Man cannot live on drinks and beach alone. So we put down our drinking straws and folded our little pink umbrellas, and went on a hike.
We woke up early in the morning, as Katie (A friend from college I met over here) is wont to do for her morning jog, and we ate breakfast at Nira’s Home Bakery, a decent, but by no means special place to eat. Though they do have somewhat real coffee, and by that I mean it isn’t nescafe. So we ate, and we drank, and we wifi’ed it up, then we bought a bottle of 10 baht drinking water and began our hike.
Well, we couldn’t find the trailhead. So we walked back and forth on this dirt road looking for anything that resembled a path, and after an hour, we still hadn’t found the beginning of this so-called hike. And all the while, the map tells us it is a two hour hike. Well, eff you map, I’m pretty sure no one uses this trail.
Eventually a lady watering her garden pointed us up this little path between two buildings that could have been anything. As in a path used by animals, or kids, or ants. It wasn’t much.
Another long hour later we found the path after the path. It wasn’t well marked.
So we hiked through this somewhat dense jungle and came across several abandoned bungalows and an old squat toilet, and we walked, and walked, and ducked and scraped. Going up false trails and abandoning them as did those before us. And the familiar fear of reaching ration-level amounts of water struck again.
Meanwhile, the low lying branches of every concievable type of scratchy plant in existence scraped our sunburned skin as if to say, “You’re not welcome here.” And we weren’t. The jungle seemed angry at our gumption. And so was the gigantic wasp-like creature that clung to my right shoulder as I ducked through some low lying foliage, giving me a nice sharp sting. I had nightmares of being semi-comatose in the jungle, waiting helplessly on the dense insect-ridden floor shaking uncontrollably from this unidentified poisonous insect. But thank god that didn’t come to pass because that wasp was no poison-ridden insect of lore. No. It was just a wasp, and a weak one at that.
Two hours later, after stumbling into what was possibly a weed farm (“The Island” style), we found ourselves in a dried up creek bed.
That was my fault. I thought it was a path. I was wrong, and there were none of the crudely painted signs on palms and boulders pointing one in the direction of “HT” or “HY” in sight. (the beaches Haad Thian, and Haad Yuan, respectively). No. There were just boulders and trees that had spikes growing out of them that screamed of violence and spite. But the slope we had gone down was now too steep to climb back up, especially for me, the brilliant one that wore only my slippers. So, we forged ahead into the now pathless jungle.
As Katie grew increasingly angry I did my best to reassure her that, yes, we were going downhill, and yes I had a compass that could point us in the direction of that irresistible ocean that would cleanse our filthy bodies. But again, even I had visions of being lost and helpless in an unfriendly jungle of snake-sized millipedes and flesh-eating ants.
But, after sliding down the steep leaf-strewn slopes of the jungles of Koh Phagnan, we ran into the path, as I hoped we would, and it led us in a slightly easier fashion to the small dirt road that led us to the beach that led us to our greatest discovery yet.
Bungalows. The kind you dream about. The ones with hammocks overlooking an uninhabited bay and little restaurants and the ones that only cost 150 Baht per night. That’s 5 bucks. Split between two people. That’s two dollars and fifty cents. A night. Each.
Needless to say I squated down at the first one I came across and they threw beneath my sweat-drenched ass a garbage bag covered seat, and I drank a coke.
After a few hours of lounging about, we took a boat taxi back and licked our wounds, and laughed at our ineptitude, and I took a nap. Well-deserved. Another day on an island in a gulf I know less than enough about.