking Class

sunny 35 °C

9.30am, time for our ‘free’ cooking course – it was free because we were charged DOUBLE for our hill tribe trek by SK House by ‘accident.’ Anyway, it was something we both wanted to do at some point and so this was the perfect opportunity. It wasn’t far to the school but we were still given a free shuttle. The class was limited to 9 so it would be easy to get to know people. First on the bus was a Canadian guy speaking very loudly, a Maori guy from New Zealand with THE biggest dreadlocks I have ever seen – they touched the floor. An Indian couple from London and Australian woman from Sydney joined us.

The school was down a quiet street alongside a couple of other cooking schools. We gathered around the table seated on cushions on the floor, the room was completely open into the street and the sun shone in. We were first introduced to the types and also the importance of rice in Thailand and then chose our 6 dishes that we would attempt to cook from a menu. We were then whisked away up the road to the local market carrying tiny bamboo baskets. The market was bustling and we huddled around our guide so we could hear “This is a jelly mushroom” “This is a mouse chilli” “This is a green papaya” “Thai Celery” “Lesser Ginger” “fermented crab” the weird and wonderful list went on. It was great to be finally told what half these exotic foods were in the Thai market! He popped a handful of ingredients into each basket. It felt like we had been shopping, without the hassle. We were then shown various coconut products and also fish, before being given time to ramble off and look for ourselves.

Thai Basil, Tastes Like Tarragon

Thai Basil, Tastes Like Tarragon

Fruit

Fruit

Tofu, Same Same but different Colours

Tofu, Same Same but different Colours

My Shopping Basket

My Shopping Basket

Fermented Crab for Making Fish Sauces

Fermented Crab for Making Fish Sauces

Fish Stall at the Market

Fish Stall at the Market

Grilled Fish at the Market

Grilled Fish at the Market

Ste Insisted on Bringing His Favourite Shopping Basket

Ste Insisted on Bringing His Favourite Shopping Basket

Eggplants, used in Green Curry

Eggplants, used in Green Curry

Greens Greens Good for your Heart

Greens Greens Good for your Heart

Fresh Produce at the Market

Fresh Produce at the Market

Back at the school we were given a plate of tasty Thai snacks to try including rice crackers, honey and sesame nuts, dragon fruit, glutinous rice and banana treats, jackfruit, rose apple, and guava. At this rate, I was going to be full before we had even started.

Thai Snacks, including - Dragonfruit, Jackfruit, rice crackers, glutenous banana rice

Thai Snacks, including - Dragonfruit, Jackfruit, rice crackers, glutenous banana rice


But it was straight to the chopping board to prepare my first dish; ‘Stir fried curry prawn.’ We were shown step by step how to cut and prepare each ingredient, which was far more easy and organised than I had expected. I had imagined trying to follow a crumpled recipe sheet whilst watching someone from a distance, attempting to remember it all, forgetting and then burning everything. But this dish was so quick and simple to prepare and the actual cooking was even quicker – add the oil add the curry powder, add the veg, then prawns and then stir-fry for about a minute and then it’s done! It was a miracle! It actually tasted fantastic! Very spicy though. After cooking we all met back up at our table and sampled each other’s dishes. We were also all surprised how quick and easy it all was, but then again we did have a Thai cook watching over us.

