I had reached my toxic fill of fumes, noise pollution and harassement from tuk-tuk drivers…it was time to leave Bangkok. I checked out of the Metropolitan and I headed for the airport. Worrying about a thorough body search similar to touch down in Beijing, I passed through security in a new york second (lucky, as I arrived 40 minutes before the flight left…so someone was smiling down on me) and made my way 500 miles south of the capital to a chain of islands on the south-east side of the country.
Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui, Koh Pha’Ngan and Koh Tao was paradise if you loved secluded beaches, bungalows that opened up onto the surf, and reefs that gave the Great Barrier in Australia a run for the money. Not a huge enthusiast for scuba diving (I have a very pronounced fear of great whites and being eaten by one…this has manifested itself in the past 10 years..but a story for another time). These jungle oasis are not as popular as their brethren to the west (Krabi, Koh Phi Phi, Railay beach, etc) but were perfect for what I had in mind.
Touching down in a monsoon storm, I make my way up the jungle hillside to a shangri-la retreat called the Jungle Club. The french womand and thai man (owners who were great) need to work on their marketing as this name reminded me of some divvy beach bar in Cancun….but as I found out..this hotel was far from what the name implied to moi.
Tucked into the hillside and far away from the Chaweng Beach road and the tourist ghetto, this hotel offered serenity and tranquility for reading and writing. With a thatched bungalow to watch the geckos overhead, I hunkered down here for two days to wear out the storm. The infinity pool the literally poured over the mountside into the cove hundreds of meters below was breathtaking. I spent a night out doors on a thai styled bed, having drinks with a couple from Cologne, Germany and two Austrians. We covered the gamut, from Obama/McCain, to China’s evolution on the world stage, to the falling dollar.
Needless to say, after two days of rain the size of bananna trees and lightening that lit up my bungalow during odd hours of the late night, I was ready for a sunburn. I decided to make my way to an even more remote outpost further up along the island chain. I mean, here I was, in the jungle, with no A/C, no hot water, no roof (my thatched hut had a roof, but there was a gap on the sides to let the air pass through), i was sleeping in a mosquito net, yet my iPhone worked so I was able to update the world via Twitter! Technology…ceases to amaze.