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One Foot Off the Merry-Go-Round

Flooding and Fire

THAILAND | Monday, 24 October 2011 | Views [484] | Comments [1]

   It has been raining every day here for the past five days or so. It usually starts in the early morning and goes off and on through the early afternoon. One of the small cats that lives at Seaview always manages to find its way into our room when the rain starts and curls up at the edge of our bed- we don’t mind a bit. It is an amazing view from the balcony at Seaview to watch the storms moving in. After the rain, we’ll typically venture into town on our motorbike and the sweet smells of honey and melon hit our noses as we pass by exotic flowers and fruit plants. We are loving the rain.    

   However, it’s hard not to think of all the people in the northern and central regions of Thailand who must want nothing more than the rain to stop. October is apparently the peak season for flooding in Thailand, but seasonal monsoons came more than a month early and have lasted longer than usual. The news today is that close to 400 people have died and more than 110,000 have been displaced (that’s since flooding began in July)… 700,000 people have been temporarily put out of work. In Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s weekly radio address Saturday, he said the water will recede during the next four to six weeks. I was just told by another guest here at Seaview that the only way to get to Bangkok right now is via plane. You can’t take the bus or any car because of the water and because many locals parked their cars on the expressways—to avoid them from being swept away—and as a result, it’s quite a tight squeeze. The plan for us was to go to Chiang Mai from Koh Tao, but I think our next stop will be Cambodia.

   Our days here lately have been filled with snorkeling, hiking and relaxing (of course). We have made some friends who are also “long timers” here at Seaview and they have convinced us to get certified for open water diving. It’s a 3 and ½ day course—and with their help, we will get a major discount on the cost. Our friends have either become master divers or are working towards that—which is much more time consuming (6 months) and expensive. The other night, there was a celebration for our friend Lee’s achievement in becoming a master diver—put on by his diving school/instructors. At this particular school, they celebrate that success by a final “snorkel test”. They black out the mask of your snorkel, then fix a bucket filled with god knows what…. liquor mainly, but unfortunately, other things as well… and they pour the bucket of goodies into the snorkel of the poor soul who is then forced to drink it. It’s all in good fun though and Lee was fine… depending on how you define “fine”. The party was so much fun… fire dancers were the entertainment for the evening and wow were they amazing! One of them came over to our group and decided it would be a brilliant idea to give me a fire “halo”… it’s exactly what you envision… he encircled my head with a ring of fire for about 20 seconds too long. But to be honest, I didn’t even notice it at first. All of a sudden, everyone was looking at me, I thought for a second, “wow— my tan must really be doing wonders for my complexion.” But then I felt the heat and looked up. It wasn’t my tan… it was the fire flying above my head. Nice! Travis even worked up enough courage to jump rope… with fire. He did great and didn’t miss a beat—unlike the people who tried it after drinking too much… a real train wreck you just couldn’t look away from. These folks were relentless… after jumping and getting their feet tangled in the fiery rope, they would unwind themselves, then try again… fall on the rope… then try again and on and on. The next morning while strolling along the beach, it was hard to miss the people with burns and red welts all over their bodies… then you make eye contact and there’s a mutual understanding and a sympathetic nod for what we all know they tried to attempt and failed at so painfully the night before. 

     Koh Tao primarily consists of three main villages: Mae Haad, Sairee and Chalok. The island is split into five quadrants that are “run” by five separate families… and I think it best that that’s all I’ll say about the families.

  It is incredible here and I understand why people come for a week and stay for a month or six or forever. Our minds are made up that we must go to Cambodia, so we will be leaving, but I’m not promising we won’t be back.

New pictures to come.




Hi Christa! Finally got your a chance to read about your adventures. Sounds wonderful! Love the pictures. Not sure if you ever contacted Alicia but Chang Mai is where she lived for a year. Sounds like you two are having an amazing trip and meeting some great wonderful people. Take care and think of us once in awhile. Lynn

  Lynn Nov 7, 2011 3:53 AM

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