Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Day 95- So The Masseuse Touched My Twig And Berries. Did I Mention They Were A Ladyboy?

Sadly our vacation was coming to a close.  We only had one destination left, Hong Kong, where we would only be spending a couple of nights (travel dates were changed due to poor planning on our part) before flying back to Canada and the reality that awaited us there (see: work and cold weather).  On a much more awesome note, while we were in Hong Kong, Colleen and I were going to go to Disneyland the next day and behave like a couple of children!

Our flight to Hong Kong was not scheduled to leave Koh Samui until 5pm,so we had one last day in the tropical expanse known as Thailand.  After loitering in our room and its air conditioning for as long as possible, we eventually caught the shuttle bus into town where we made it our mission to spend the remaining bit of Thai currency that we had.  Being the foodies that we are, McDonald's was naturally our first stop of the day for some of that fine local fare. 

While Mickey D's is usually a pretty safe bet, the same could not be said for our second stop of the day.  Although I am not a huge man of massages, Colleen somehow convinced me that we should get one last massage before leaving the island.  And as you all know, I am a big practitioner of the "happy wife, happy life" philosophy.  So with that, we found the classiest/most reputable looking place we came across and sauntered in and signed up for some oil massages.  It was one of the bigger massage parlors in the area (do they call them parlors, or is that only for rub and tugs?) so it seemed like a safe bet.  Boy were we wrong!  Next thing I knew, Colleen and I were being led upstairs to our own private curtained-off area with our two masseuses.  There was only slight masseuse was not a chick, or even a dude for that matter: it was a ladyboy!  Kind of fitting on my last day in Thailand don't you think?  Colleen could not stop giggling, while I was not sure whether to laugh myself or run out of the building.  Never being one to want to offend people, the next thing I knew I was following the instructions of my large-handed, and we shall assume well-endowed massage expert and was stripping down to my boxers.  Mother of God.  As I laid down I tried to relax, but the truth is I could not stop laughing to myself.  Here I was 95% naked getting oiled up by someone with gender identification issues while my girlfriend was laying on a bed beside me smirking and giggling at my discomfort.  As the massage progressed, so too did the relationship between his/her hands and my body.  Next thing I knew, my upper thighs were getting oiled up and the hands were slowing getting conspicuously close to my genital region.  I'm not going to lie: there was some definite finger-to-ball grazing going on, but at this point I was in too deep (pun fully intended)!  They say massages are supposed to be a relaxing experience...I can assure you this was not!  Since I am clearly a sucker for punishment, we realized we didn't have any small bills to tip the masseuses and trying to ask someone to make change for you who doesn't speak any English is next to impossible.  So we had to go to a shop down the road to break our bill so that we could come back and tip my burly provider of pleasure.  I guess I just couldn't stay away from those magic hands!

Once we dropped the last bit of our money on some ice cream cones, we hopped in a cab to the airport for our impending flight to Hong Kong.  Koh Samui Airport is actually rated as one of the top ten airports in the world.  It has a beautiful open-air concept and is a truly "tropical" airport.  Despite its superior ranking, we were informed that our flight had been delayed.  Due to the setback, we were each given a voucher that we could use in the airport shops for either food or a massage.  I will let you guess which one Colleen and I opted for!  After killing as much time as we could we headed to the boarding gate, only to be greeted by even more delays.  Again though, the Koh Samui Airport stepped up and kept the grumpy passengers happy with free snack food and refreshments. 

Following multiple postponements, our flight did eventually depart and we touched down in Hong Kong shortly after midnight.  We grabbed a cab to the Panda Hotel (yes, that was the real name) and seemingly passed an endless supply of skyscrapers along the way.  I knew Hong Kong was densely packed, but it is truly the definition of a concrete jungle.  Since WiFi was atrociously priced at $15 a day in our hotel, we ventured out into the Hong Kong night in search of a McDonald'/free WiFi, because let's be real, everyone needs to visit McDonald's three times a day. Am I right?


The beauty that is Hong Kong.

Pack'em in as tight as you can!

Well at least there's no snow.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Day 94- My Girlfriend Sleeps In A Bug Net In Hotel Rooms. I Say No More.

Now that Colleen had gotten her diving fix, we were safe to leave Koh Tao.  Actually, I would stay there forever but alas, we had to travel onwards.  We were catching a ferry to one of the neighboring islands, Koh Samui, as we had booked a flight from there to Hong Kong the following afternoon.  In true Thai fashion, one of the two ferries that operates between Koh Tao and Koh Samui was out of commission for the day, so there was only a 3pm ferry.  Due to the sweltering heat and our extreme whiteness, Colleen and I passed the time before our boat ride by bouncing between various restaurants in an attempt to stay out of the sun and consume as many refreshing drinks as possible.  There would be many things I was going to miss about Thailand (cheap beer, great weather, etc.), but riding on their ferries was not one of these things!

With the final ferry ride of our vacation behind us, we headed to our hotel for our last night in Thailand.  We were staying at what appeared to be a beautiful beachside hotel, the Impiana Chaweng.  The lobby, pool, and beachside dining all looked spectacular, but unfortunately for us when we went to check-in we were told our room was not yet ready as it was "under repair".  I can only imagine.  For our troubles we were given a four course Thai meal that consisted of lots of nasty shit like fish soup, random shellfish and other stuff that had probably just washed up on shore that week.  Even the ice cream they gave us for dessert sucked!  After dinner we were given the keys to our "repaired" room, although it was a safe assumption that they had spent the entire renovation budget on making the lobby nice.  The room was dated, dirty, and had a solid collection of Colleen's favorite...flying insects!

