After struggling through a bus-bus-ferry-tuk-tuk-ute journey to Koh Pha Ngan, an island off the east coast in the south of the country, and hooking up with my new Canadian travel buddy in a bungalow not too far from the shore, it all turned to pear-shaped custard.
Drugged and robbed.
Not good and not even vaguely amusing.
Previously ... Me and Tayler (my new temporary travel mate) arranged the accommodation and then headed off the the main party beach of Haad Rin. Within a few minutes Cookie and Pickle, two very gorgeous English girls (and previous temproary travel mates of Tayler's in Krabi) had joined us and we chatted as you do when you don't have to talk about work because you don't actually have a job any more.
After a while I apparently began to act a little strangely (and you can keep your simplistic sarcastic remarks to yourself thanks), walked off to find the toilet, and returned thirty-six hours later, more than a little disturbed.
I have no desire to postulate the why and wherefore of it all, but I have to say that I remained non compus mentus all that time later. Of course, no wallet, no credit cards, no anything-that-had-been-in-my-wallet at the time was on my person, but I still had all limbs and a operating nervous system, so not too bad really.
I can't really describe fully how I felt emotionally, I think I was a bit frightened. Actually, I was quite paranoid. I don't remember where I woke up, I don't remember how I returned to the bungalow, but I was hugely thankful to the Canadian lad who had held the room in absentia and now looked after me, accompanying me to a make a phone call to the lovely people at Lost and Stolen Cards desk the ANZ bank.
Those of you who know me well will know of my attitude toward the ANZ bank, and perhaps recollect the death threat I offered one staff member some years back in the York St branch. Well, let's put all that in the past. These guys were great and stayed on the phone while I tried to remember my name, address, security codes and colour of my undies. That done, we needed to organise a new card, but today my barely operating neurological thingies had had a full work out and I decided to leave that for another call another time. Perhaps when I got to India where everything would be easier to organise ... The bitch at the phone call centre took full advantage of my catatonic state and charged me an outrageous amount of cash. At that point I no longer cared but silently wished her a very unfulfilled and uneventful life, and then I suddenly needed to sleep.
When my senses returned I became incredibly angry with myself - I brooded and mooched for a whole day (former housemates and family members need no further explanation, and at this point I would still like to say I am much more mature these days). After that I attempted to soothe my battered ego - I mean, just how goddamn stupid am I - and decided that the best thing to do would be to return to the beach and begin Betrand Russell's 'Introduction to Western Philosophy'. But after realising that the Pre-Socratics were in no position to help me, I left Thales, Aximander, Heraticlus and decided that I just need to accept that I am a total wanker, but happy that my parents had not entertained Greek names when I was born.
After so many travels to places around the planet, this was the first time such a thing had happened (apart from that mildy funny botched mugging in Dhaka last year). Only money and credit cards were gone and my colossal ego slightly mutilated, so time to get over it and move on. I hesitated briefly between Chapter 6 'the Atomists' or the dog-eared copy of 'The Da Vinci Code', and settled back in the sun to read the book that everyone else on the planet had already read too, possibly more than once.
Big problem now was, with South East Asia's largest gathering about to happen in less than forty-eight hours' time (the infamous Full Moon Party), how was I going to cope now that I had decided the clue was not to drink anymore?
Problem solved. My temporary travel mates told me I had no choice. I was going to drink.
Full Moon Party, here we come.
Might leave my remaining valuables in a safer place though ...
Wednesday, March 23, 2005