Sunday, October 25, 2009

You thought the leaden winter would bring you down forever

I visited a magical island this weekend. Ko Samet is the reason Ban Phe is on the map, but this was my first visit. I was deliriously happy all weekend until the very end, which was still a perfect ending.

On Saturday after being booted out of Condochain and bidding farewell to the folks who won't stay in Ban Phe, I caught the ferry with two girls from my TEFL class. On arriving on the island we found some available bungalows (very rustic accommodation) and went down to the beach for drinks. We met a cute, sarcastic, whiny Canadian who we joined for dinner at a restaurant on the beach a while later. The food was wonderful. The sand was white. The drinks were abundant.

After dinner, we walked to a hookah bar on the beach. Rugs were laid out on the sand, and there were pillows to lean upon and short tables. The four of us shared a hookah and I listened to the music from the bar and watched the fire dancers down the beach and the lanterns floating up to the heavens for good luck and it was beautiful. This island's culture and inhabitants are so intentional and warm and transient, like Ren Faire or Khao San without the touts.

Paisley Glen or beachside hookah bar?

I didn't think it could get better, but inside the club at the hookah bar there was a wonderful cover band. They played the Cranberries and Guns and Roses and... uh... Shawty got Low. It was FANTASTIC. The singers, the guitar, the dancing, the energy, the music.

We left when the band finished their set and it went back to a dj and walked back the other way to a gay bar on the beach. I dipped in the ocean with one of my companions and it was beautiful. Then we headed back to our bungalows, and found that one of them was full of ants, everywhere. We all slept in one big bed then and in the morning realized we had shared the bungalow with this guy:

I am very glad that we didn't see the spider until the morning. Otherwise we would have had to sleep outside. It is by far the largest spider I've seen outside of a tarantula, and it is fast.


In the morning, we met up with another friend and found a secluded beach with white sand and still turquoise water and just played and swam in the ocean, laid on the beach and ate delicious food. I had an ovaltine shake and banana with coconut milk. While resting for awhile I played some music (it's odd that I haven't listened to my ipod at all on this trip until now.) I put it on shuffle and "Tales of Brave Ulysses" came on and it was perfect.

The mermaids here are whiter than the sand.

I was completely enchanted by Ko Samet, but had to leave to catch the ferry at around 5 pm. I came back to the school here in Ban Phe where I am spending one night before leaving tomorrow for Cambodia with a couple of others. After dinner I walked back to the school with a friend and we stopped at a restaurant that was having a lawn karaoke party with two of the TEFL employees, including our trainer. Both of them are leaving in the coming weeks, one to Singapore and one to England. It was wonderful to sing karaoke with them. I sang three songs--Proud Mary was a duet, it was great. I Will Survive was great. The other was Take it to the Limit by the Eagles. But the music was not right. It was just a generic drumbeat and I couldn't sing to it! Especially with a song that is so slow, Emily singing that song was the most horrible thing I have ever heard. It was better to watch them sing karaoke. When I left it was bittersweet because they're both leaving while I'll be in Cambodia and they're pretty cool people who it would have been fun to get to know outside of the TEFL-trainee relationship. They'll have great adventures though.

I realized when I got back to my room here that my phone was missing! It must have fallen out of my purse at the karaoke place. I called the place but there was a language barrier and a loud karaoke happening in the background barrier so I'm not sure they know what's happening, but I will stop by tomorrow in the hope that they have my phone. If losing my phone is payment for the amazing weekend I had, it was worth it. But I still want it back.


  1. Emily, Our conversation at dinner (here in Medford) often includes "...has anyone checked on Emily?"

    Did you get your phone back?


  2. I did get my phone back, praise Buddha. I went back to the Karaoke restaurant the next day and they had it for me. I don't have a Cambodian SIM card for it, so it's just an alarm clock right now :-P