From Ao Nang to Koh Tao
Shasta and I woke up at 5am to be ready out front of the hostel by 6am. There was another backpacker waiting outside for a bus with his bag when we arrived.
The ticket for this journey was $900 baht per person. That's around $28 USD.
Our mini bus arrived almost 20min late and it was only a pickup for Shasta and I. The Brazilian backpacker sitting with us was going to have to wait longer.
It was about an 8 hour journey from pick up by bus in Ao Nang with a stop over at a transfer shack in the middle of nowhere that felt like a mafia hangout. Then to the boat. At the boat I was told I'd ride to the first stop, stay on and then get off at the 2nd stop transfering boats. The second boat I was on would take me to Koh Tao and it did, arriving around 3pm.
It was a long journey but not a difficult one, thankfully.
Mafia style transfer shack
We got a taxi after getting off the boat. I showed the driver the address to the Crossfit box I wanted to go to and told him we didn't have accommodations. I told him I'd like to stay in that area for around $200 baht a night so he drove us to a few places.
We ended up at the Good Dream guest house paying $600 baht for a private room with a fan. So $300 baht each. It was the better deal because it seemed most dorm beds were going for $350 baht. This island isn't as cheap as it once was. It's a tourist/ divers paradise with dive shops galore!
After we got settled in to our place I changed into my gym clothes and headed out to find the Crossfit box. And also to see if there was actually a cheaper place to stay near by and look for a place to buy my ticket to Bangkok.
I found the Crossfit box first. Jackie greeted me inside. She was a very sweet girl from Switzerland who came here to get dive certified and ended up staying. She's dating the owner of the Crossfit box, brad who is originally from California.
I visited with her until the 5:15pm class that her and I took together. We were the only 2 in the class with Brad as our coach. He warned me that there hadn't been a 5:15 class for a few days now because of so many members being out of town but I didn't care about the class size.
It was an ass whooping of a class, they always are. That's why Crossfit athletes talk about doing crossfit as much as they do. Because it's hard and THEY can't even believe what they are accomplishing.
After class Jackie had me jump on the back of her bike and she drive me up the hill to check out 2 other accommodations she knew of. They were both more then what I was already paying.
When I returned back to my room Shasta was right where I had left her. I took a shower and we headed out together to keep looking for a Bangkok ticket (for me) and to get some dinner.
The next day Shasta and I rented scooters for $200B (around $6 USD). Shasta asked me to lead the way so I did. I could hear her yell something at me from behind but I couldn't understand her. Within seconds of her yelling I realized what she was saying as I had a truck and motorbikes headed straight at me! Ugh! It seems ill never get used to driving on the left side of the road. I quickly corrected myself.
We drove up the hill to the fitness cafe for a great, healthy non rice &/or noodles breakfast. I had Granola, Greek yogurt (to help my currently sensitive stomach), salmon, hummus and gluten free seed crackers with a ginger honey lemon iced tea.
Once we were back on the road in search of the nice beaches of the islands, I saw a man on a scooter with a monkey in his side cart. Not your typical man on a bike with "mans best friend" in side car. I had to do a double take. There's a saying here in Thailand that's become so popular they have made a shirt with the saying on it. "Same, same but different."
This saying would apply to what I had seen. A monkey in a side car vs. a dog in a side car.
We drove the bikes out a ways until we came to a split where we then turned right and followed signs to beach parking. I had been given directions to this beach from a couple associated with the Crossfit box. It was a beach with a long and narrow concrete bridge, we had to walk around a bend to arrive at a shaded beach with a snorkeling area.
We only stayed here an hour or so before heading a little further up the road to Sharks cove. A very rocky area with great snorkeling and lots of small black tipped sharks. We spent another hour or 2 here.
Shasta snorkeled with her gear and I swam. As I was standing in the water talking to a Canadian girl on the rocks above me a small black tipped shark swam past my leg. Of course I didn't have my camera on me.
I decided I wanted to waste some gas since I had foolishly filled the tank of my bike. I woukdnt be getting any money back for the extra gas when I returned it. I thought I'd go thru a full tank but I didn't realize the island has very few roads! There's not even an road that goes around the entire island! I tried to find that non existent road and failed, twice. So we went back to our place so I could get ready for Crossfit, around 2pm.
Ridding my bike to crossfit, going there with my own transportation gave me a sense of living on the island. It was a nice feeling. I enjoyed becoming fast friends with Jackie and Brad from the box as well. Crossfit boxes generally have a great community that eagerly welcomes you. The day before when I met them, it really helped calm my anxiousness for wanting to get moving faster on my trip.
The workout was yet another brutal one. Basically this one was 3 workouts in one class period. A warm up, then a 3 rep max dead lift, then a 10min workout doing 10 of an exercise on every minute and resting with whatever time you have left from that minute. Yeah, that's kind of hard to explain. Then outside for a 1200 meter timed run.
I really can't believe the amount of sweat that pours out of me during these workouts I've done in crazy humidity!
Side note! I asked Brad during class why so many Thai's had birds in cages in their homes and in the I business. I noticed the same in Bali. I was really happy that he had an answer for me! One of the great mysteries of travel in Asia so far!
He said they try to teach the birds commands and how to talk (much like training a dog) and then groups of people get together for basically a competition. There's a judge and one person goes at a time and if that persons bird performs on que then they win a prize. Usually a fan for their home or something in that regards. What's funny is these aren't parrots or the type of bird you usually teach how to talk.
After the WOD I said my goodbyes to brad and Jackie and went home to shower. Then i was rushing out the door to find a place to do my laundry over night and to buy my ticket to Bangkok. It was a night full if errands, kind of like I did live there.
I snagged Shasta from the cave that is our room and we rode to the peir on our bikes in search of the taco shack. Best tacos I have had in awhile! Honey pork & a fish taco = great flavors! To make it even better the owner (Kai) sat with us and visited. A good looking Vietnamese guy around my age who was raised in New York City and then moved to Thailand a few years ago. He's not a fan of Vietnam and as I understand they aren't a fan of him. They don't seem to like their people leaving the country for good, as he put it.
Shasta and I had to leave the taco shack before we each ordered another round of tacos that neither of us needed. It was strange for us to both have an appetite again, especially me. I've found myself eating only 1 to 2 meals a day because of the heat and also this stomach issue. To make it clear, my stomach isn't hurting, I feel fine but I've found that if I eat my normal meals throughout the day I'll be in the bathroom that night. So as a result, I've cut back on my food and I think my appetites now shrunk a bit.
We stopped at 7/11 on our way back to our place so I could gather some snacks for my Bangkok journey the next day. 7/11 is everywhere in Thailand, I'm not even sure if Koh Tao has a proper grocery store. I think it's just the outdoor markets they have.
A lady in Krabi gave me some useless information about 7/11 that I didn't know. They are a bigger chain then McDonalds and the name comes from the hours that they used to hold, 7am to 11pm. When they became a 24hr convince store they had already grown into such a big franchise they couldn't easily change the name. I'm sure you feel smarter now! Your welcome! :)
We returned back to our room where I wrote on my blog until I passed out. This happened the night before as well and I think it's safe to say its due to Crossfit kicking my butt! You can all thank Shasta for this lovely picture she took of me when I passed out. She supposedly wanted me to see (when I woke up) why my arm was going to be hurting. It did, naturally, it had fallen asleep on me.
Now I'm off on my solo journey to Bangkok. I'll be traveling alone for awhile for my first time in another country. I'm excited for the challenge but a little nervous as well.