Terrorising Thailand - End of Week 5

Brisbane Travel Blog

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The problem with reality is that it's real.

How much better would life be if you could literally fly away from all your problems, forget all your bills, enjoy uncomplicated relationships and eat whatever you want without getting fat. Oh, and have a magical flying unicorn called Bob.

For the most part, this is what I've experienced in the last five weeks.

Now obviously what I experienced was very real, and so by definition, must also be classified as 'reality.' And it's not like all of life's previous complications ceased to exist. I still had to pay bills while I was away - I just didn't think about it. Money and all other problems were no longer the centre of my universe, but rather a slightly irritating mosquito bite that occasionally needed scratching.

Then I came back home and that mosquito bite turned into a severe case of hives.

It's hard not to look back on the last five weeks without a desperate longing, quickly followed by misery when I realise I can never go back. Such is the uniqueness of travelling. It must always remain as that incredible time that brings a smile to your face (and a sharp pain to your liver), and it keeps its wonder mostly due to its stark comparison with the shithole you call everyday life.

If we didn't have the shitholes, we wouldn't have the wonder.

And the last five weeks were the most wonderful of my life.

When I left you last, I was starting my final week and preparing to leave for Krabi. Needless to say, the last week didn't disappoint with its plethora of absurd and embarrassing moments.

Mel and I spent all day making this seemingly simple trip from Ko Tao to Krabi. By the time we got on our last bus, 7 hours after we'd started, we were hungry, tired and grumpy - an unusual state of mind for me, I know.

This quickly became the bus trip to end all bus trips.

We sat at the back of the bus and soon realised we were surrounded by a loud, obnoxious and entirely crude bunch of backpackers, led unashamedly by two fellow Brisbane-dwellers, Kyle and Sam.

Keeping Australia proud.

Jack - a dopey-eyed and completely wasted English guy, and Alex - a loud, proud American (is there any other type?) rounded out this rowdy bunch.

A noisy group of backpackers is not such an unusual sight on a bus. What made this group unique was that somewhere in their minds it made sense to spend the bumpy, rocky, dangerous bus trip playing a highly potent drinking game called "Fuck the Dealer" (on the back of a guitar for lack of a table... of course).

Between these four and a couple of ring-ins (including our corruptible selves), we drank seven bottles of Thai whiskey.


Needless to say, after arousing the curiosity of the rest of the bus when we played truth or dare (everyone wants to know who's done anal and who's cheated on their partners with members of the same sex...), Mel and I emerged from the bus in Krabi with no idea where we were staying and no idea how Mel managed to swap shirts with Alex without causing a riot.

Krabi was a lovely, sleepy little town with lots of time to relax and shop. Mel and I decided to take a day trip to Ko Phi Phi, apparently one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

It really was gorgeous.

Unfortunately its beauty was somewhat tainted by a neck-knocking, bottom-bruising, tummy-turning speedboat ride from hell. I was so grateful to be standing on land and still breathing that I'm afraid I missed most of Phi Phi's wonders.

In between violent downpours, Mel and I decided to give rock climbing a go. We're pretty hard core. As someone who experiences a moderate amount of fear in relation to heights, I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly terrified. But being the new, highly-motivated, fear-confronting person I've become, I decided to meet this adventure head on. Or knees on as the giant blue marks on my legs would indicate.

My confidence was boosted significantly when I saw numerous young children, effortlessly scaling the heights as though descended from Spiderman.

If they can do it, I can, right?

I pull on my harness and shoes (safety equipment like padding and helmets were not deemed necessary here) and felt positive and strong. I eagerly anticipated my time to climb. Apparently I should have stuck to bad poetry...

My turn. I mount the cold rock, cleverly twisting and contorting myself over the initial difficult ridge. So far, so good. I climb higher, muscles straining against my tank top, sweat glistening on my newly tanned limbs, breathing fast in what is starting to sound like a really bad Mills and Boon novel.

