Thailand: Monkey Bites and Motor Bikes

My day got off to a good start. I roll out of bed at my leisure and get ready to eat some breakfast. Two of the girls are gone when I wake up so it’s just me and Cara. We walk up to the reception area of the place we’re staying in, to find out if they have rooms available for Ilona and Carrie when they arrive in Koh Lanta this afternoon. (In case you were wondering, I’ve given up on trying to leave out names to avoid confusion. Pretend you know them.) We get distracted from our question when we notice Jack the monkey tied up outside to a tree. Jack is about the height of my forearm and very skinny. He’s just a little baby monkey and is apparently very friendly. When we walk over to him, I’m skeptical at first because he is still wild in every regard besides his little leash, but he’s so adorable I can’t help but want to play with him. He’s eager for some attention and climbs up my arm without hesitation when I reach out my hand. Cara, one of the boys we met yesterday from Waterloo, and I all take turns holding Jack. I see him chewing on the plastic around Cara’s water bottle holder and realize it could be dangerous if he swallows any pieces, so I make the mistake of trying to pull it away from him. Jack the monkey does not like this at all, and lunges at my forearm, bites me, and digs his claws into me. My reaction is no better, and I shake my arm hysterically until he goes flying off. Luckily, his bite didn’t actually break my flesh there are just teeth marks on forearm, but around the side of my arm I have a small cut from his nails which is bleeding. I am not too worried, because I don’t think these people would keep a monkey as a pet who has rabies, and it was only his nail that really cut me, but I will definitely be keeping an eye on it. Jack and I are no longer friends…but he’s still cute.

Just after I am bitten AJ and Sarah come back with motorbikes. We will need them to get around Koh Lanta so they rent two which can each fit one driver and one passenger on the back seat. We all walk over to the resort across the road where they have a breakfast buffet. We miss the buffet but can still order off a menu so I do, and I order breakfast sausage with my eggs, hoping that MAYBE at a resort they will have the real deal, but I am again, presented with a hot dog. Silly me. I just can’t give it up.
The other people we met from Waterloo also come to the resort for breakfast and while we’re chatting we arrange to meet up after to go scooter around the island. There are some caves and waterfalls worth seeing as well as a market area we’d like to visit.
We go back to the bungalows and change before hopping on our scooters. AJ drives ours, as I’ve never done it before. Even though I think I’d be good at it, I don’t want to risk AJ’s life on the back of it while I test it out, and we don’t have time for me to practice so she drives. She also doesn’t like the idea of having my life in her hands and feels slightly uneasy on the scooter but I trust her just the same. I wear my helmet though… just in case.

The first place we drive too is a cave on the south shore. On our way around a gravel corner leading up to the cave we lose control of the bike as we’re breaking on the gravel and fall off. We are only going about 5 km an hour when we fall, so we both escape relatively unharmed. AJ scrapes her knee and hand, and my toes had folded over funny when we fell so I cut the top of my second toe, and the bottom of my big toe. It stings a little bit, and I wish we’d thought to bring a first aid kit, but it doesn’t hurt enough that I can’t continue on so I do.
Unfortunately when we get to the cave we’re told that it costs 300 baht ($10) to get in, and we have to wait until 1:30. None of us want to do either of those things so we decided to drive somewhere else instead. Someone suggests the beach because it’s super hot today, and we are on an island after all. The boys from Waterloo lead the way, I get back on the motor bike with AJ and we drive up a mountain road just high enough that I am confused about how this is leading us to a beach. Just when I start to wonder where we’re going, we pull over into a cliff side restaurant. Apparently this is the way to the beach. We walk through the restaurant to the other side where I can see the ocean down below us. We climb down some questionable stairs of different shapes and sizes, with only a bamboo pole to help us keep balance lining the side all the way down. It takes us down to a completely empty beach with a small abandoned long boat on the shore. The beach is rocky and full of shells but the water is wavy and cool so we drop our stuff in the long boat and run down to the water.

It’s such a clear day that I can see Koh Phi Phi and some other islands off in the distance on the horizon. The water is refreshing and salty, with strong waves crashing against the rocks by the shore. It’s absolutely beautiful and I can’t believe that we are the only people here, there’s nothing better than finding your own beach. Eventually some small groups of other people do come down to swim as well, but it’s still such a good find. We stay in the water for about an hour (though I never have a concept of time over here) before we get hungry and decide to go somewhere for lunch. We climb back up the steep steps and decide not to stay at the cliff side restaurant but to drive over to a market for a quick and cheap lunch instead. This time I get on a bike with one of the guys from Waterloo, because AJ feels more comfortable only carrying her life in her hands after falling. We find a “market” area with two stores and a tiny restaurant next to it where we all order Pad Thai. It’s a late lunch, at 3:30pm, but the portion sizes are so small here that we will surely be hungry again by dinner time.

After lunch we hop back on our bikes and drive back to the guesthouse where we find Ilona and Carrie. I wash off my monkey bite and toes in cold water, which look pretty nasty after being covered in sand at the beach. The toes, not my monkey bite…that looks the same.

We meet the group from Waterloo in the outdoor common area of our bungalows where there is a fireplace and a small bar. We hang out and chat until later into the night when we decide to go out to the bars. When I say bars I mean a 10 minute drive crammed into the back of a truck to the downtown area, where there are 1 or 2 people in each bar on the strip. We choose to go to Mr. Guitar Bar, for some live Thai music. We are next to the only people in the bar next to a group of lady boys at another table. I like sitting at a bar with locals and listening to Thai music, it’s a nice change from all the tourists and top 40 on Phi Phi. The bar is fun for a little bit but we prefer to be at a slightly more lively location so we find a tuk tuk and ask him to take us to a good bar. He drops us off at a Reggae Bar where we are legit the only people this time, besides some tuk tuk drivers who are drinking in between pick-ups, I guess. So sketchy.
What’s even more sketchy is the menu, which lists “Happy Shakes” among regular items like beers and mojitos. We are hungry so we order some food but the waiter keeps asking us if we’re okay and if we need anything else, like perhaps a happy shake. We keep telling him that we’re happy with the regular food and drink, and he doesn’t seem to understand why we don’t want to drink a drug shake, but does eventually stop asking. We get out of there as soon as we’re done eating and go back to our hotel because it’s clear that absolutely nothing else is open. Instead of going straight to bed, we go for a quick dip in the pool beside the ocean, where we would have swam but there were so many crabs on the beach and it was dark so we stay poolside instead. We go back to the bungalows where I fall asleep almost instantly.

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