February 16, 2023
Another difficult start to the day. Today is a travel day involving boats, taxis, planes and trains. I wish I felt better.
Packed everything up and ate a little breakfast. Rode my scooter down to the pier where I returned it to the owner. On my way here, I found myself driving behind a small, classic Porche with Thai plates and 3 non-Thais. I wondered how and why someone got such a classic car onto this island. I also accidentally held my finger on the horn a little too long when I passed them and tried to cover it up with a friendly wave.
Windy day today. Not the conditions I was hoping for for my last boat ride.
I checked in at the tiny pier and was told to sit on the left. No stickers this time. An old English man cornered me into conversation. It wasn’t so bad. I just didn’t feel like talking. Soon enough a boat pulled up, destination Phuket. We dropped off our bags and climbed on board. At the time to show our ticket, the man indicated this was the 11:30 a.m. boat and my ticket is for the 11:40 a.m. boat. We dug my bag out of the pile and I went back to the pier. Not terribly sad to be away from the Englishman.
There was only one other person on the pier, a young man from Germany named Philip. Philip just graduated high school and has the scrapes that indicate he wrecked his scooter. He’s brimming with excitement over this chapter of his life. His energy is fun and infectious, reminding me how long ago I felt myself on the precipice of such adventure ahead.
He’s figuring out whether he wants to major in economics or IT. I told him he lucked out because I also majored in IT. I gave him my suggestions over his options including waiting until the last responsible moment to make the decision. He was delighted to receive guidance from someone in one of the two fields.
We wandered around the pier to every new boat that docked. Eventually we hit the right one, tossed our bags in the bow, and grabbed the only seats left. Philip talked about wanting to visit the United States sometime as he’s curious to see the way Americans live. Specifically, he’s intrigued by suburbs and how all the houses can look alike and how they are separated from the amenities of the town or city. Sometimes I forget the unique traits of American cities not found elsewhere.
When we arrived at the pier, we hugged goodbye and wished each other great trips. I’m glad I got kicked off of the first ferry. Phillip’s positive energy is exactly what I needed.
I joined a taxi van with many others and we made our way to the airport. Turned out I was the only person actually going to the airport. Everyone else was dropped at hotels in the area.
I arrived 4 hours early because of the few ferry options from Koh Yao Noi. The cool air conditioned spaces make me feel much better, though, so I’m ok with it. I flew VietJet which forced me to check my bag, take a receipt upstairs to pay for the bag, go back to the counter and exchange my bag receipt for a ticket printed on receipt tape. This may be the most budget airline I’ve ever flown.
Boarded my plane an hour later than planned. The speakers are blaring music and ads nonstop. I realized I accidentally left my ear plugs in my checked bag. Suddenly I remembered someone much earlier in my trip talking about one of the airlines playing ads the entire flight. I really hope that isn’t the one I’m flying! Trying to keep up Phillip’s positivity…
Matus sent me pictures from the Surin Islands. Looks incredible! If I get back to Thailand, that’ll be a destination I check out.
After landing in Bangkok, I could have taken the train and subway to my hotel in Chinatown. Instead I opted for a Grab that got me there an hour faster at $11. When I made it to Chinatown, I stopped at Lahore restaurant for some naan and hummus just before they closed at 9pm. This turned out to be a great decision. It was the best hummus I’ve ever had, and I went back twice for more naan.
My hotel is more like a standard hotel. Air conditioning, hot showers and a toilet that accepts toilet paper for the first time since the US. Things are starting to look up.