Stir-fry Chilli Prawns, My Favourite Dish of the Day

Stir-fry Chilli Prawns, My Favourite Dish of the Day

My next dish was Papaya salad which I had first sampled in Koh Phangan – tangy and crunchy with a touch of lava, delicious if you don’t mind dealing with burning red lips afterwards. There were only 3 of us making this dish; the others didn’t know what they were missing out on. Ste was on the table next to me preparing fish cake. Our instructor directed our attention to the mouse chillies, the very same chilli I’d mistakenly taken a nibble of on our jungle trek. 1 for mild, 2 for medium, 3 for hot…I’ll take 5 in mine..! Bearing in mind that these chillies were smaller than my little fingernail and a nibble of one practically blew my head off, I was thinking she must have been insane. First we crushed 6 tiny garlic cloves and 3 chillies (spicy!) together in a pestle and mortar. Then added palm sugar (shoooogar), and lime juice (from limes we gave a Thai massage to beforehand, and juiced using a spoon) and gave it a stir. It was then time to grate the carrot and papaya, which for some reason I seemed incapable of doing! Instead of nice fine strands, I kept hacking big chunks out of them. The rest of it was plain sailing – throw in the grated ingredients and give them a pummelling and a stir, et voila! Probably the tastiest salad I’ve had in a long time, if I do say so myself and the spiciest!! I tucked in with steam whistling out of my ears. I also had a try of Ste’s fish cakes which were delicious, with sweet chilli dip.

Papaya Salad, FIREY

Papaya Salad, FIREY

Next on the menu was Chicken Coconut Soup. This was the first dish Stephen and I actually cooked together! He is so amazing at cooking. The best in the world! He outshone everyone in the class. He should have been the teacher really… (yesss. and that wasn’t Ste’s addition to the journal!!) No really, he wanted to stand next to me so he could criticise my work from over his shoulder. (No I didn’t – Ste). Seriously though, we were presented with a sectioned bowl of ingredients – we chopped chilli, coriander, Thai spring onion and ginger, crushed lemon grass, sliced onion, oyster mushroom and tomato and we were ready for action. Basically we heated coconut milk in a saucepan and added all the usual suspects like fish sauce, sugar and lime. Once it was boiling we put in the herbs and spices, then the chicken and finally all the vegetables. It was ready in a flash! Cooking should always be this quick and simple and then I might enjoy it a bit more. Very flavoursome, but I couldn’t manage very much and I wanted to save room for the Paneang Curry. We then broke for lunch! Ha! Instead of eating, we shared food related stories whilst resting our full bellies. And laughed at how all travelling stories eventually steer towards food and how much we miss certain foods back home, like roast dinner – mmm thinking about it now even makes me excited. Mum has apparently frozen us a Christmas meal, complete with mince pies for when we get back home.

Raw Ingredients for Coconut Chicken Soup

Raw Ingredients for Coconut Chicken Soup

Coconut Chicken Soup

Coconut Chicken Soup



Last but most certainly not least, the Penang Curry. I had expected that making a curry paste would be hard work, but it literally took a 30 minute pumelling in the pestel and mortar to get it looking satisfactory and I was not expecting that! The rest of the process was plain sailing; adding the raw ingredients like the kaffier leaf, palm sugar, chilli and mini eggplants etc and then heating it with coconut milk on the hob for a few minutes. Time for tasting... it was once again a winner. Completely full to the brim I just managed to fit in the banana fritters and icecream we had prepared earlier and I was done. Finished, like Mr Creosote from Monty Python. "would you like a Waafer thin mint?"

Herbs and Spices for the Penang Curry

Herbs and Spices for the Penang Curry

Making Coconut Milk

Making Coconut Milk

Making the Curry Paste

Making the Curry Paste

A Lot of Blood and Sweat Goes into Making a Curry Paste

A Lot of Blood and Sweat Goes into Making a Curry Paste

Penand Curry, My Finished Item

Penand Curry, My Finished Item

Banana Fritters and Ice-Cream

Banana Fritters and Ice-Cream

Posted by CarlaTracy 02:25 Archived in Thailand Tagged food thailand cooking chiang_mai class pad_thai spice Comments (0)

