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Pass the Bug Spray, Pronto!

THAILAND | Wednesday, 25 March 2009 | Views [861]

Thursday, March 12th was my first introduction to the breathtaking beaches of Southeast Thailand. Welcome to Ko Samui. The view out the window from the airplane was like flying into a dream land. I had been surrounded by noise and pollution for two weeks and couldn't wait to relax in paradise.

Once I made my way into town, I met up with Hannah and Molly, the dynamic duo from Portland. As mentioned in my past entries, I had planned on exploring SE Asia on my own, but once I found out that the ladies were on the same course, I jumped at the opportunity to explore with them. And what a treat. They are two of the most easy-going gals with a strong sense of adventure and always up for a good laugh.

They introduced me to my first island sunset. Although we were situated on the east side of the country, we still had a spectacular view of the bright yellows and purples meshing together above us. The ocean was calm and the sand under our feet was warm. It was picture perfect, until I felt a little prick on the back of my left arm. I had just been kissed by a mosquito.

I immediately whipped out my 50% Deet bug spray and showered myself with the toxic fumes. I escaped with a mild bite which was a constant reminder to apply the protective layer of Deet every evening before sunset. I never have to worry about "messie bites" back at home, but here, messies see everybody as dinner.

Random Messie Fact (according to a traveler from the UK I met in Bangkok): Consuming a shot or two of Jose Cuervo will decrease your chances of being bit. Apparently, the yellow substance in the tequila doesn't appeal to the messies. I haven’t tested this theory since tequila is not the beverage of choice around these parts, but I will open this challenge up to any of you and would love some feedback on your results. 

The first night in Ko Samui was very chill. No drunken dance parties, no random encounters with foreigners, the three of us just wanted to sleep. And so we did. I was more concerned about waking up to run then waking up with a massive hang over.

My early morning run was glorious, but painful. It had been over a week since my last run, and the heat wasn't very forgiving. I ran directly to the beach, slowed my pace a little so I could actually enjoy the scenery and prevent fatigue. Samui was just waking up, so the beach was rather peaceful. Umbrellas were slowing popping up along the shoreline, couples were walking hand in hand on their early morning walks before breakfast, and vendors were slowly setting up shop in preparation for influx of tourists. The one thing I didn't prepare myself to see were other health-conscience/active travelers. A handful of these men were fit, but they covered themselves modestly so it wasn't as easy to define. The other bunch, well...let's just say they weren't bashful at all. Men in their 50's wearing nothing but brightly-colored Speedos were running, shuffling or grave-vining past me. I understand that this is common and accepted everywhere, except in the states, but it's something I had to point out.

The real highlight of my morning jog was a pleasant surprise. As I was running past one of the fancy beach-side resorts, I looked over to my right to find a girl trying to catch up with me. She was just inches away and it startled me...until I realized that it was my friend Franzie from the hostel in Bangkok! She had been enjoying her luxurious breakfast poolside and caught a glimpse of me running 50 feet away. I couldn't believe it! We caught up for a while and planned to meet later on that day before she went back home to Germany. It's absolutely crazy how things like this happen when you're traveling. This goes to prove that this world is itty bitty and there's always such a thing of being in the right place at the right time.

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