Last year I was fortunate enough to travel to both Bali (where I have been many times) and Thailand where I had not been before. The Thailand trip was for Christmas and New Year, with my mate, whom I had never travelled with before. We had five days booked in a beach resort and the second five days in a Hotel in a more central location. I was really looking forward to this trip as my mate is a seasoned traveller and the lure of massages, lazing on the beach, good food and cocktails was my ideal holiday.
I should commence by explaining that we can both be a little weird, we have this knack for encouraging the quirks in each other to hit their full potential. We had this idea to purchase each other an amusing Christmas gift which we would exchange once we had arrived. Oddly enough we went down similar paths and by the time we were ready for gift giving we were like two five year olds on a sugar overload. I was first presented with a card and when I opened the card this wind up butterfly thing came flying out and honestly I almost swallowed my tongue! He thoughtfully gave me a card with his photo on it, which was actually very funny, given I gave him a t-shirt with my head plastered all over it!! Then for the main event….. I gave him a Spiderman costume because honestly he had not shut up about Spiderman for weeks and he gave me what we refer to as the “showstopper” and it is a sight to behold, absolutely resplendent. It is a cape that has sticks so when you raise your arms it develops wings and has hundreds of twinkling lights on it. There really aren’t adequate words to describe its utter beauty.
Day 1 saw a variety of cocktails consumed and first massages at this little beachside cabana. It was a hot day but the sea breeze was refreshing against your skin and I’m not sure whether it was the massage or the cocktails kicking in but I was incredibly relaxed. I should point out at this time that my mate is gay and this did confuse a few of the day spas that we attended as we kept having to explain we did NOT want a “couples massage”. Anyway, back to the beachside cabana massage. I was all but asleep when it was time to flip over and I was doing my very best to discreetly keep the girls in my untied bikini top but yep, you guessed it… the melons were all of a sudden set loose as this little old Thai lady proceeded to massage around them! Two things occurred to me at this moment 1) what view did my mate have? Gay or not the melons are not for display and 2) all those people drinking their cocktails out the front of the cabana… what did they see?! Even in my super relaxed state I was able to pull that sheet up with intense speed. I’ll never know what those random holiday makers saw but my mate thankfully saw nothing.
Christmas Day was a very different day than any other I have had. We did a trip to the temples which was quite fitting really. I have always been intrigued by the Buddhist religion and the peacefulness of it, so it was only natural that I would take part in a traditional prayer ceremony and the ringing of the bell, which I can’t be certain but I think I am now ordained into the religion. It was also the day that something else spiritual started and that was all these cats crossing my path, like a sign of some sort. This became a repeated theme on our trip but more on that later. Travel mate was awesome at picking restaurants and I have to say we had the most amazing meals throughout this trip.
Boxing Day we decided to hire a kayak and kayak to a small island we could see in the distance. Quite frankly this island was a lot further than we first thought and I am serious when I say, it felt like we were paddling to another country. At first glance we thought “how hard can it be”, well, very bloody hard. I was hoping to sort of just rest whilst he paddled but unfortunately that was not going to work. After what seemed like 3 days, we arrived at our destination, which was an uninhabited island and we spent the next hour swimming in the beautiful blue water, wondering if at some point cannibals possibly lived there. Anyway, more of concern was now we are here, we have to get back! Climbing into the kayak for the marathon back was the scene of my first incident. Unsure in hindsight why I tried to balance on the paddle but within seconds I was down in the shallow water, legs flailing in the air and travel buddy trying to piece together exactly what just happened. My foot took weeks to recover from the welt and bruising but I am a trouper and the show must go on. We seemed to have developed a technique as getting back took half the amount of time.
After several epic restaurant choices and meals, we decided to just go to this small family run restaurant in this little town. Can I just say that this was one of our best nights! We learnt very quickly that they could whip up delicious cocktails, that to our calculations were ridiculously cheap, which meant let’s keep trying different ones. Food was good and to add excitement I saw 3 cats on this particular night. Not sure what part of my brain thought it was wise to pick one up, suggest the part that had by this stage consumed a variety of cocktails, but there’s a lovely photo of me nursing a ginger cat in a restaurant amongst the holiday snaps. We sat in the restaurant for hours and when we left to get a taxi home, we saw a boom gate which enticed us to see how good our limbo skills were. At this point we should have called it a night.
Did we call it a night? Absolutely not because across the road, what did we see? Roadside karaoke and partial to a little singing off we went. This was not without a few hiccups, as our fellow karaoke friends could not speak English but they had all the equipment. After a few attempts at conversing, they gave us their phone and would you believe, I found Mama Mia. Excitement was now peaking as we took the microphone and sang that song as if we were Bjorn and Agnetha themselves. After a few tunes, we decided to head on back to the resort and went in search of a taxi. On our way to find said taxi we stumbled across a bar, good music and full of people so we had to go in. Timing could not have been better as one of the guests decided to shout everyone shots! My mate thought this guy was the owner and decided he would prefer something more “top shelf” at which guest man said “you will get what you are given”, alas we drank what was on offer. Now it really was time to go home. Taxi located and what a lucky driver he was because he got to listen to us belt out Kelly Clarkson’s ‘because of you” all the way home. His taxi had like disco lights and this surround stereo system so I’m guessing he is used to these sorts of shenanigans.
Now I could not tell you what time we arrived home but apparently our night had not yet finished. We decided in our wisdom that now would be a good time to dress in our Christmas present costumes and wear them down to the resort pool. Nobody was there at that hour but if anyone had of looked out their window at that moment they would have seen me looking like a Christmas tree and my mate doing all sorts of acrobats in his Spiderman costume! Waking up the next morning was like the movie “Hangover” as we looked at the photos and recordings on our phone not quite sure how we involved ourselves in so many activities but impressed nonetheless at our emerging talents! Needless to say we were feeling a little worse for wear and quite subdued for the remainder of the day.
Our last dinner to finish the first part of our trip was outstanding, another top pick from travel buddy that saw us head down to this restaurant on the water that was like a grand colonial home you would find in the deep south of America. We had to catch a funicular down to the restaurant which was exciting. Whilst awaiting dessert I decided to have a little wander on the beach and I cannot tell you the fright I had with the number of crabs that appeared, I’m not certain they were going to attack, however, in that moment I ran like Usain Bolt much to the amusement of travel buddy.
The next morning would see us leave our beach resort for the next stage of our holiday. It would also see the first signs of illness in me as I started to lose my voice and felt I had been hit by a train. COVID-19?
To be continued…..