Friday, March 26, 2004

They call the phenomena a Ko Pah Ngan Tattoo. Mopeds are the most efficient way to see this beautiful island and when you fall off one the scrape you get leaves quite a scar. And that's what I've got. Perhaps unsuprisingly then, I'd advise against hiring one of these mopeds - the roads here are atrocious and anyone not experienced will surely have a dangerous and hair-raising experience. Even my friend Rob, who rides a 600cc road bike in Blighty, had a minor accident.

At least the locals here are ridiculously friendly. Everyone who came past stopped and offered assistance. A local boat owner gave me a lift on the back of his moped to a clinic where I had some treatment administered. I should think myself lucky though - in hindsight I have been hearing numerous horror stories from others about accidents where peoples faces have been permanently damaged - and I'm told that 12 farang have been killed here on the roads since January... The local who kindly transported me to the clinic told me that he used to hire out bikes but after seeing the injuries they cause and then having to charge the victims for the bike damage on top of their doctors bills he gave it up.

Not many people wear helmets here, and there are many children who ride motorcyles as well. Naturally they are competent as hell. Bloody typical.

So I'm sporting a few bandages and experiencing a bit of pain. Which is both bad and good. Bad you probably know about; good is I've met more people in the hours after treatment than in the entire period I have been out here. In fact I've met countless people thanks to some white bandages on my right arm and hand. It's great.

I've moved from my original resort of Hat Yao on the North West side of the island to the busy tourist trap that is Hat Rin on the opposite corner. Not really my cup of tea to be honest but still fun. Hat Yao was great in that it was beautiful and fairly small. We got to know people and continued to meet them at bars all week. Definitely to be recommended. We stayed at a place called Long Beach - probably the most picturesque location on the beach and although the younger staff were great fun, their was an underlying atmosphere I didn't like. No enough to ruin the spirit, but the way we were bundled off after we checked out was unnecessary. If I were to go back I would try somewhere else - and I would consider going back to that beach.

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