Ms. Clarke-McManamon and Mr. McNally, the lovely Irish couple I first met a couple days ago…at dinner they invite me to come to the birthday party at Brandy’s house. I leave Khao Sok at 1 p.m. I arrive at Surat Thani about two hours later.
It’s about 6 p.m. when Dave picks me up from BJ hotel and gives me a ride to the party location. It’s across the Tapi river in the northern part of Surat. I meet many many English teachers there. During the party there is also talk of going to Khanom the next day. A fellow yogi at SuanMokh had recommended that place to me before as an enjoyable and laid-back not-too-touristy community joint. Sarah&Mark provide me with a mattress to sleep on.
And so the next day, Saturday at 3 p.m. I take a bus from Talad Kaset (Bus station at Surat) to Khanom. It takes less than an hour. First things first. Get a Thai curry. Meet old and new friends. The party in the evening is the bomb. Live music performed by a raggae band, then by a wonderful sanuk Scottish man called Chuck. Good vibes all around.
Live and let live. Enjoy great food and drink. Dance and laugh and love. Ocean’s about 100 feet from the bar JamBay. Party til 3 or 4 or so. Sleep right there. Hammocks, blankets, right there.
So I spend some time with the English teaching community at Surat Thani and I like it. They really are a friendly bunch! Thoughts come and go. Some are more persistent or recurrent than others, of course. The one telling me it’s a fine idea to teach myself at Surat Tahini is quite a tenacious one, indeed. I counsel myself. Next time around, dear friend. Keep on moving. Keep travelling. Explore.
I also meet a wonderfully caring young mom from Austria at Khanom beach. She and her son stay there at Khanom, for a month … at least. It was crystal clear that they are completely happy here. The only occasional cloud darkening the sky of the mind is made up thoughts about the uncertain future. Joe, the Thai bar owner, is gratefully graciously taking over the role of father/uncle/friend.
Sunday is chill out day deluxe. A dip into the salty wet. A walk on the sandy strip. A read in a good book. A talk with a friend. A plate of delicious food. What more do you want? (What do you mean? ‘More…’) Time passes quickly when you’re happy. Did I mention that before?
In the evening, Song gives me ride back to Surat Thani with his red car. Before going back, though, we eat a proper meal and play pool. I learn some more essential Thai phrases. The ride is nice, electronic music on the highway and Frank Sinatra on entering the city again at dusk.
When we get to Sarah&Mark’s place the door is locked. So we head towards the pier. Maybe they are already there, having a come-together before Mark’s going to leave Surat the morrow. They are not there. I gotta piss… hong nam ju ti nai?… Song points out ‘Toilet over there.’ Some minutes later we spot the lovely Irish couple sitting in a restaurant across the street. We join them. Later more people come, Jaxx and Sophie and Daniel… also a shy Thai girl. She gets the candy I just got at the restaurant.
Monday morning. We get the scooter and drive to the city centre. Mark and I book a night train ticket to Bangkok at Puntip (Thai State Railway). After that we meet some English teachers for lunch – 35 baht for a proper meal. The immigration office happens to be just around the corner. We go there cuz I’d like to check the current procedures of visa extensions. I am told that I can extend my 14 days (stamp on arrival) for another 30 days. It’s 1900 baht.