We had to leave pretty early for Koh Chang but it wasn't bad because we had a 4 hour car ride then another half hour on a ferry so I still got in plenty of napping. The ferry ride was great. Car ferries are more or less the same all over the world, except for the view. For some reason or another I didn't consider this to be a tropical island; I guess I thought they only existed in the South Pacific and Caribbean. Well Koh Chang certainly was. It had white sands and palm trees and the water was really warm. Almost too warm, it felt very unnatural. So the first day, we arrived around 11am and we were told we had the day all to ourselves until dinner at 7. A few of us went for a walk down the beach to explore. The beach stretched around like a C shape and we could see some giant rocks out on the point that we needed to investigate. The beach was lined with hotels but there weren't that many people (considering it was the first day of 'high' season). Lots of them had swings, not like the ones over the river in Laos, these were for relaxing. So we eventually got to the giant rocks which took some doing. We had to cut through a fancy resort where we definitely stood out in our cheap 'pattaya beach' bathing suits. There was a system of little wooden ladders to climb up the main rock and from there we could see a way to get down to the water between them. The water was fantastic and actually very deep. We climbed out on to some of the other rocks and dove in. (don't worry, we carefully checked for anything below the landing zone.) The rocks did have their fair share of barnacles though and I got a little scraped up. Nothing too, too serious except there's one on my left heel that’s kinda deep and has a band-aid on it now.
For dinner we took our car up the coast to the northern part of the island and walked along the beach looking for somewhere good. We eventually found a place that was alright.. it didn't seem any better or worse than the surrounding ones, we were just starving. The cool thing is that almost every restaurant offers a 'fire show' where people come out and twirl a giant stick with a fireball on each end. We watched the one next door while we ate which was pretty impressive. The fire-twirlers associated with our restaurant weren't that great. After dinner we walked down the beach to see what we could find and we stumbled upon a tremendous fire show. You could tell that this was the premier restaurant/bar on this part of the beach because it was packed and all the rest were starting to close down. Their fire show had 5 different guys, plus three hula girls. One of the fire guys seemed particularly crazy. He had a long ponytail and wore big aviator sunglasses even though by this time it was 11pm. My favorite part was when he started spinning two fiery orbs on the end of chains like a buzz saw in front of him, and then somersaulting over them. Then he got up on another guys shoulders (standing) and spun them wildly while the guy on the bottom ran around the beach or 'stage'. I thought that was pretty crazy, but then he sprinted into the crowd and ran a lap around us. The whole time the guy on top was ducking under tree branches and screaming wildly. Most were terrified but I thought it was really cool.
The next day we checked out of the hotel and went on a hike to a waterfall. It's a pretty popular place, but the path was still difficult to traverse. We finally reached it and got to go for a swim. Despite its popularity, only about half the people were going in. Most were just taking pictures and leaving. The water was great. It was cooler and a lot more comfortable than the bathwater in the bay from the day before. We did some more jumping in here. Then, before we left, we moved down to the next tier of waterfall pool where there were almost no people. There was a little restaurant as we left that had the most delicious chicken I've had in a while. It was fresh of the spit and you ate with sticky rice which just means you clump the two together, dip in a sauce, and enjoy. Sensational! We ended up eating a lot and I educated them on proper bone tower etiquette. The trip back was fun. We saw a sign that offered 2.3 acres for sale which I briefly considered.
So now I'm all done with courses I'm fully in the job/apt hunt. I posted my resume online and have already got a couple offers which is nice. I'm still trying to find a perfect one though. There's one that sounds really nice but it's a little too far removed from the city (which might not actually be a bad thing). Also AUA is looking for applicants and they're the best language school in Thailand, says Jam. So things are looking up. I had a little problem with my bank but that got resolved and now I'm right on the precipice of moving to Bangkok. I don't know whether to find a good apt and get a job nearby, or to try and live near work. Getting around in Bangkok is tough and I'd like to make it as painless as possible.
I didn't bring my camera to Koh Chang (doh) but others did and the pictures are fantastic. I'll put up some of Laos kayaking in the meantime.
Be excellent to each other!