Full Moon Party

overcast 28 °C

UV Gear

UV Gear

There was no way we were getting up on time after last night’s Thai birthday bash. We got up probably half an hour too late and when we were packed and ready to go, there was no sign of Mr Tawee at the restaurant, maybe he had had one bamboo bong and one whiskey too many last night. His wife informed us we had missed the 9’0clock bus and would have to wait until ten; plenty of time for breakfast then we thought. Mrs Tawee prepared us bolied eggs and toast and for Verity Fruit, Yoghurt and museli. It was brought to us with a big smile and a hug for Verity, we really did feel like part of the family and we really didn’t want to leave! I think Mr and Mrs Tawee were our Thai Mum and Dad. Mr Tawee eventually showed up all smiles and laughing, asking if we had a good night, we poked fun at him saying “you don’t smoke weed hey Mr Tawee….only Whiskey!” there were giggles all round as we piled into the back of the pickup truck. I took a last glimpse back at our jungle abode and its residents as we headed off down the dusty track. The mini bus was already waiting when we arrived, we hugged Mr Tawee and thanked him for everything and he pretended to grab Verity’s arm and take her with him, we all laughed as we boarded the bus. I felt genuinely sad to leave and as Mr Tawee left he popped his head around the door to say one last goodbye. He stood there a few seconds with the sign advertising his bungalows, but everyone that arrived on the bus got into another person’s truck and zoomed off. Mr Tawee threw the sign into the back of his van and that’s the last I saw of him as we headed off up the road. If only more people would stray out of the main tourist area and stay at Mr Tawees, I’m sure they would be in for a much better experience. But as he said, no one understands why his accommodation is so cheap and they think there is going to be something wrong with it, when really it is the complete opposite. He really needs to get himself out there a bit more. The most I can do, is tell every traveller heading that direction to stay at his, because there is nowhere else to review this fantastic place. My ponderings about Mr Tawee were soon halted by the crazy bus ride. I thought I would be used to the Thai style driving by now, but it has my stomach in my throat everytime.

I was glad to arrive in Surat Thani 2 hours later. We didn’t have to wait long for the coach from the travel agency that would take us to the ferry and it was a pretty short hour long journey, at a normal speed for once! We arrived at the ferry and managed to grab one of the few remaining seats, by forcing ourselves past a grumbling man and sliding onto the seats, just beating another man to it. The Ferry took around two and a half hours, which passed incredibly quickly, as I had a nap. Once off the ferry we had no problem finding our free shuttle truck to the Haad Grauud Resort, which is about 20 minutes from the pier, on the North West side of the island. The roads were crazily hilly and there was nothing but dirt leading down off the main road to the resort! Good job they had a 4x4! It was incredibly steep and we were bouncing all over the shot. We were shown to our bungalow, which was pretty reasonable for the price. They were pretty enclosed in the the area they called ‘The village’ but there was still a good atmosphere. Our room had a large double bed and a single for Verity. It also had a bathroom with a toilet that lacked a flush..nice. But it could have been worse for just 400B (8punds) between us. After settling in we nipped to the beachfront restaurant and tried to choose a seat that wasn’t directly under a coconut tree. The food was also a reasonable price with good portions. I had a spicy cashew nut and beef dish with all stir fired vegetable in it, which was pretty good.

We then got ready for the full moon party and made the incredibly steep and unlit walk to the 7/11 to pick up some samsong and redbull . We had heard the ‘buckets’ were a bit of a rip off, so we had decided to make our own. We chilled outside out bungalow, drinking and chatting until about 1am. We then headed to the reception to order a taxi. “Last taxi was at 11” said the extremely unhelpful manager, who was incapable of making any other suggestions; probably because he was constantly high on the copious amounts of weed he smokes. Then came an Australian voice “Just go up to the road you can flag one down there” ..”Thanks” we said, simultaneously giving Mr unhelpful a look. We moaned about him the entire way up the road. It was like he got joy out of the thought we might miss the full moon party. Idiot.


Taxi Ride

Taxi Ride

Fucking Big Bucket

Fucking Big Bucket

Classy Bucket

Classy Bucket

The taxi truck to the party took a good hair-raising half hour. And the first thing we saw as th taxi pulled up were people lined up along the walls, looking worse for wear. We grabbed a bucket that turned out to be only 300B and paid the 100B entrance fee each. Someone had told us not to pay the fee and to just walk past, but that just turned out to be an epic fail! The woman grabbed Verity’s arm and insisted we pay. When we pointed out a Thai woman hadn’t paid for a wristband she just started squealing about how she was Thai and she was allowed to in for free! Whatever, we said, reluctantly accepting that as tourists, we are going to get ripped off everywhere we go in Thailand.