Seeing as how it was our last night in Thailand for the foreseeable future, we decided to catch the 10pm shuttle bus into Chaweng Beach, the main shopping and nightlife area on the island.  Since our complimentary dinner earlier was not to our liking, we had a second dinner consisting of some good old-fashioned Thai pizza!  Since we were leaving tomorrow we did our best to rid ourselves of some of our Thai currency by purchasing useless souvenirs.  Colleen then retreated to the salon for one last budget manicure.  While she entertained herself by getting her nails done, I decided to just go for a walk around the area by myself.  I quickly discovered that as a white male this was a terrible idea, as I was constantly being harassed by ladyboy hookers, Russian hookers, and regular female Thai hookers!  If you love paying for sex, then Chaweng Beach is the place for you people!  Eventually I just gave up on my exploration and went back to the salon where Colleen was and waited outside.  As she was finishing up the power went out in the entire area.  Just a random observation, but if you ever have the opportunity to be in a bar/club district while the power goes out, take it!  It was really surreal to see.  Kind of eerie actually.

Once power was restored and Colleen was prettied up, we headed across the street to some little bar called Legends.  I figure with a name like that you can't go wrong.  My final cheap beers in Thailand tasted just as good as the first ones, and I am sure I will be back; one day. 

Back at the hotel, Colleen was still petrified about the fact that there were a few bugs in our room earlier (pretty sure they were all dead now) and she thus decided to sleep in a bug net.  Yes, my girlfriend sleeps in a bug net in hotel rooms.  Paranoid? Just a little.  But hey, we've all got our quirks!
Colleen protecting herself from the non-existent critters in our room inside her bug net!

Tomorrow we were venturing on to the last leg of our trip, two nights in Hong Kong, before flying back to Canada.


Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 93- I Need To Work On My Disguise Skills.

With Colleen out on her final diving expedition, I was left yet again on my own to try and entertain myself.  Shockingly, I actually managed to get up before 9:30am, which for me with no real commitments is a minor miracle.  After attacking the breakfast buffet solo, I decided the punishing walk I had subjected myself to the previous day was not torturous enough and I thus ventured out on another solo hike.  This time I opted to head north instead of south and made my way up to the Nang Yuan lookout.  All-in-all it was an  hour and a half round trip, and like my previous trip it was full of perspiration and panting galore.  It was a solid reminder of why all the smart people were driving mopeds, and only IDIOTS(!) like myself would dare to walk such hilly routes in these extreme temperatures. 

Around lunch time I headed up to the Roctopus headquarters to round up my amphibious girlfriend.  This turned in to me sitting around for over an hour waiting for her as their dive boat was having technical difficulties.  When she finally did show up, we celebrated the fact that she had not drowned by having one last lunch at the adjoining restaurant, Mint Kitchen.  While I'm sure Colleen was going to miss the diving when we departed Koh Tao the next day, I was going to miss the deep fried chicken with cashew nut that they served there.  I'm not a huge Thai food fan, but this shit was Deadly.  And yes, that is deadly with a capital "D". 

The end of diving...and underwater selfies.

That afternoon we met up with Colleen's friend Ashley from Kamloops and her boyfriend Joel.  Since Colleen and I are both gluttons we decided to go out for a second lunch with them complimented by some adult beverages.  By this point in the day I was already starting to reach my "outdoor quota" and after our second lunch we retreated back to the hotel to enjoy the splendors of air conditioning before our final night on this beautiful island.

Once we gathered ourselves and decided we had abused our air conditioning enough, Colleen and I sauntered down to Chopper's for the last time.  It was a safe assumption that it was going to win the award on our vacation for the "most visited bar".  It would probably win in a landslide come to think of it.  After meeting up with our old buddy Prat, and Ashley and Joel, it was time to take advantage of the two-for-one beers and two-for-one daiquiris.  My father always told me that half price beers taste twice as good; and I can't say I can argue with him on this point.  Shortly thereafter we said our teary goodbyes to Prat and headed out into the night with Ashley and Joel.

Before we checked out the nightlife, I got Ashley to take us by their accommodations to show Colleen the kind of places I had thought we would be staying when we first landed in Bangkok a couple of months ago.  For 300 baht a night ($10 Canadian) they had a private room.  Mind you, they had a shared bathroom, no A/C, a mattress on the floor, no TV and probably an assortment of creepy crawlers; but hey it was 1/10th the price of what we were paying!  Needless to say the words "budget accommodations" are not a part of Colleen's vocabulary. 

After our sightseeing of how "real backpackers" travel, the four of us decided to do a tour of some of the local beach bars.  A couple of the places were offering promotions like "ladies night" and "one free drink".  Wisely, Colleen and Ashley were able to exploit one of the bars' "one free drink ticket per customer" policy by reentering the bar a second time with disguises on.  And by disguises I mean they slightly altered their hairstyles.  But hey, whatever works.  Not surprisingly, this same strategy did not bode so well for Joel and I, and alas the men were made to pay for their drinks.

 On our way back to our hotel we stopped and had what would probably be our last "street pancakes" of our vacation and some pad Thai.  On an unrelated note: we also saw a dude almost get run over by a moped.  While we were walking home, a heavily intoxicated guy on a scooter hit the guy walking in front of us on the footpath and proceeded to just keep driving.  I'm not sure what the drinking and driving mopeds on pedestrian walkways law is, but I'm sure it can't be legal!