So tomorrow I have a good buddy of mine from Scotland coming to stop with me for the night, and I am so excited to see her!
Her name is also Jenni, or as she likes to be called, Jen. I’ve known this girl for just over a year – we met on the 8 week training course for our new job, one week of which was spent bumbling our way around Sri Lanka in the back of a 12 seater minivan.
Although we’ve only known each other a short amount of time, we have, within that time, shared quite a lot of big moments and A LOT of laughs! On top of spending weeks together in a creaky old, and haunted I might add, hotel whilst training for our new jobs, we’ve also climbed Sigiriya Rock together, visited Sri Lankan tea plantations together and searched for Elephants and Cheetah together on a jeep safari. We’ve snowboarded the Alps, drank lemon beer on top of a mountain and even shared a star stricken moment together when Xzibit showed up for a drink on that same mountain! Good times.
The reason for my dear friends visit is not solely to see me, although really what other motivation does a person need to come and hang out with yours truly – I mean, I’m a god damn delight! No, the reason for her visit is that she and her boyfriend (the most Scottish looking man in ….well Scotland I guess), are off to Thailand for a couple of weeks and I’m dropping them off at the airport. How exciting! I imagine that right now as I’m writing this she will be putting her last minute bits and bobs into her backpack and bouncing off the walls with pre-travel giddiness. There really is no other feeling quite like having all your bags packed, leaving your abode and closing the door behind you for the last time, knowing that you are about to embark on a completely brand new adventure. It can be a year long adventure, a few months, a couple of weeks or even a couple of days. You could be flinging yourself off to the opposite side of the world or simply escaping for the weekend to the Cotswolds in the country, either way, that feeling inside never disappoints. I’m quite envious of her for having those feelings today, but excited to know that I’ll be having them myself in less than 2 weeks time.
I believe they are having a few nights in Bangkok and then heading north up to Chiang Mai, followed by hitting a couple of the beaches in the south.
It’s amazing how far this country has grown in tourism over the years – once a country within a land only todays veterans had travelled to and their children had heard of, through tales of war. An unknown gem filled with secret beaches and deep dense jungle lay hidden away from the rest of the world. When you compare movies like ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai’ to something like ‘The Beach’ we can start to see how differently this country is perceived from then to now.
I went to Thailand 6 years ago. I travelled overland from Malaysia, we were dropped off at the border with nowhere to stay and no way of getting anywhere other than by foot as all the bus and taxis had stopped running for the day. Pretty much in the middle of nowhere with nothing around us, this, this is the moment when the heavens decided to empty what seemed to be the entire worlds supply of rain, on to our heads! It was, I have to say, a surreal and brilliant moment – not really knowing what to do with ourselves we just carried on walking, and laughing as we did so, what else was there to do. Fortunately it was warm rain, making the air a blend of my personal favourite; thick, warm and fragrant.
I had forgotten that little memory until just now – funny how the mind keeps these special little moments stored for a surprise visit one day.
We did zip wiring and swam under waterfalls in Koh Samui. We went to a blackmoon party on the beach in Koh Phangan where, even though I had assigned myself the duty of designated ‘make sure everyone I know stays safe’, ended up having my own bag stolen from me. What a total plonker! There I am thinking I’m doing a great job, I haven’t lost anyone to brainless ideas such as swimming in the sea, in the middle of the night, on a belly full of ….well – heaven knows what is in that Thai whiskey. No one has fallen or trod on glass or, god forbid gone off with a complete stranger – you hear such horror stories about people who prowl these beach parties waiting to pounce on some poor vulnerable party goer. They might spike your drinks so they can mug you or plant something in your bag, or of course, much worse! So yes – I had managed to keep my friends safe yet managed to have my own bag pinched, along with my phone and my passport! Doh!
To this day I’m still not really sure how it happened, one minute it was there the next it wasn’t. After an hour of dedicated searching, I finally found it, minus my phone but still with my passport in tact. Phew!
Before ultimately running out of money (how someone runs out of money in Thailand, a place where a beer costs 50p, is clearly something only I could do), and having to cut short our trip by a few weeks, we managed to squeeze in one last place before our 24 hour bus ride back down to Singapore and our flight home. That place was Khao Sok. An inland national park amongst jungle cladding, rivers and tree house bungalows. You would think the thing I loved most about this place would be the beautiful surroundings, the nature and the wildlife, which don’t get me wrong I did love – but having just spent 6 weeks living in deep Indonesian jungle, the bar had been set pretty high for this type of habitat. No, what I loved the most was this great little tree house reggae bar. We would plonk ourselves there for the evening with a beer – or two, or three or four – and enjoy the cool sounds of Bob Marley and company playing in the background. The dark, warm air hugging us tightly as we sat and talked of past adventures, and all the new ones we planned to do. This was a happy place for me.
I can’t for the life of me remember what its called, but I do hope that it’s still there and that other people are currently sat with a beer, listening to the music and feeling the same happy calm that I had once felt.
But anyway, these were few of my experiences in Thailand and I can’t wait to hear all about Jen’s when she gets back. I’ll be with her in 24 hours and no doubt we’ll be tucking into a bottle of wine and laughing and giggling like we always do. We’ll also be talking about another trip we’ll soon be taking together, to Mauritius and Reunion in December – bring it on!