I can assure you there is no need to fear that I have become some sort of romatnic lead. I soon shattered any suggestion of elegance when the fear hit and I started scrabbling at the rocks surface with nails that were far too long for my cliff-hanger aspirations. Then, despite the politness of my guide, I started screeching, "Where the f*ck do I put my hands? This bump does not count as a f*cking hand hold. I can't understand what you're f*cking saying!"

The monkey-children started crying at this point.

Nothing but calm classiness from me.

We also celebrated Franek's birthday while in Krabi (our Polish friend who has stalked us from Bangkok), joined by his friend Karolina - the most accident-prone girl I have ever met. Luckily, when she shoved her hand in a fan (I can't exactly remember why she was on the table), she only sliced a finger to the bone and partly severed a tendon. It could have been worse I suppose... We celebrated Franek's birthday with Polish vodka, sexually-explicit glasses, old men, dancing on tables and Burger King.

Oh, and Mel and I discovered true love... with each other.

It was beatiful really. It's amazing how ogling, sleazey Thai men can make two girls discover their inner feelings, encouraged enthusiastically by a dirty Polish guy. Yes, it may have started as a decoy to avoid the unwanted attention of persistent old men. But it soon became obvious what Mel's true feelings were.

It was this love that kept Mel by my side at our next and final stop. Phuket. We weren't that interested in Phuket, so we spent the day cruising, deciding to have one more high-flying night before coming home.

The reality is that it was probably one of my lowest points of the trip. And that's a big call.

The evening started innocently enough, sharing two buckets with an ignorant Lithuanian man. Then at a Thai disco we had two free shots. Then we started dancing on a podium... then things start to get a little hazy. Actually, I'll be honest. I have never been so drunk in all my life. I actually feel embarrassed looking back. I vaguely remember Mel half carrying me out of the club and somehow we ended up on a beach (either Mel has a secret teleporter or I have forgotten a significant chunk of the evening). I remember sitting on the beach, although Mel's mocking photos would suggest I took a more horizontal position. Somehow Mel got me home, admittedly after I revealed the contents of my stomach to the whole of Phuket. Twice.

I felt rather stupid the next day.

I felt even worse when I realised on the way home that those were the last photos we took on our trip.

"Hi Grandma - these are my photos of temples and tigers and mountains and trekking and this is me passed out on a beach in Phuket."


Then, after a final meal of processed cheese, chilli devon ham and pringles sandwiches, Mel and I left for Brisbane.

Even winning bag lotto (again - IN YOUR FACE MEL!) could not lift my spirits.

That's not to say I don't enjoy being home. I love seeing my beautiful family and friends. But there is an indescribable feeling of openness that possesses me when I travel.

I feel free.

Free from obligations, responsibilities and expecatations. Free from jobs, bills and money. Free from past and present relationships.

Free to spend the day sight seeing or not getting out of bed. Free to buy random, unnecessary things as long as I still don't go over my budget and it will fit into my already bulging bag. Free to become close to people for two days with a fierce intensity, sharing more with them than many back home, then moving on knowing full well you may never see them again but smiling anyway because the memories live on.

Free to be myself without fear of judgement or criticisms. Free to spread my wings and dive into the great unknown.

And now here I am, in bed at 9:30pm (dinner time for the last five weeks), knowing I have to teach a class of 14 year old boys about public speaking tomorrow. Back to being Miss Winter - and not in a slightly-inappropriate-teacher-fetish sort of way. Reality does hit hard.

But now I know that reality is only temporary - it is simply a means of achieving the amazing.

Bob and I are just waiting for opportunity to come a-knocking again.
kathski says:
Hey, loved your blogs!
I've just returned from south east asia and i have the exact same feelings your described here.. travelling is life.. being home feels like some sort of unfare slave world... yet this is what we have to do to be able to live, it really sucks arse!!
Good luck on the escape from the prison and living the real life with no responsibilities or worries!!
Posted on: Sep 02, 2008
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