A Weekend on Koh Chang

We arrived on the island of Koh Chang off the coast of Thailand after an excruciatingly long bus ride, a shorter but still painful van ride, and a brief excursion on a ferry from the mainland. Up up down up twist to the right no no to the left goes the road into town. A road that shames even the Road to Hana. We lug our overstuffed suitcases up one two three flights of stairs. Apparently Thais don’t believe in elevators. And why should they, they live here and have no need to lug as much crap as we think we do. And the end of the trip…

…better yet, lets call it the beginning of a weekend adventure: dinner on the beach with fire dancers and a live band. So food that the best of us carried food babies in our bellies ready to burst. Some ice cream and late night boutique browsing and it off to bed for Jojo!

The next morning began one of the funnest days of my life. Christine’s guidebook reads that unless you are an experienced moto driver you shouldn’t drive on the island of Koh Chang as the roads are winding and steep, the path sometimes unpaved (an understatement), and the other drivers slightly manic. Okay, so I took some liberties with the language. The book still recommended against such an activity. So I decided it was high time to become an experienced moto driver…or a moto driver at all as I have never driven one before. Sorry mom.

The trip started off well. I learned that motos don’t take much effort to keep upright. They do it on their own. And driving on the left isn’t that hard to get used to. But at the end of the wonderfully straight road through down town came the first hill and the first corner. Oops! Who forgot to learn how to turn? That would be me! Luckily there was a guard rail and no cliff on the other side and me going really slow anyways. Thank you Chris for telling me how to turn. You are a lifesaver! Then up up up that road that puts the Road to Hana to shame. A hell of a road to learn to drive a moto on.

We drove around the island to the less touristy side and on our way stopped at an incredible spa just to look around. I felt healthier just standing there! Then we took a side road to Long Beach. Few venture this way. Only the strong of heart brave it. Or the yuppies that take the morning taxi. What wimps! The road becomes steeper and “less” paved. And what I mean by “less” paved is not paved at all. Hardly a road, really. A lot of big rocks and pot-holes. The few pickups coming up the road had a harder time of it than we did because our small moto tires fit between the mini-boulders. The task: dodging rocks while getting up enough speed to make it up the hill and not missing the turns and crashing down to the ocean far far below then at the top going down down down use the front break never touch the gas again don’t miss the turn and often times use your feet so you don’t fall over. I conquered you, road that puts the Road to Hana to shame!!! Experience-schmerience! I am officially an experienced moto driver. Full, mature, can do anything type of experienced after that Goliath of a drive.

When we arrived at long beach we walked down the beautiful sandy cove along the blue-green water glistening in the sun. We sat under a thatched rood on floor cushions and had the most delicious Masaman Curry that ever was made. While we were waiting for our food to arrive, Amelia and I swam in the warm water. I floated out there in the tropical ocean and thought that this is paradise. After the meal we drove back into town for a dinner at the other end of the road at a fishing village. The restaurants and shops all sat above the water on poles in this delightful little cove with pretty little boats. We watched the sun set drinking ice cold lime juice and eating parts of fish we didn’t even know were edible before. For the record: (1) fish cheek meat is delicious; (2) fish eyeball is not; (3) thank Allah my fish didn’t have a tongue attached because I would have had to try that too and the one fish tongue at the table looked squishy in a gross way. Odd fact of the day: there is a hard part inside of the fish’s eyeball but you can’t get it out with a fork. Instead you have to maneuver around it in your mouth and then spit it out like it is a pip. It is gross and the eye doesn’t taste good anyways.

After dinner the girls got massages. It is the first Thai massage I have ever had and it was incredible. The other girls went for foot and leg massages. We enjoyed ourselves so much that we went for a second. They convinced me to try the foot massage and they got head/neck/shoulder massages. After, we chatted with the massage girls who were awesome and so sweet. Then it was off to a great night’s sleep.

What could be better then that day? Waking up the next morning to a hike through the island jungle to a waterfall and swimming in the cool pool at its base. It was wonderful to wash away the humidity driven sweat of the hike with a bath in an inner-island paradise. After, we sat on the rocks. Then we made our way back through the jungle to a lunch of incredible rotisserie chicken and a lesson in eating sticky rice.

Back in the van, over the ferry, onto the highway. We delved farther into the borders of Thailand to Pattaya and our home for the next few weeks.

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