Full Moon PArty Wristband

Full Moon PArty Wristband

Fuck You Long Time?

Fuck You Long Time?



The narrow streets were filled with stalls selling all sorts of full moon party tat. We eventually found our way down onto the beach which was full of people covered in UV paint etc. There were lots of stages all playing different music and we made our way down gradually, stopping to dance at several stages. At one point there were some crazy Malaysians covered in UV paint, that were dancing with us! It was all very light hearted and everyone was in good spirits, nothing like what I expected after reading Lonely Planet and all the terrible things that happen at the Full Moon Parties. I think you just have to be a complete retarded idiot, that has drunk WAY too much, to get yourself in any trouble.

Bucketsss

Bucketsss

No Bucket No Boom Boom

No Bucket No Boom Boom

Everybody Fucking Bucket

Everybody Fucking Bucket

All was well until we went down a lethal looking slide that would never in a blue moon, pass a health and safety check in Uk. The slide had virtually no sides, and fire at the bottom. A guy at the top, chucks water down it so you can pick up some real speed, shoot off the end and land on a crash mat. I forgot to mention you have to climb up a cargo net, drunk, to reach the top. The first slide was fine, with just me and Verity. But when some other guys insisted we all go down together, I knew it was a bad idea! We all squashed on, and as we slid and came flying down onto the crash mat, it felt like my ribs were about to crack with the weight of the guy behind me. But this was soon forgotten about, when I looked over and Verity was bunched up on the floor holding her knee. She had caught her foot in the mat on the way down but the people behind her just carried on going and so her knee got wrenched around. At first all I could think was she had broken it by the way she was reacting. Everything stopped and people crowded round to help her onto a hair. After a minute I think she realised it wasn’t broken, but it was seriously injured. We headed to the medical tent but Verity insisted it felt better.

Crazy Malaysians

Crazy Malaysians

The Crowds

The Crowds

Morph Men

Morph Men


There was plenty of entertainment for the rest of the night as people gradually fell asleep on the beach and people piled cans of rink and food on top of them. There were also some bizarre characters, like a huge Swedish Man that insisted we all come to his hotel for a swim. We also bumped into one of Ste’s friends from home; Sarah Devine and she told us to get in contact and she would show us around the island. We danced and danced (must have been the super sonic red bul that they put in all the buckets) and headed back as the sun began to rise.
Why You Should Never Fall Asleep

Why You Should Never Fall Asleep

Well this is a Keeper

Well this is a Keeper

Heading Home at Sunrise

Heading Home at Sunrise

Posted by CarlaTracy 02:18 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand party drinking full_moon celebration buckets koh_pangan Comments (0)

Avoiding the Scam Bus - Poipet Border Crossing

sunny 30 °C

The Bangkok to Cambodia border crossing at Poipet it notoriously bad for scams, a quick read of the internet and you will realise that even the officials are in on the game of petty extortion. There is then the issue of the ‘scam bus’ from Bangkok to Siem Reap taking you to places you don’t even want to go. I think by this time that even the most hardened travelers would be searching on skyscanner for an easier alternative.

3rd Class Train Bangkok to Aranyaprathet

3rd Class Train Bangkok to Aranyaprathet

Well the best way to avoid the scam bus we thought, was to go it alone. We took the 3rd class train from Hua Lumphong Station to Aranayaprathet which took approxiamately 6 hours. If we had taken the bus it would have dramatically cut the travel time to 2 hours to the border, but it was nice to leave Thailand alongside the locals who were munching on coconut rice stuffed into bamboo sticks. As usual, travelling 3rd class was a dusty affair, but the train (going at snails pace) made its way through some spectacular scenery. The door was even open at the back of the carriage, which provided a great experience for those daring enough to stand out the back.

