After reaching our destination of Cherngtaley and securing a form of transportation, the following days were filled with sand and sun. Too much sun, of course—the sunburn I’m sporting will be painful for many days to come.
Weather was mostly perfect—blue skies and high temperatures. There was a little bit of rain on one day, but that wasn’t what chased us away from the beach.
Instead, it was what we thought were sea lice, but is actually something related to the reproductive system of jellyfish. Just like jellyfish, they’re floating out in the ocean, stinging whatever comes by. Unlike jellyfish, they’re impossible to see and the sting is only a brief discomfort. We must have been swimming in a breeding ground, though, and we got out after only 10 minutes in the water.
Our beach sessions have been otherwise quite pleasant. Sun-worshiping tourists, hailing mostly from Italy by the sound of it, paid homage from the hot sand and the 100-baht deck chairs. Men in speedos and women, occasionally topless, bobbed in the water or power-walked from one end of the beach to the other.
The water, when it wasn’t raining, was a sparkling turquoise. The beach we spent the most time at had just a sandy bottom with a few schools of small fish that would skim the top of the water at dusk. One day Brian took us to the very southern part of the island to go snorkeling, and the number and variety of fish swimming around there was fantastic. Angelfish, trumpet fish, Dory fish (from “Nemo”), and many more that I can’t identify without a guide darted in and out of the coral. I floated through a school of tiny flashing fish and felt like a party girl surrounded by falling confetti.
In the evenings, Brian took us to see different parts of his island: eating dinner in the town where he works (as a university English teacher), climbing the hill to Big Buddha, watching the writhing bodies of Patong’s over-sexed nightlife.