Alright. I know. I haven’t posted in quite awhile and I apologize. I do. I’ve been slightly busy traveling around and, when I wasn’t traveling around, being a bit lazy.
Again, a thousand apologies, my friends! I hope you can somehow find it in your kind and loving hearts to forgive me.
Now, let’s get back in to it!
December 31st, 2014- January, 2nd 2015
Along with a few other foreign teachers from our school, Matt and I traveled to Koh Chang, a somewhat nearby island, to celebrate New Year’s.
The journey was about eight hours in length and we trekked from Chonburi to the island via a tour bus, three song taos, and a ferry. It was quite the exhausting adventure, but fortunately, we drank beer throughout the entirety of it, which made it significantly easier and more fun!
Koh Chang in the distance from the ferry dock; Koh Chang up close from the ferry
The view of Koh Chang on the back of a Song Tao
When we arrived, we dropped off our things and decided to satisfy our hunger by grabbing some burgers. Since it was a tourist spot, there was plenty of Western grub to feast on. Considering that this was a rarity in Chonburi, we decided to dive in– and it was certainly gratifying.
After our meal, we returned to our room that we were splitting with a fellow teacher and got ready for the evening’s festivities, which included showering, dressing, and taking shots of cheap and not exactly taste bud stimulating liquor.
We met the other teachers we came to the island with afterwards at a tiki bar on the beach. It had plenty of tables, a tiki bar (obviously), a Christmas tree, and a surprisingly awesome DJ. We drank cheap buckets (literal sandcastle-sized buckets filled with a lot of liquor and a dash of chaser), then headed over to another, more “hippie” area of the island that was only a fifteen minute walk from where we were.
The Tiki Bar we went to for New Year’s
We danced, listened to amazing techno music, and drank some more buckets and beers. It was fantastic!
Matt and our friend Paul dancing at the other bar
Dancing with our friends at the same bar as above
Dancing with our friends and also with a few randoms
Even more dancing!
As the clock neared 12, we headed back over to the Tiki bar. When the clock did strike twelve, there were deafening cheers from the large crowd of people, fireworks blasting above, and shots of tequila being distributed amongst us. The entire bar was exuberant. Friends and even strangers were hugging in the excitement of the new year.
As you could probably guess, I don’t really recall the rest of the evening. It’s just a blur of drinks, dancing, techno music, and laughter. It was a spectacular evening spent with new and good friends in a foreign place filled with happy, easy-going people. It was the perfect way to ring in the new year.
Matt (left) and our friends in front of Song Taos
The next day, horrendous hangovers were experienced by all, as was expected. Matt and I were struggling most of the day but, we were leaving the next day, unfortunately. So, Matt came up with the plan to ride elephants, since we had seen signs near our hotel for it. At first, I was reluctant due to my queasy stomach, but decided to do it anyway, since I love elephants and, well, Koh Chang means “Elephant Island” in English, so it seemed like no place would be better than there to do it.
We signed up for it, but had to wait an hour until the next tour began. So, we walked along the beach, which was, just like most beaches in Thailand, not a disappointment.
After our walk, we returned to the tour guide building and went to ride elephants via pickup truck with a tourist agency employee an hour later. When we got there, we didn’t see any elephants, but after waiting for about twenty minutes, the elephants gradually marched their way over to us. Finally, one of the tour guides called us up. We climbed some stairs, stepped onto a female adult elephant’s back, and sat onto a rather shaky and small bench. With a tour guide sitting on the elephant’s neck and us on our bench behind him, we were on our way.
We trekked through the jungle in a line of about five elephants, all holding tourists and tour guides on their backs. The ride was a bit bumpier than you might imagine. The way the enormous creature walks is quite slow and causes the bench seat to sway left to right with each step.
Atop our elephant friend; another elephant holding people behind us
We eventually made our way to a pool of water, where another elephant with other tourists was swimming and playing. We watched in excitement until it was our turn. When our elephant entered the water, Matt went in first and was on our elephant’s bareback as she dipped and waved her body from side to side, causing him to plunge into the water with her while holding onto her neck. After Matt’s turn was over, it was mine. Our elephant did the same with me. I felt her skin and noticed it was rough, thick and speckled with two-inch-long black hairs.
Matt and I bathing with our elephant!
Unfortunately, my turn was a bit shorter than anyone else’s, which honestly wasn’t all that unfortunate because the water was freezing (I wasn’t used to cold water in Thailand!) and filthy! So, I dismounted (with a struggle) our elephant before she was drawn out of the water. Then, after managing to get back onto her reattached bench seat, we made our way back to the main area where we first met the elephants (not without stopping for pictures, though!).
Matt, our elephant, and I; me wearing a leaf crown our tour guide made for me
In complete exhaustion, we finally hopped back into the pickup truck we came in on and drove back to our hotel.
That night, we didn’t do much except rest and eventually fall asleep (quite the exhausting vacation!). The next day, we woke up rather early and Matt, the other teacher we were sharing the room with, and I sadly made our journey back to Chonburi. It was overall a wonderful few days filled with excitement, fun, happiness, and relaxation. It was the perfect vacation and, if I could go back, I would without hesitation.
Thanks for reading, guys! I swear, I’ll (try to) be more punctual with my next posting!
Next up: Teacher’s Sports Day, Visa Run to Laos, and Teacher “Appreciation Day”