Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

So, rather than trying to get some relaxing vacation done in India, we buggered off to Thailand. A quick four hour flight to Bangkok, then another hour flight to Koh Samui, and there we were, on a tiny little airport with conveyor belts under a bamboo roof. A little boat brought us to Koh Pha Ngan, where we switch to an even smaller boat, and finally we get to a little beach, a couple of nice huts, a small restaurant, Thai massages, steam baths, peace and quiet – exactly what the doctor ordered.

I took us a couple of days until the fact sunk in that Thailand ain’t India. While we cannot walk five meters in Mumbai without getting stared at, without getting harassed about something or other, Thais apparently couldn’t care less about their tourists – and that’s A Good Thing. Nobody trying to sell us anything, nobody yelling “Hello Foreigner!”, no retarded young boys running around all giggly, holding hands, or driving around in their Tata trucks with Bollywood music blasting out of the open windows. Instead, people are quiet, calm, reserved. The streets and shops are amazingly clean and organized. What little we saw of Bangkok from the air looked like a well-functioning modern city. No potholes, for a change. Roads actually have markings. Real cars instead of rickshaws.

In short, compared to Mumbai, Thailand was pure paradise. I didn’t even mind that I was sick as a dog for two days when we got there. A couple of days later, we were cruising around the island on a dirt bike, visiting a crazy Buddhist monk in his little temple, checked out some other beaches, and tried snorkeling. We gave up on snorkeling very quickly, because the water was full of slightly stinging fish eggs in jelly (or whatever it was), but who cares. The Thai massages were fantastic, the steam room was great, the restaurant food was not too bad, and the other guests were mostly bearable. We passed on a number of party events and instead slept forever and were generally obscenely lazy.