Ollie in die Swembad (Part 2)

Day 2 of our tale is one of spontaneous island getaways… or rather, one spontaneous island getaway. After getting our feet wet in the early morning high tide, Wayne posited the idea to hire a longtail to take us to Koh Kradan. He said it would be 2500 Baht between us for the boat ($80, give or take; between 10 people, not too bad), it was about a 40 minute journey, and that we’d need to leave soon-ish because the swells get too big in late afternoon to make a safe passage. We thought it sounded great.

at the pier

puppy’s first boat ride!

ollie’s face actually represents about how i was feeling at this point… turns out the swells were already pretty big, and there were noticeable exhaust fumes making their way around my respiratory passages, and it was sooo loud… nice scenery though!

we made it!

I’d say it took a little longer than 40 minutes, but eventually we did make it. Koh Kradan is known to be a bit of a sleepier island, and as it was low season anyway we knew it might take some searching in order to find a restaurant, or any sign of civilization. The first thing we noticed was an advertisement for a resort on the Sunset beach, which was allegedly 5 minutes away in the direction of an arrow pointing us towards the island’s interior. So we set off.

ollie the trailblazer

hard to see, but the sea is right there past the trees. the trail took us to a dead end; there wasn’t even a beach but instead rocks that dropped off straight into the water. turns out we’d passed the resort without even realizing because it was very much closed.

so we headed back. did i mention that the advertised ‘5 minutes’ were also a bit of an under-estimation?

back on the original side of the island, now with 20 minutes of our allotted 2 hours gone, walking the shoreline to find a restaurant. again, at least there was phenomenal scenery!

We finally found a restaurant, as part of a gorgeous resort. This was the closest Ollie came to actually being in a swembad; there was a swimming pool there but though we were arriving with clear intentions of eating in their restaurant, we were informed that the pool was for guests of the hotel only. This sat especially poorly with us when we discovered the prices on the menu to be around 10 times, in some cases, what would normally be spent on a meal. (No really… fried rice, easily a 30-40 Baht dish on menus we’re used to, was going for 280 Baht! Daylight robbery!) Alas, we were most of us famished and had to take it on the chin.

uncle and nephew. hahaha! favorite.

Turns out the way back was even worse, from a sea-sickness perspective, than the way there. The exhaust fumes seemed to be hovering around us for the entire journey, and though we were riding with the waves (“longtail surfing,” as it were) the motion had us all feeling a bit queasy. But we were determined not to lose our $10 lunches, and so resorted to a lot of breathing-through-various-forms-of-cloth and even to rubbing a bit of my peppermint lip balm under our noses. Somewhere in the recesses of my memory I was sure I’d heard that the smell of peppermint fights nausea? Anyway, mad props to our driver… he was clearly an expert in his field.

almost back

chris has found his happy place: playing FIFA with the local chillins.

walking back from the pier to our campsite

nearly-full moon at the mediocre seafood restaurant at the pier.

After a sub-par dinner at the restaurant on the pier (in fairness, the American guy we’d met the day before had recommended that we not eat there, suggesting another place instead. Alas, we could not remember how to get there and went against his good advice.) we had another fun night around the fire. In the morning we had another breakfast of runny eggs before beginning the journey home.

look who got the toast that fell on the floor!

‘i am ready to return.’

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Ollie in die Swembad (Part 1)

When Wayne and I took our trip to Pak Meng back in March, and discovered the near-by beach of Haad Yao (literally “Long Beach”), we just knew that at some point in the future it would need to be a venue for a group camping trip. Talk began amongst the farang in Thung Song a few weeks ago, but it was the three-day weekend that fell last week that finally provided the opportunity for the trip.

A big group of us went down Saturday morning: five in Henk’s car, five in O’s car, and Jean and Jahan on their motorcycles. Sorry, did I say only five in Henk’s car? Looks like I’m forgetting one very important addition to the trip…

me, claire, collette, and our furry companion in the back of henk’s car.

that’s right! mr ollie got to come along too.

Thung Song has recently come into many a South African and American resident; with the exception of Kellie-the-Irish-Girl, Jahan-the-Persian-Swede, and two Thai friends, the campers all hailed from the two countries. As a result, there was a lot of Afrikaans to be heard over the course of the weekend, either in the form of real conversation between native speakers or of the occasional curse word finding its way through the unsuspecting lips of a giddy American (I’ll let you guess which American). At some point or another an idea for a children’s book based around our weekend, entitled Ollie in die Swembad (Ollie in the Swimming Pool) was voiced, and while the chances of this work ever being published (or completed. Or even started, for that matter) are slim at best, I thought at the very least my blog title could be an homage to the idea. (Spoiler alert: Ollie never actually found himself in a swimming pool in the course of the weekend.)

There were actually only four campers: Wayne and myself in one tent; Collette and Claire in another. The rest hunkered down into the clean and comfortable bungalows available right there on the beach. This provided a touch of luxury to the camping experience; we were able to use their bathrooms/showers/storage capacity during our stay as well. It was definitely low season; even the one restaurant that had been open for Wayne’s and my last visit was closed, but the owners of the bungalow were happy to whip up some fried rice for us when we got hungry, and some breakfast in the morning (though the eggs were generally either burnt or completely runny, with no middle ground).

Soon after our arrival we met yet another American, who was living in the area with his Thai wife and their two gorgeous daughters, Winnie and Lily. He invited us to a barbecue at the pier that night where there would be many other foreigners. We appreciated the gesture, but as it turns out we’d already been planning on our own cook-out. Plus Henk and Jean had a fire-building competition we were all eagerly anticipating, so we were happy to remain at home base for the night.

collette and lily

papa jahan was very proud of the FBI status his shirt allegedly entitled him to. he swore to protect us all.

haha… we heard a drink drop, and then an, “ollie! why you do that!” we really do think ollie’s a big scapegoat, but this picture does suggest he might have been just a tad complicit.

bungalows and backdrop

turns out the moments following a rainstorm make for an excellent time to walk up and down the beach.


my amazingly pigeon-toed footprints…

boys stoking the fire.

wayne and winnie

preparing the vegan veggie skewers (haha, redundant perhaps?)

boys being boys

papa’s big catch.

the only way to bake a potato.

chris is having the THAIme of his life! (true story; chris had come across my blog when he was still in south africa seeking information about thung song. he didn’t realize this was the case until the first time he came to our house and met ollie, who was recognizable to him. it stands to reason that neither wayne nor myself left much of an impression on him whatsoever.)

also having a great THAIme.

those who find themselves in early slumber acquire strange bedfellows.

everyone gets a photo with the fish!

haha… family portrait!

The next day brought even more excitement in the form of a random trip to Koh Kradan, but you’ll have to wait for Part 2 for that.