Last Stop on the Train Line in Thailand - Aranyaprathet

Last Stop on the Train Line in Thailand - Aranyaprathet

Scam Tuk Tuks Waiting at Aranyaprathet Station

Scam Tuk Tuks Waiting at Aranyaprathet Station

As always, finding a forwarding method of transport from the train station was easy. The difficult part was getting that transport to take you directly to the border, but we were prepared. Without the knowledge it would be very easy to fall into the scam traps. So when our tuk tuk driver veered off down some side street and told us this was were we got our visa, we were quick to stand our ground “No, we want to go to the border” we politely insisted. He apologized, but that didn’t stop him attempting it a second time, with the border in sight this time. “We want 20 dollar visa” We insisted once again to a man who was beckoning us over to his official looking table “No 20 dollar visa” he said “Yes there is” and we walked onwards.

The Border is in Sight, but the Worst is Not Over

The Border is in Sight, but the Worst is Not Over

There isn’t really much signage so we followed the endless flow of wooden carts pulled by people, HUGE trucks and cars. We plodded on, being beckoned at every stage to come and get our visa. We continued to ignore until we reached the departures, here we were stamped out of Thailand. Now in no mans land we prayed for everything to go smoothly . We were ushered over to fill in a medical form, at first we were trying to refuse thinking it may be another scam but we weren’t handing over any dollars so all was well. The helpful Cambodian man then pointed us to a large official looking building. I scanned around to make sure that this was the definite end of the road. He could see we were having our doubts so he led us over and there it was ‘tourist visa 20$’ above the counter.

The final hurdle was the “You pay express fee 400 Baht,” and yes this was in the official building. Being well read on the subject, we knew there was no such thing as an ‘express fee’ and just denied having any baht. Admittedly we were given a funny look, but I just smiled and handed over our passport pretending to be oblivious. Our bums had barely touched the seat when we were called back over and given our visas. Of course, he ‘forgot’ the 10 dollar change, but gave it back when I gave him a look. We marched towards the border and were granted entry.

On the other side there was a free bus waiting and we were practically pushed inside by some happy smiley fellow. We were aware of the ‘free’ bus and yes it is free, but it will only take tourists to the ‘Tourist bus stop’ which the more expensive bus stop. But this is part of the journey we had to accept as there was no way we were getting to the local bus stop. Everyone is in on it in Poipet and there was no way we were getting a ride to the other bus station however hard we tried. We accepted the 9$ bus to Siem Riep just to get out of that place.
On the bus we began to hear all the border stories. The couple behind us had come on the scam bus and were being overcharged for their visas to the point where they called the police! Everyone had a different border experience, but I could now see why it had such a bad rep. I gazed out of the window at the dusty landscape that was flat as a pancake. It was so even and vast; I could almost see the curvature of the earth! Tiny farms and mountains of hay whipped by, as we made our way along the newly sealed roads. We stopped once for people to have a wee at the side of the road and a second time at a little café. Really cute little girls were asking for a penny for a bracelet and it was hard to resist giving them some money. It was another couple of hours to Phnom Penh and I nodded off.

At the Service Station

At the Service Station

Cambodian Snacks at the Service Station

Cambodian Snacks at the Service Station

I wasn’t expecting the bus to drop us off in the centre, so it was no surprise when it pulled down a side street about 5Km from town. It was now the moto drivers turn to earn some money driving us into the centre to a guesthouse of his choice, typical. We already had a guesthouse in mind but he insisted we see his first. Jess and Chris accompanied us. It wasn’t terrible but it was far from the centre, so we asked to be taken to ‘Dead Fish Hostel’ after it was recommended to ste by a friend. Unfortunately when we turned up we discovered it was no longer a hostel but a restaurant and so we had to settle for the 6 dollar guesthouse next door. To be honest I really wouldn’t have been too bothered if we had slept in a pig sty, I just wanted to throw down my stuff and tuk into a spicy mango salad.

