Chasing The Sun
Koh Samui, Thailand – October 13, 2017
One of the boys we rented scooters with sprinted into the ocean to catch a ball yesterday. He tripped over some sharp rocks in the water and ended up needing to get seven stitches under his toe. We waited with the scooters in a smelly restaurant outside the hospital while he got bandaged up. For some reason I think I’m the only traveler that likes to “weigh my options” before selecting a place to stay because I swear other people get a hunger urge and just sit at the closest restaurant possible. The group took a seat and ordered drinks, but this place was REALLY bad. It reeked of dead fish and the fans blowing on us really only stirred up the nasty smell more. I used the restroom and the walls began caving in around me when I noticed the hundreds of brown finger smears all over the walls around the toilet. I booked it to the exit as soon as possible after that.
We rode our bikes through the mountainous route that the hostelkeepers recommended to us. It was a small concrete road that wove through the jungle and through thai farmlands. Flowering date palms were planted in rows, alternating with the coconut groves and banana plantations. I’ve never seen such tall coconut trees in my life as they seemingly towered over the far away mountains. They stool enormously tall while shading the small banana keikis that were planted alternating at the base of the fluttering palms. Racks of unripe bananas stretched out over the road and huge horned oxen were tethered to the woody coconut trunks. Scootering is seriously the best way to get around all these places. It’s so quick, easy, fun, cheap and thrilling all at once. It makes me want to move somewhere warm so I can use a scooter to get around at all times of the year.
Our throttles took us trekking through lush mountain ridges and dusty backroads. In search of an unswimmable waterfall, we swerved through sand and gravel. I’m positive the bikes we rented were definitely not made to drift through gravel pits like this, but it was a fun off-roading adventure! We climbed our way through a fruit farmer’s property to check out a view from the highest point on the island. From here, over the tops of the fruit trees, you could see Koh Phagnan and Koh Tao flouting in the distance. Coming down the other side of the mountain, we stopped for lunch at “Fisherman’s Village.” The restaurant was an upscale restaurant on the white beach with antiqued chairs set along the sand and silky Thai tapestries and fresh cut orchid flowers setting every table. We ordered pineapple and prawn fried rice that was served inside the sweet hollowed-out spiky yellow fruit.
Traffic was quite hectic on the way out from the touristic village, but we planned on making it to the west side of the island in order to see the sunset. There’s really not a whole lot of “traffic law” here as you see people running red lights, cutting through traffic, and even driving the wrong way on the shoulder of the road. You kind of have to cross your fingers, close your eyes and GO FOR IT!! All the while praying that you’ll make it out the other side. It’s also hard navigating with a big group of people because you’re always worried about the rest of the squad on top of worrying about your own driving skills. Once making it out of the really bad jam, we wove in and out of cars toward the West. At this point, it was a race to beat the sun. It’s such a rush cranking the throttle, getting your bike whipping along the highway, passing people on the right, warm wind wisping around your body to keep you cool.
Plummeting down the final downhill stretch to the western side, we did in fact make it to see one of the most gorgeous sunsets I’ve ever seen (but I swear I say that every day because I swear it gets better and better every day!). We took a seat at a sandy beach bar and enjoyed drinks as the black silhouettes of traditional long-tail boats hovered on the calm water that reflected the colors of the sky. We dipped our toes in the pink water and hopped along perfect stepping stones that seemingly lead out to sea. Distant fisherman waded out deep into the low tides with handmade nets and fishing lines piled upon their shoulders. I found a huge wooden rope swing that allowed me to swing out over the entire length of the beach, kicking my feet out over the open water. I swang peacefully, watching the fuchsia sky fade as lightning storms cracked from three different clouds out on the ocean.
Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato