Saturday, April 22, 2017

Island Living - Part 2 of 3

After we boarded the overnight train in Bangkok, we settled into our chairs and wondered, "How does this chair turn into a bed?"  There seemed to be no way there would be enough beds for the four of us to sleep on this 12 hour trip.  But of course, as with all traveling in Thailand, as soon as you start to fret, the situation seems to resolve immediately.  For just then, a man came along with a small device to unlock the top bunks from the ceiling and magically transform our chairs into beds.  Worry not - he seemed to say.  So we settled in again and before we knew it, we arrived in Surat thani.  Then it was breakfast, a bus ride, a ferry ride, a songthaew ride, and we were at our hotel on Kho Phangan.
All that and only about 12:00 in the afternoon!  Unfortunately for us, a freak monsoon was hovering over the island and we arrived in the pouring rain.  Even worse, it hovered for the next 4 days. However, even in a monsoon, tropical paradises are tropical paradises, I always say.  So we made the best of it, first by upgrading hotels.  I don't know about you, but when I enter my hotel room and it looks like a 1980s Chuck Norris POW movie, I want out!  So we walked down the beach a few hundred meters and found a place that was actually beautiful, had a pool, included a great breakfast, and had customer service - for the same price.  Magic

Now again, you have to make the best of it when it's raining on vacation, but when you feel sick, that's pretty hard to do.  Almost as soon as we arrive, Jess started feeling bad.  A few days later when she was fully recovered, I went down and stayed down for like 6 days.  But as I said, we made the best of it and this next little story is pretty much what made our Kho Phangan trip so great:

So, let me take you back 5 1/2 years when we met Suni for the first time.  We met her foster mom at a hotel with Suni so that they could say good bye to each other.  It was very sad of course, but one of the bright spots (besides us getting to take Suni home) was meeting Suni's foster sister "Guitar".  She was about a year younger than Suni, and just the cutest thing ever.  Apparently, they lived together for just over a year with Yai Jah.  Well, when we were visiting Yai Jah in Bangkok this time, we inquired about Guitar, where is she?  Is she well?  If you think about it, she could have been adopted by any one of millions of people from the U.S. or throughout Europe, so we were curious.  Get ready for this....She was adopted by a family that lived in Washington state, but that's not the crazy part.  We asked for their email address so we could inquire further and maybe someday have Suni meet Guitar again.  A few days later, when we were on Kho Phangan, we got their email address and sent off a message.  You better sit down now, I'll wait.......
Guitar and her family were living in Thailand! They were living in Surat Province!  They were living on Kho Phangan!  They were living 10 minutes from our hotel. And yes, they wanted to meet!  Long story short, Suni and her long lost foster sister met and played together for 4 or 5 straight days, Radd played with her older brothers, whom he had a lot in common with, and we hung out with their super cool parents.  I. Shit. You. Negative.  That's the universe doing what it does, I guess.

And I would probably be remiss if I didn't mention one other fun aspect of living on Kho Phagnan for 8 days.  We rented scooters and cruised around and around and around feeling like eagles soaring through the ether.  We snorkled till our fingers were pruned, sipped fruit smoothies at all hours of the day, and got massaged beach side.  We also found a restaurant on a long skinny point that had a little cliff diving area teeming with tropical fish.  The kids spent over an hour jumping off, floating around, gazing at the fish while the sun was setting...It was pretty magical, I must say.  Something I could get used to...

But all good things must come to an end, so we got back into that songthaew, the ferry, the bus, an airplane and then a taxi and found ourselves in Chiang Mai, ready to experience our first, though I desperately hope not our last, Songkran!


  1. Wow! Fun read Matt! What an amazing universe we live in. Sounds like your trip was meant to be!

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