One more week has passed. 4 hours by bus and 3 hours by ferry got us from Krabi to a small island in the north, Koh Tao. With more than 50 dive shops on this little island, the pier was the most crowded one I have seen so far. But less than an hour was enough for everyone to spread out, and the pier had its peaceful view again.
After that long trip, it was the time to feed the screaming stomach. A cheeseburger was what I needed after eating all kinds of Thai food. Food poisoning was the last thing I expected to get on the only time I decided to eat something I’m used to. That night, I had to clean out everything I had in me. Luckily, I didn’t have much pain, one day was enough to recover, and all I had to deal with was a lack of appetite and dizziness.
Now, I was ready to get back in the water and finish my scuba diving course! It was one of the greatest experiences I have ever had, with an amazing 22-year- old instructor, Diego, from Chile. 2 days later, I had my SSI certification card in hand 🙂
Diving wasn’t my only new experience on this small island. Since taxis are not a “cheap” or efficient way to move around, I had to ride a motorbike for the first time ever! (with no license of course) The experience felt like it was straight out of a movie (oh, don’t tell my mom though!).
I can’t describe in words how much breathtaking scenery this place has on offer. You would spend hours sitting on Freedom Beach or on the viewpoint next to it, lost within your thoughts as you see the island floating in the middle of the endless blue ocean.
Koh Phangan was our next stop. With such amazing nature, it was an unforgettable bike ride! Yet another breathtaking view, where the sky merges with the water on the horizon.
It was Oct 17th, when everybody was supposed to lose their mind in a crazy full-moon party on Haad Rin Nok (the full moon party beach). But since the king of Thailand had passed away a week ago, no music was allowed. The loud crazy party turned out to be a silent and bleak rainy night without even the “full-moon” visible in the sky.
Two days later we moved to Surat Thani to catch a flight to Bangkok, and after we dropped off our bags, we took a taxi to the center. There we found ourselves in the middle of Chak Phra festival (Pulling the Buddha), which symbolizes the Buddha’s return to earth after he spent a monsoon season preaching to his mother in heaven. On the Tapi River, tugboats pull the town’s principal Buddha image on a raft decorated with huge nagas. On land, sleigh-like floats bearing Buddha images and colourful flags and parasols are hauled across the countryside and through the streets. The monks have been confined to their monasteries for three months, and the end of Lent is also the time to give them generous offerings. This happens through the kathin ceremony, of which Surat Thani has its own version, called Thot Pha Pa, when the offerings are hung before dawn on tree branches planted in front of their houses. Longboat races, between teams from all over the south, are also held during the festival.
It was an amazing two weeks in Thailand. All I see here is humble people wearing honest pure smiles, which force you to smile back. They are ready to help even without been asked, like that old lady at the pier that helps people with their luggage tags while selling drinks and some snacks. And after the ferry leaves, she walks around to gather the trash the “modern world” has left behind. It’s fascinating how people here care about their environment, how they respect all forms of life. Here, I don’t see humans, I see humanity! So when you get here, take off your fancy clothes, put on your shorts and flip-flop and let yourself melt into it all.
A couple of hours ago I landed in Chiang Mai to join Hacker Paradise for a month. I am excited to meet new friends, to hear their stories, and to see their projects! It’s a new adventure chapter in this journey, so let’s get some work done!
Stay Hungry, Never Settle!
(But don’t eat the cheeseburgers!)