The Scam Motos

The Scam Motos

Posted by CarlaTracy 22:40 Archived in Cambodia Tagged travel bus train cambodia thailand siem_reap poipet scam boarder_crossing Comments (1)

The Boy With 'Koh Phangan' Tattoo

semi-overcast 30 °C

Petrol Station

Petrol Station

Disastrous, disastrous morning; after breakfast me and Ste decided to take Verity’s scooter up the road to try and hire scooters of our own from next to the 7/11. I have never ridden a scooter before and after hearing tales of the ‘Koh Phangan Tattoo’ which is basically the unsightly scars up the legs and arms of people who have stacked it on the many steep hills and hairpin bends that form the roads of the island, I wasn’t feeling too confident. I had listened to Ben and Chris a little, about how to ride one and so I decided to give it a bash. Rolling the metallic pink scooter round and starting up the engine I gave the throttle a twist and wobbled into action. The incline up and out of the resort is like something off the North Face of the Eiger, but to my surprise the bike seemed fairly capable to and I made my way shakily towards the entrance. I then signalled for Ste to jump on board, but the weight made it very difficult for me to keep us in a straight line at slow speed and we wobbled toward the side over and over again until Ste had to jump off! The concrete up and out of the bay doesn’t last for long, and soon I was bumping and swerving over the dusty 4x4 track that leads to the main road. I handled it better than I thought and in a couple of minutes I felt more confident. I signalled for ste to jump back on and we would give it another go. We swerved from side to side on the dust until I managed to get enough speed to bump us over the pot holes and crazy divets and up to the concrete main road. The hills on Koh Phangan are crazy, and there was no need for throttle the entire way down to the 7/11. I made it! With both of us in tact! Woohoo! Probably due to my super duper over cautious nature when it comes to transport!

There was only one scooter available down at the 7/11, but it was a good one, with mirrors and everything!! So we signed up for it. The owner made it quite clear we were responsible for any damage and took us to examine the marks from previous accidents! The hire was only 4 quid a day and it is about the only way to get around the island, apart from jeeps which are also uninsured and I hate to imagine what you could be liable for if anything happened one of those! Anyway, Ste was going to ride our new scooter back, and I would just take Verity’s. But virtually the instant he fired it up and tried to apply the throttle, it shot forward, across the road and smashed into a pile of dry mud and rubble on the other side of the road! “BRAKE BRAKE” I shouted!! But it was too late. The scooter was on the floor with Ste underneath it. Shit, I thought, we are going to have to pay through the nose for this! Ste and scooter were already upright by the time I made it over. Initially I just thought it would be the bike that was damaged until I saw blood pouring from wounds on his hand, leg and foot. The owner obviously heard the commotion and was already crossing the road “Sorry” I said “He not know how to ride scooter, I think not a good idea now” She agreed “Yes, I think not good idea” another lady came rushing out with first aid and iodine to drop onto the wounds. “You must go doctor” she said.

Deep Scrape to the Palm...Eww

Deep Scrape to the Palm...Eww

Oozing Legs Scrape

Oozing Legs Scrape

Battered Foot

Battered Foot

Of course, Ste then had to examine all the damage to the right side of the scooter, while I played with some fat grunting pug dog in the reception. The damage came to 120 quid but the lady did it for half price because we didn’t argue about paying. I just sat there being glad that Ste evaded being hit by any oncoming traffic! “I like you” she said “I like, cause you no argue asking more and more discount from me when it not my bike but my boss, I don’t want you be upset” I was just thinking, fair enough, we trashed the bike. We can’t really argue with the fact that we trashed it!

We made a slow move back to the resort with Ste rather worse for wear, on the back of undamaged scooter. We bounced back down the dirt road to greet the others with “what is the worst scenario that you could imagine to have happened!” Everyone cringed at Ste hand and laughed at just how ridiculous it all sounded. “Enough action for one day” I insisted when Verity suggested I get a scooter and Ste sit on the back...”I’ve had it with scooters!!” It took a great deal of antiseptic, bandage and tape to dress all the wounds but there is no bandage large enough to restore his pride!

Wounded Soldier

Wounded Soldier

First Aid

First Aid

Posted by CarlaTracy 07:18 Archived in Thailand Tagged thailand island transport accident scooter injury koh_phangan Comments (1)

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