Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trang to Ko Lipe

The bus left at 10:15 (this didn't come as a surprise; we're used to Thai Time). From La Ngu we took motorbike taxis to the pier at Pak Bara, where we were greeted by a travel agent asking us to “buy ticket sa-peed bort, on-leee wan ow-were”. She hurried us, saying the boat would leave at 1:00. We dashed about, withdrawing money (there are no ATMs on Lipe), buying phone credit, visiting the ladies' room, and getting fruit and water for the journey. Then the departure was put back to 1:30, leaving us with half an hour to kill. We sat at a table and ate our fruit.

The boat left at 2:00 (Thai Time), and took an hour and a half. It slowly clouded over as we travelled, and by the time we arrived it was quite overcast, but even under the pale sky the water sparkled turquoise, and was so clear I found it hard to gauge its depth.

The beach has no pier, so the speedboat moored at a floating platform where we had to pay an exorbitant 50B for a longtail to shuttle us the 20 metres to shore. Grumpy at this extortion, I then got very, very cross when one of the boatmen carelessly set the boat rocking so violently it very nearly catapulted two bags (including mine) into the sea. I continued to sulk until all my bags were on dry land (the boatman having had another go at tipping me out by leaping from one side of the unstable longtail to the other, at precisely the moment I stood up to get out).

This is a tiny island. There are no roads (there are no cars), just one concrete cross-island path connecting the two main beaches, and a few crisscrossing sandy tracks through the jungle leading to the third beach and the local Chao Leh village.

We pottered along the main thoroughfare, past a large, new-looking billboard bearing the hand-wringing inscription in Thai and (sort of) English:

  • Broken Family
  • Hazardous Drug
  • drug addiclang Pusher illegally
  • wasting life and Social danger

The sign stood with absolutely no apparent context, between a fairly inoffensive-looking bungalow establishment and a shop selling sarongs and cold drinks.

Duly warned, we avoided any illegally-looking Pushers of drug addiclang or Social danger, and found a room at Pooh's Bungalows, a jack-of-all-trades resort with a restaurant, barbecue, internet café, dive shop, bakery, bar, and lounge with movie screen and scattered triangle cushions. We got something to eat, wandered along the island's busier beach, then got a massage at a shack on the cross-island path.


Post a Comment

<< Home