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Koh Phangan, Thailand – Day 2

January 23, 2023

I woke up after getting little rest last night. I think I’m worried about driving the new (old) scooter around on this hilly, sandy island. I also woke up to a picture from Theresa of a giant snowman in my front yard, and the final of the Bengals game (they won). Today is off to a good start, just need to make time for more scooter lessons.

Giant snowman

We walked down to Orion for breakfast and a working session. I caught up on blog posts and replied to Lynn while working at an outdoor desk overlooking the ocean. Life is good.

My Amazon sales have been really strong since I arrived in Thailand. They’re up 45% over last month and 29% over last year. I take this as validation I’m doing the right thing, and I’m grateful to get to do all of this. I feel like I’m living a dream!

Hopefully I haven’t just jinxed myself.

Orion Chia bowl
Chia Bowl

Amy continued to work while I decided to go for scooter practice. Immediately I could feel the difference from the much newer scooter we rented in Pai. It didn’t feel good. And the gas light was flickering on E. All my worries compounded.

Scooter Practice

I drove down to the end of the hotel road and spotted an ATM, one of the errands I was planning to run during practice. I decided not to drive into its parking lot, where I’d have to manage multiple turns and other scooters. Instead I turned around and parked the bike in the scooter parking lot and walked the rest of the way.

Once I returned to the scooter I started reasoning with myself. Today is Amy’s last day in Thailand. I have to get used to riding this thing. The sooner I get over the fear, the better my day will be.

I decided my next practice route will be to the gas station. I found the closest gas station in Google Maps and started navigation. Vroom vroom. Left turn, right turn, left turn. Once I got going, I stopped worrying and started thinking about what was actually happening. Way easier once the scooter is moving.

I made it to the gas station. Mission accomplished.

Now I had to figure out how to fill the gas tank. I flipped open the seat that didn’t latch and unscrewed the lid to the tank. Then I put 40 baht into the bill collector, lodged the dispenser in the tank and squeezed the handle. Nothing happened. I pushed the green button on the machine, squeezed the handle again and gas began to flow into the tank. Success!

Not knowing how much gas was needed or how to tell when to stop, I quit after 60 baht. I can see some gas in the tank now, and that should be enough to get us around a while longer.

Pleased with myself, I rode back to the hotel feeling 10x better about scootering alone.

Riding a scooter in Thailand
Gas station victory photo

Amy packed up her belongings and we hit the road. First up was lunch at the Yoga House, then onward to the Lomprayah ferry pier. I’m sad to see her go, but I am happy she gets to reunite with fiancee after several months apart. We said our goodbyes (several times) before I turned and drove off.

I had punched in another gas station to properly fill the tank (large gas stations are full service). The traffic near the pier was intense though. I missed several turns as my GPS kept telling me to turn and I either missed it or ignored it. I remembered seeing a gas station straight south so I just kept going until I got there. 

Straight was my favorite direction.

I pulled into the gas station, then jerkily drive to the pump. It’s great it’s full service and also embarrassing as I show off my poor scooter skills.

180 baht filled the tank and I set the GPS to go back to my hotel where I could regroup. I studied the map a little more so not to miss my turns, then pulled out to the street. School must’ve just gotten out because scooters with uniformed kids are everywhere.

I’ll never get across this road, I thought.

A bit later, a Thai woman pulled up on the my right, indicating she was also going to make a right turn. I decided I would go when she went. Strength in numbers.

Eventually we found a gap and slid out into the road. I managed to hit my two important turns and away I went up the beachfront road. Quite a pretty drive once outside the pier area. I spotted an oceanfront cow pasture. Lucky cows!

Keeping up the momentum, I drove down to Coco Loco for dinner on the beach. Thought it might be good to eat with a sunset view, then have to drive in the dark for the first time.

Ordered spicy tuna ceviche and a coconut. Perfecto.

I walked the beach before driving back. The drive back went nice and smooth. Parked the scooter, walked to my unit, went to the bathroom and began undressing for a shower when I felt something on my ankle. A COCKROACH was on my bare skinned ankle. I shook it off and now there’s a cockroach somewhere in my room 😫😫😫

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