“Same Same But Different” (Koh Samui, Thailand)

Same Same But Different

Koh Samui, Thailand – October 14, 2017

Extending our bike ownership for another day, we set off on the island to accomplish the things we missed the day before. Our first stop took us to Crystal Bay, a glittering white sand beach protected by two rocky island peninsulas. There were these weird little see-through seed pods in the water that I found really satisfying to break apart with my fingers, each little sticky white cell protecting a little brown seed. All of a sudden, we noticed that the pods had a heartbeat and that there were actually little swimmers inside of each of the sticky cells… hopefully the little guys can survive in the ocean alone after popping them all apart! We frolicked in the teal waters and laid out on the sand while watching beautiful brown skinned locals stretch and practice breathing on the beach.

A rock outcropping that was supposedly in the shape of a penis and a vagina was listed in BOLD font on the tourist map, so we assumed it was an unmissable attraction. However, you really had to use your imagination (squinting and turning your head to one side) in order to see the inappropriate effigies. Instead, we were lured into a little Rasta bar by the owner that beckoned to us from down the beach. We crawled through tunnels of vines through the trees and over wooden bridges to get into the seaside paradise. It was a dreamy little multi-level treehouse that was shaded by the almond trees and built on stilts between the huge oceanside boulders. Several-story decks held many cozy pillow-seating areas with clear views of the bay. Everything was painted in yellow, red and green, flying multiple Marley flags, and they sold everything from spliffs to mushroom-smoothies.

I had a panic attack when I couldn’t find my bike keys after returning to the penis relic. I searched everywhere from my pockets, to my boobs, to the bathroom, to under the Rasta treehouse restaurant. After seeing us all searching for a few minutes, the parking attendant dangled them in front of us and told me to be careful. We made our way to Waterfall 2 (not sure why they couldn’t come up with a more clever name?). Safari busses tried to take us for 300baht each, telling us it was a 30-minute walk… it was 5. We bathed in the cascading water, and realizing I AGAIN forgot my keys in my bike ignition, I sprinted back to the parking lot. My whole life I swear I’ve been really bad about losing things. On the negative side, I beat myself up, “When am I going to become more responsible?” On the positive side I think, “My priorities favor relationships, love, fun and living in the moment over material things!” Luckily (for me and my bank account), my bike survived both episodes.

On the way in and out of the waterfall, we had walk past a sad elephant-riding camp. I guess elephants really aren’t meant to be ridden, though they are enormous creatures, it hurts them as they are so slow moving and their legs aren’t meant to stabilize several humans piled on their backs. The trainers also break their souls while training them and basically get the massive beasts to fear them by cracking their head with wooden whips and jabbing a hooked metal pick behind their ears. Imagine getting yanked around by a sharp metal object wedged into the corner of your ear in order to force you to move! The elephants were panting and dripping with sweat while carrying privileged people that seemingly didn’t care about the strange hurtful moans the elephants would make as their Thai trainers dug the metal picks deep into their wrinkled skin. It was so sad to see the babies separated from their working mammas and how “broken” they all seemed. Do NOT ride the elephants!!

A curved uphill road took us through a huge Durian harvest. There were entire truckloads absolutely packed to the max with the spiked stinky fruits and full families grinning ear to ear about their bounty. The massive fruits needed stabilization while dangling ripened off the limbs, so the farmers used bamboo contraptions to make sure the fruits wouldn’t snap off the branches. They are extremely heavy fruits and the trees are rather spindly in comparison. Durian is a delicacy here as it’s always the most expensive fruit for sale at markets. Maybe they have a medicinal quality of some sort, I’m not sure, but they sure don’t smell pleasant! At the top of the Durian farm, we found a very strange dinosaur-sculpture garden and an infinity pool that overlooked the western side of Koh Samui.

To reach a sunset bar recommended by our hostel, we rode down a sandy beach trail in the dimming light. Other travelers from our hostel were strewn all over beanbags on the beach, ordering Thai teas, smoking hand rolled cigarettes and watching the sun go down. We were the last to leave the deck as the sky had become completely dark, but night rides with the bikes are the best. There are no day-lit distractions after the sun goes down, only the soft lights of other vehicles on the road. The cool air caresses your skin and the scent of plumerias and gardenias hangs heavily as you pass through pockets of their sweet-smelling air. You ride past little restaurants and night markets where people are always trading, eating, cooking and cleaning. They all seem happy, healthy and fed, doing their daily routine. Peaceful. Tranquil. Content. Every day is the same… Same Same, But Different.


Alena Horowitz | Miss Potato

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