AsiaRound The World TripThailand

Thailand: Koh Tao

Dive Master (no longer in training!) – Day #15

This is our last day of diving.  We’re catching a flight to Singapore tomorrow afternoon, and it’s dangerous to dive less than 24 hours before a flight.  So Jon went out for the morning dive, but I elected to take another dry day.  I’ll probably regret this decision later, but my paranoid mental state yesterday proves that I needed an extra day off.

Jon took off at 7:30 for the morning boat, and I did some administrative work in the room.  Not worth going into details, but let’s just say that it was dull enough that I got sucked into some ridiculous Scott Baio movie – and I actually watched it.

Lunch at Babylon

Around noon, I went down to the dive center to meet Jon and go to lunch.  Since today is our last day, we decided to walk into town to Babylon for falafels.  Today was very hot and sunny – a nice change from the previous days of hot and rainy.  So we worked up quite a sweat walking into town.  But it was worth it.  The falafel and schwarma were just what we wanted. 

After lunch, we went to the Internet Cafe to take care of some other administrative stuff.  Why is it that the last days in any location always seem to be administrative days?  Who knows.  We are very, very sad to be leaving Koh Tao tomorrow.  This island is lovely and the people are terrific.  If we could, we would stay.  But in order to do that we have to change at least 4 flights (8 if you count both of us).  And at $75 a pop, it’s cheaper for us to continue the trip and try to come back later on.  We are amazingly low on money right now.

Since I don’t have anything exciting to write about for today, I think I’ll use the space to describe Koh Tao and Ban’s Diving.

Koh Tao

Koh Tao is hardly a developed island.  The roads are all dirt roads, full of craters and tree roots.  Every once in a while, someone will put palm leaves over a particularly bumpy part of the road.  As if this would help the erosion.  But the lack of infrastructure adds to the charm.  Mark told Jon that he waited two years to get a telephone line.  This is because the phone company doesn’t make the trip to lay cables unless they have a certain number of customers waiting.

There are stray dogs EVERYWHERE on this island.  None of them are particularly fierce, but it’s still a bit disconcerting.  When we first arrived, a Vet was planning to come to the island to eliminate any dog without a collar.  After that, the dog population cleared up for a while but then seemed to become just as bad as before.

Hot water showers don’t exist here.  It’s not really necessary because it’s always so hot.  Usually, a hot shower is the last thing a person wants after a long day of diving.  Despite this, I still haven’t become used to the cold water that greets me each time I turn on the shower tap.  I actually don’t think that anyone has hot water here.  I’m not even sure if there’s a swanky resort on the island to boast hot water showers.

Ban’s

Ban’s is one of the two largest dive schools on the island.  However, this isn’t saying much because it’s still a pretty rudimentary place.  Our A/C room was $15/night which included TV, linens, towels, and occasional maid service.  But no toilet paper.  That, we had to buy from one of the various convenience stores.  If we do end up coming back here, we would get a monthly place without A/C.  This lack of air conditioning will either kill Jon or will cause the end of our blissful marriage.  Either way, Jon’s going to suffer.  But it doesn’t really matter because we may not be able to afford the flight back anyway.

Ban’s has a pool which is really used for confined Open Water training although we do see a tourist hanging out on the lounge chairs every once in a while.  The apartments are up a little hill from the beach.  This path up the hill begins with a little gazebo over a fish-filled pond, and ends at the pool.  Halfway along the path, there is a little cage with two pet rabbits.  I’ve never seen anyone feeding or playing with the rabbits, but they look healthy and well cared-for so someone loves them.  There are also stray dogs that have adopted various places around Ban’s as their home.  One of them recently had puppies, so there are three little pups and a momma at the foot of our stairs every day looking up at us as if to say, “How can you resist me?  Feed me!!”

And yet, we resist.

The Last Supper

In the evening, we went to pay our bill (ouch), to finalize Dive Master paperwork, and to make sure that we had emails for all the appropriate people.  Nothing was really going on at Ban’s, and the DMT crowd was talking about going to see a movie.  Since it was a quiet night, Jon and I made our way down to AC’s for our last dinner of Massuman Chicken and a movie.  The movie of the evening was “Reservoir Dogs” which held significant potential for our evening.  Unfortunately, the sound quality was pretty shotty.  So after we finished our dinners we decided to leave.  Back in the room, one of my all-time favorite movies “The Hunt For Red October” was showing on HBO so I settled in for an evening with Sean Connery.  Yummy.