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Of rice and men

June 8, 2010

I’m done here, I’m both sad to say and slightly bitter.  I’d say I need to get away now before my unforgettable Ko Tao experience completely stagnates and leaves me with more of that bitterness.  Maybe that’s a little harsh but either way, today was the clear ending of one experience and now I’m in a bit of a limbo before the next one begins.  What I mean by all that is, probably my best mate in Thailand left for home today.  Luke, if you read this you’re equal parts Legend and crazy.  Best of luck mate.  Also, I’d just like to note that Luke left the island carrying enough weight to sink an iceberg and yet still in barefoot.  An islander to the end, eh?

That’s just it though, your experience really revolves around the people you spend it with.  The best days of Ko Tao, (peak season in the Winter when everyone was always earning money) we were enjoying the island to it’s fullest.  Friends become family, shitty bungalows become home sweet home and dive sites are as familiar as a backyard.  Something like ‘The summer that never ended’.  Or so we would have liked to believe.  Peak season ends, jobs become scarce.  Everyone talks about ‘Red Shirts” this and “volcano’ that and the island really seemed to take a turn for the worse.  Not only that but my dive gear was showing signs of wear, such as my torn fins and I’ve now witnessed coral bleaching occur before me.  Underneath Ko Tao, the corals are white.  So the wheels start to fall off a little bit and the ugliness of the island becomes a little more evident.  Time away from the shop and the water you start to reflect that maybe things weren’t so hot and that the people you’ve worked and are friends with suddenly seem more tainted and jaded.  Now that I feel I’ve come full circle on Ko Tao it seems that in the end, everyone leaves and you’re alone on Ko Tao.  Now admittedly, that’s bleak.  Ko Tao has changed very little, I’ve simply grown out of it.  And now that one of my good mates, whose own Ko Tao experience has in many ways mirrored my own, has left the island I have little reason to stay myself.  I could never forget to mention however, how much of a good friend Ashley has been.  Ashley, whom I’ve known most of my time on Ko Tao has always had my back and will be who I miss most when I leave myself.  Followed closely by Popeye.

So my remaining days on this little slice of paradise are close to an end.  My motorbike is going up for sale, I have some things to mail and things to simply make go away but then I’ll be off onto the final phase of my travels and the now highly appropriately named adventure, Bangkok Dangerous.  I’m through with diving, I can’t afford it anyway so I’m going to rural Thailand to do some volunteering.  The organization is called VolunThai (volunthai.com) and the plan is to do some informal English teaching.  The plan has been set in motion and I start when I sell my bike and get off the island.  The town is called Chaiyaphu but I’ll give you some more details when I’m sorted.  I’m really looking forward to it.  Vietnam was excellent in the sense I was in the middle of it all and none of this soft, tourist, ‘poor imitation of Western food’ crap.  I might actually learn some Thai while I’m at it.  It’ll be great to be working with locals.

I’m thinking more and more about home.  Not ready yet, but it’ll be great to see everyone when I do.  8 weeks exactly.

Sorry for the lack of steady photos but I’ve not been able to put any together lately.  Soon.

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3 Comments
  1. Wendy Vlasic permalink

    Don’t be sad, and don’t be bitter.
    You’ve kept us entertained and enlightened while you’ve been on this incredible journey. Your Bangkok Dangerous has been like a story to read…. always waiting for the next chapter to come out, we wait anxiously!
    Be safe in the rest of your travels and enjoy your time teaching English. I am certain that there are many friends and family counting down those 8 weeks until your return.
    Cheers,
    Wendy

    • Thanks for the cheers and the comments Wendy. I’m glad you guys are enjoying it. Happy reading!

  2. ditto for me. i’m looking forward to awesome tales of volunteer adventures. keep the words coming ben.

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