(Disclaimer: I was talking to my mom the other day and I mentioned that I couldn't wait to upload all my pictures from this crazy trip. She casually mentioned that I should "keep in mind that there are a lot of different people reading the site now." Well, I didn't really do anything that I'm ashamed of and I don't think any of us actually know any of the people I might have captured doing shameful things (well, except maybe Marc ;-), so I'm just going to post the pictures that I have. If you end up offended, I apologize in advance (but I really don't think there is anything all that bad in there.)
I am finally back in the comforts of Bangkok - who would've thought a month ago that this would feel like home. Instead of rehashing my whole trip, I'll just write a bit about the highlights (and lowlights as the case may be)... and I added a decent amount to the captions, so check out all the pictures I have posted.
1. Firestarters -- I could watch these guys (and girls) all night long. I managed to take some good shots by turning my flash off (see above). Next time you have a party, I highly recommend hiring some people to toss fire rings around - it really adds a whole other dimension to the festivities.
2. On Monday morning, I took off by myself and went for a little hike down the end of the beach. There were a bunch of rocks and I ended up climbing them and following them around the edge of the island a bit. I eventually found this pretty secluded rock looking out over the ocean - it reminded me a bit of my favorite spot in Swampscott (HMF for the guys). I hung out there for awhile and just enjoyed the scene. I didn't bring my camera - sometimes memories are best left in the head - but it was definitely one of my favorite parts of my trip.
3. I'd say the average age on the island was 21 - it definitely seemed like a lot of college kids. I can't imagine being at this party when I was in college. I'm pretty sure I would have survived it and everything, but I can think of at least 5 of my friends (without even really trying very hard) who would have never made it back.
4. "Buckets" -- The drink of choice on the islands is a small bucket filled with a ice, a pint of liquour (typically Thai whiskey or Vodka), and then two mixers (i.e. Coke, Red Bull, fruit juice, etc.) They serve it with straws, scorpion bowl-style, and it therefore goes down VERY quickly. All for 200 Baht ($5). Such a bad idea in the best possible way an idea can be bad.
5. We were out on Ko Pha-Ngan for 4 days and 3 nights. We didn't need to be out there for that long - 2 nights of the Full Moon Party is more than enough (one night to get your feet wet, one night to enjoy yourself). I enjoyed my time on Ko Samui much more - there is still a pretty good night life, but the beach is bigger and quieter. Course, I'm also apparently getting old and lame.
6. Marc and I had an amazing last dinner on the islands. All along the beach are restaurants that display their fresh fish and seafood in little rowboats. The seafood is sold by the pound, you pick out what you want, they weigh it, and then barbeque it for you right on the beach. We went to the nicest one we could find to splurge a little (ended up being 800 Baht per person - $20!). They even had two Thai singers serenading us on the beach with country music. About the only thing that sucked about the meal was that I was there with ... well, Marc. (Not that Marc is bad to eat with, he is actually quite pleasant... just I would've preferred a certain lady to have my romantic dinner on the beach with!)
7. On Samui we found this great massage stand on the beach - there were about 6 girls and they were a riot. Really chatty and gave damn good massages - Marc and I went everyday. Thai people can't pronounce R's so when they say Marc's name it sort of sounds like they have a Boston accent: "Maahhc." I'm "Maaht." For some reason these girls loved saying are names - and, of course, like all the Thai ladies they loved Marc's eyelashes.
8. On the beach there are beggar kids that run around and try to get you to buy cheap necklasses from them - though I should note, it is not nearly as oppressive as some places I've been. They also carry around Connect 4 (which is a HUGE game out here) and challenge you to games. I think if you win you only pay them 10 Baht, but if they win you owe them 100 Baht - something like that. In any event, they all have cute little catch phrases to try to get you to smile and open your wallet. My favorite was the kid who slammed the Connect 4 onto our table and said "bring it on byatch!"
9. On Ko Pha-Ngan most of the girls (and they really are "Not A Girl, Not Yet A Woman" in the Britney Spears-sense) walk around topless on the beaches. I had never really been to a nude beach environment before. Good times, but it makes it a bit harder to read your book.
I'll add more if I think of it, but for now I am going to bed. Tomorrow I think I am going to go to Kanchanaburi (where the River Kwai - yes from the movie - and some other things are) for a couple days. Have a great weekend!