Sunday, October 23, 2005

October 17: Ko Samui

(1) Feeling much better, but still not 100 percent, I decided I was healthy enough to rent motorbikes with the other American kid - a harmless redneck from South Carolina. We stopped, first, at a rather non-descript temple off the side of the road past Lamai Beach. Walking down toward the water from the Wat, we stumbled upon this little girl and her cat. She was just hanging out in this outdoor workshop among hundreds of monuments and statues being poured into casts, and happily allowed me to take her photograph.

(2) Our next destination was the Wang Sao Thong Waterfalls. Hiking in and about was mildly difficult at times, but overall it was a pleasant stroll through the jungle with a few natural points of interest. Hanging out on the beach all day, it was easy to forget that we were only spending our time on the very outskirts of this lush, tropical island. There was so much more to experience on Samui for the traveler who takes it upon himself to explore the areas outside Chaweng and Lamai Beach. Of course, I had my excuse... the dreaded street meat.

(3) On the return trip to Chaweng, we pulled over at another non-descript temple. Really, it's like visitng cathedrals and art galleries in Europe. After a while, the temples all start to look the same. However, at this particular Wat, we met a rather talkative Monk who encouraged us to hang out with him for a bit. In the end, he gave us bracelets and suggested that we take a few photographs. The (ahem) donation box is just outside the left edge of the photograph.

(4) Our last little visit on this motorbike journey was at a coastal land formation known simply as The Rocks. Locally famous for the two stone formations resembling male and female genitalia, most visitors walk away from The Rocks with a fancy postcard depicting this overwhelming proof that God has a warped sense of humor. I didn't need to buy a postcard because I have the brain of an eight-year-old and am quite capable of creating my own amusement. Very mature.

(5) Later that evening, feeling much better after another meal at the popular Ninja Crepes restuarant, I walked down the main strip looking for some nightlife. Just when you can't stomach any more Soi Green Mango (one night will do, thanks), you can always walk across the street and have a drink with Divas in Concert! Your best bet, however, is to venture over to Ark Bar, where Samui's most fun and relaxing nightlife takes place along the beach. Ark Bar is found among a gaggle of restaurants, resorts, and bars that provide comfortable mats and axe pillows on the sand for visitors to enjoy while they chill out next to the water. It was here that I ended up meeting some great travelers, played some pool late into the night, and avoided the annoyance of Samui's sex tourism.

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