Thursday 30 October 2008

Samui - The deranged journey

Dodgy phone

It all started off so innocently. It was about 2100 Thursday night and I tried to phone home. However, all my contact numbers were stored on my wrecked phone and not my SIM card. Disaster! I had no means of touching base. I decided to go for a late night walk and try to figure out what to do next. I walked past my Thai neighbours who were sitting on their motorbikes drinking large bottles of Chang beer. They invited me to sit with them. I sat, but declined the beer, for about half an hour. They were playing Thai folk music and one guy even played a mouth harmonica while he expertly strummed his guitar. I sat mesmerised as they all sang in unison. It was great in the stillness of the coconut grove opposite our homes.


Since I'm a Falang they tried out a Western song. I had to sing Hotel California to their backing music. I really enjoyed it and felt no embarrassment. I went off to buy another couple bottles of beer for us to share. Then a young lass turned up at about 2330. She turned 17 at midnight and we all decided to go to her Mother's bar to celebrate. We shared a couple small bottles of Thai whiskey.


It was here I met possibly the craziest man I've ever met. He's 33 from Wales. I'll call him Taff for authenticity. He said he lived on Samui and was waiting for the 0600 ferry back. He'd come here to buy skunk! He was drinking heavily and frequently smoking joints. I said I'd wait with him until 0600 provided he dropped me off at home. He agreed and we carried on drinking. As it approached 0530 we headed to my house before he went to catch his ferry back to Samui.

However, as I got off his motorbike he shouted in his Welsh accent:

"Aaaahhhh fuck it Steve, just come to Samui with me. You can stay in my house with a pool and everything. You can come back tomorrow"

"Areet then, soonds canny" I agreed without giving it much thought in my drunken haze.


We drove onto the ferry where he proceeded to buy two cans of Chang each for the one hour journey. We were already smashed! We got off the ferry in Na Thon, Samui's main town and headed for some food. Here I fell off the motorbike and was dragged along the road for a while before he realised. My body is still covered in cuts and bruises as a result. I also lost my flip-flops - again! Since I was steaming I wasn't too bothered and we headed to a restaurant. He ordered five dishes and fell asleep. I fell asleep in the restaurant too. It was dark when we woke. We both didn't know where we were or what time/day it was. We established it was 1900 Friday night.

We drove to his house via 7-11 where we purchased whiskey, chang and rolling papers for his joints. We'd barely sobered up before hitting the drink again. I even started smoking his joints with him which is something I just don't do! We swam, pissed and stoned, in his house's small pool.


Waking up Saturday morning with a head like Birkenhead, Taff said he had to go to Chaweng Beach to see a Thai friend about procuring some magic mushrooms. I said I didn't fancy going since I felt like shite. He promised me it was only five minutes away. Lying bugger. One hour later we arrived. We sat on the beach for a while where I bumped into one of the lasses from Pha Ngan. She was sunbathing (a Thai sunbathing? Don't see that often) with her little daughter. He spoke to his drug dealer while I chatted with a Taiwanese lad. I've forgotten a lot of Chinese now. Once everything was arranged we headed back to Na Thon.


Here we bought some Valium. 10 little green tablets for 150bt. I'd never seen them before let alone taken them. I took 2 and he took 8! We returned to his house where I slept for four hours. I guess valium makes you sleep then? When I woke we continued drinking and smoking pot. He smokes them like cigarettes! On Sunday, Taff's drug dealer Thai mate delivered the mushrooms. Taff promptly prepared them and insisted I have some too. I was a little wary but took them anyway.


What happened next is pretty difficult to describe. For three hours I was absolutely out of it. My hands clenched up into lobster claws. I didn't even know if my eyes were open or not. I didn't know if I was in a dream or not. There was no question of recognising reality. I was fucked! Truly fucked! The worse of it was that I felt like a paraplegic the whole time. I even pissed myself! I couldn't even walk to the toilet. There was no alcohol involved - only mushrooms. As we came down we smoked spliffs and drank Chang until 0800 Monday morning talking about how we had just been to space. Worryingly, Taff mentioned two people have died this year doing these mushrooms! He was a little concerned about me when my hands clenched up and I couldn't move.

Back home

Monday night I caught the ferry back to Pha Ngan wearing the same clothes (minus shoes) that I arrived with Friday morning. I'd washed them though! I was covered in cuts and bruises and reflecting on the most messed up few days of my life. I badly needed a shave. I never do drugs so this makes it all the more bizarre. Also I didn't eat a thing for two days!

To sum up I went to Samui for four days on a drink/drug crazed frenzy! I crashed motorbikes and lost clothes. Pretty crazy. I won't be doing that again! I can't believe people like Taff can live their entire lives like this. I merely dipped my toe into this mad world. For him, it is his world. Skunk, valium, magic mushrooms, chang, whiskey - Jeez!

Anyway, I got back home and people had been concerned about me. I reassured them I was OK. I shaved, changed, ate, had an early night and feel human again. I bought a cheap new mobile and contacted home. I regret this small period of my life a little but I genuinely believe Taff was trying to help me forget my family problems back home. He's actually a very nice bloke.

I remain unconvinced that this is the way to deal with traumatic events in your life though.

Kafe Ron - Hot coffee.

PS. £1 = 53baht. What's going on? This is killing me. Three weeks ago it was 61baht.

PPS. Sunderland 2 - 1 Newcastle! Is there any good news out there at all?


Everyday someone approaches and says something along the lines of:

"Where have you been? We thought you were dead! What have you done to yourself?" looking at the state of my legs, arms and shoulders.

"I got lost on Samui with no phone etc. and that I'm OK yada yada."

"You should see a doctor."

"No way, I've sensibly got no insurance."


This has prompted me to make some decisions. I've decided to get off Ko Pha Ngan next week just before my rent expires. Nothing but bad things have happened to me the whole time I've been here. So, next week I'll go to Bangkok via Ko Tao and Chumpon. I'm thinking of trying to find a teaching job again.


I've avoided booze this week and even read a couple of books in an attempt to lead a more normal life. I've overspent so need a quiet week to get my budget back on track. This overspend is mainly due to the pound's slide against most Asian currencies. The UK economy is looking a little screwed up from my perspective. 1000bt used to be £15. Now 1000bt = £18.60. Quite a difference I think you'd agree.

It'll be hard to leave Ko Pha Ngan feels like a little family to me now. I know many people. Perhaps one day I can come back to see them. I feel the need for some planning and direction in my life. I like not known what's coming next but presently it feels a little tiresome. A job will give me a little structure (and cash) to anchor me down a bit.


My next aim is to quit smoking again. After 37 days smoking in Thailand I have to climb the addiction hill again. I think of Malaysia and my alcohol/nicotine abstinence and long for those healthy cigarette-free days. But, Thailand is a party country and it's really difficult to resist indulging yourself.


I have just had an email from a large oil company who are interested in employing me as an engineer. It looks very lucrative so I pray the recruiters never read this blog! I might end up crewing a small yacht also next year. Who knows? First I will look at teaching until the end if the year. The running a bar dream was exactly that - a dream! I couldn't see myself spending night after night in a bar! I did look at a few and nearly went for it but I've no experience and, in the end, just didn't fancy it.

Ratree Sawad - Nighty night

Pum Hew - I'm hungry

Pum em - I'm full

Tammai - Why

Potwa - Because

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