After the rains
While we weren't expecting Ko Tao to be quite as built up as it was, we knew that Ko Samui
was going to be something more resembling a holiday resort than a backpackers' getaway. Indeed, we weren't to be disappointed. For the first time on our trip, we found ourselves more likely to come in contact with family holiday-makers from the UK than scruffy backpackers like ourselves. It meant prices were raised by about 30%, but meant that mininal effort had to be made to find a restaurant or somewhere to stay or whatever.
Once we stepped off the boat at Ko Samui, we were surprised to find out our ticket included transfers to our accommodation of choice. Unfortunately, once we arrived there, having not booked, we were told there was no room at the inn.
Hawker cutting us up some pineapple
Not too concerned, due to the amount of accommodation, we set off to find some more. At that point, we hit the mandatory early afternoon downpour and got soaked through. We found refuge in a thoroughly average restaurant where we had the embarrassment of being called back after we thought we had left enough money on the table to cover our meal, only to find that our maths didn't quite add up. Red-faced, we set off to find somewhere to hide.
We did find somewhere in the end; somewhere in dire need of a lick of paint. So I managed to haggle 100 baht a night off the 400 asking price and felt happy with that. Better weather followed the next day so we were able to spend a little time on the beach until the rains moved in in the afternoon. You don't get too much peace from the hawkers who pass by, trying to sell useful things such as fresh fruit and cold drinks to not-so-useful things (to me, anyway) such as hammocks and scarves and necklaces.
An early-morning dip
They think of anything they can to get money off of you, and this one woman thought she could do so by attacking my beautiful feet, saying they needed pumicing. Couldn't believe it, so ushered her away. Needless to say, the next time she came by, I hid in the sea. But it wasn't long before she caught up with me and I gave in to her demands, wriggling around like a snake - it really tickled - while I got my feet done like a girl.
Having chosen our accommodation at Hat Lamai, a quieter part of the island, we ventured to the main 'strip' of restaurants, bars and resorts in search of food. I get pretty annoyed at the fact that, despite Thai food being about a quarter of the price of Thai food in the UK, built-up places like the southern islands have about four or five times the amount of Western-style eateries than traditional Thai places.
"That's right, laugh. I've forgotten when I stopped caring."
It seems the supply has to meet the demands of the idiots. In fact, from experience, I would say you get a better meal if you go to one of the stalls that inhabit the side of the road, sit at their plastic tables, avoiding the flies that love anything sweet you might be enjoying, and get something there. That way, you get to see them making an awesome meal for half the price of eating in a restaurant and you get to buy a fresh-fruit shake from another stall, then finish it with a Nutella pancake for desert from another stall further down. Epic.
So, anyway, we spent about an hour trying to avoid the pizza places, European-style restaurants and greasy-spoon cafes to find somewhere worth eating. Although, as it happens, this was one time that we - well, Kyle - may wish we hadn't found one.
I had said we should try something more adventurous from the menu, having exhausted Thai curries and Pad Thai lately. I hid from my suggestion, ordering a curry, but she obliged, choosing a cripsy fish salad. It was the worst meal either of us have ordered in the four months we've been away, and maybe the worst meal ever in the history of the world. I think I'd rather eat sand. It was like fish skin and bones in a horrible crunchy batter with a few vegetables mixed in. I don't often turn down food offered to me, but this was just too gross. She ended up trying to hide it in the leftover sauce from my curry. But mango and sticky rice from one of the food stalls down the road helped ease the pain.