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Happy New Year!

December 31, 2009

Happy 2010 everyone!

Things are getting quite unruly here on the island as cans of silly string, spray paint and giant fire crackers flood into the night street.  Not to mention the island is bursting with booze, rowdy Farang and Thai RedBull, tonight is an event to behold – and fear.  Mind you, nothing compared to the epic going down at Ko Pha Ngan.  Not only is it their famed Full Moon Party, but it’s New Years Banging Eve.  I hear admission this year was a thousand baht, but includes something ridiculous like three full days of bass driven techno + remix.  It’s the global Gong Show of New Years Eve – this much is certain.  I pity myself when I consider right now it’s about 8:45pm and I’m arguing with myself that it’s not OK to go to 7-11 for a cold drink and then to bed.  I’m probably going to ring in the New Year with some mates at the quite French shop I first worked at when I arrived on the island.  A load of bar-top dancing hooligans they are, whose tenacity to have a good time is matched only by the fearlessness of those who participate.

I was hassled by the man just the other day.  Two days ago I came upon a rather rag-tag RIDE program of sorts, who were profiling all the Westerners who passed by.  I got asked to get off my bike and put my hands on the hood of the pick-up while I got patted down and had my pockets emptied.  They were looking for drugs, this much was certain but what they really wanted was an excuse to lift a bribe.  I’m sure of it, because cops don’t typically reek of whiskey at 3 in the afternoon, right?.  It wasn’t exactly a precise venture either – it must have been laundry day because a couple of them wore shirts that said NYPD, among other things.  But a gun is a gun, and obviously they went to enough trouble to decal POLICE on the side of their truck so what are you really gonna do about it?

I swam with Bull Sharks yesterday.  And when you feel the narcosis creep up on you when you’re diving at 33 meters, it’s a pretty unnerving experience.  I loved every minute of it.  I can’t remember the last time I wanted something so badly to come closer and yet at the same time ‘that’s plenty close, thanks’.  Bull sharks can be quite aggressive and they do have a bit of a history with humans, but never anything at Ko Tao and so long as you’re not an antagonizing pest.  I hope to come across many more.  This case, I was leading a narcosis activity during a deep dive.  Narcosis, by the way is short for Nitrogen Narcosis.  Lovingly referred to as being ‘narked’; Rapture of the Deep; Poseidon’s Martini; 7 minutes in heaven; the After Hours Clinic; Lucy in the Sea with Diamonds; etc. (One or more of those names might have been made up but theme is all the same).  Nitrogen has an intoxicating affect when breathed under great pressure.  In order to demonstrate this affect the student performs a dexterity or intelligence based activity at the surface and is timed.  The same activity is then performed and timed at depth and the differences are noted.  When Bull sharks arrive on the scene, however, everything goes awry.  It’s like trying to make teams at recess and then a fire truck screams into the parking lot.  Nothing gets done until the fire trucks leave and then everyone will talk about it all day long anyway.  And to introduce narcosis to this flavorful metaphor, imagine all the school kids hyped up on Kool-aid and high carb pizza crusts on a Friday afternoon, when a fire truck screams into the parking lot.  You now have a sweet deep dive exercise on Ko Tao.

This post’s random pic is. . .

Thanks for keeping up, everyone and have a happy New Years!

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4 Comments
  1. Wendy Vlasic permalink

    Happy New Year to you too Ben. Stay safe!!

  2. jenny mook-sang permalink

    enjoying your posts ben.

  3. Hey Doc Ben,

    really nice reading here! Can you send me your email
    cause my book you wrote yours in is gone – a dog ate it!
    really! no homework excuse… on koh phangan, after
    we sank with a kayak! Also true 🙂 Hope to see you
    again…

    • Hey man, good to hear from you. How’d the rock climbing go?

      That sucks about your book – and after so much time drawing a maple leaf!
      My email is ben_tolton@hotmail.com
      Hope all is well and say hi to (babel?)

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