There is no Halloween on Koh Phangan…

We’ve been chilling out and swimming, eating out and stuff for a few days. The tide has been very high during the day, meaning we can actually swim just a few meters from the shore instead of having to wade out for 20 minutes. We heard high tide will rise even more when the rainy season really gets going next month.

The weather has been very nice – a cool cloudy 25 or so in the morning (based on what our air con thinks “25” is, which may be meaningless as I think its thermometer is busted). So we can walk in to Sri Thanu for breakfast or early lunch (we are still waking up at 7). Everyone continues to hawk their motorcycles to us along the way, and suggest we must be excersize fanatics to be out walking when we could ride. It’s a freaking 20 minute walk people – jesus!

So we’re probably getting a motorbike from Malee next time we see her. I’m totally against it but it does seem to be a requirement around here. I don’t think it will help us if we want to go on excusrions inland where the dirt roads are steep and windy, or when it is stormy. Even the decent cement road in front of our house becomes a three inch deep lake after just twenty minutes of hard rain. But renting a bike costs less than a taxi ride a day, and you don’t have to wait forever for one to come by.

Now for bitching about the continuing lack of Internets:

Malee should be coming by today to talk Internet with us. Hopefully she will have gotten address of our house from the owners, which is what we’re waiting for before we can order satellite internet. Unfortunatly we’re having second thoughts about it now. We’ve been visiting a cruddy little email-and-tickets shop in Sri Thanu whose highspeed connection was down the last few times. Colin spoke to one of the owners who had nothing but bad things to say about IPStar and their satellite service. He says 75% uptime is about what you can expect, despite their promises, and he isn’t even getting that anymore. So this is going to cost us 70 bucks to set up, 70 bucks a month, a locked one-year contract and possibly our passports or a huge deposit. If it’s going to be down for days at a time, we need another option.

Cell modem would be cool as a backup, if I could find any bloody information about it around here. Also the busier south end of the island is wired for ADSL, and we’ve heard they’ve got a similar thing going up north in the fishing port Chalokum. We’re going to head up there today and maybe stay overnight somewhere to get a feel for the place. Our house here is cool but a house just can’t be a home without the nurturing teat of mother Internet.

Now for cool stuff we’ve seen while swimming! There is so much neat flotsam and such out there during high tide, and though we don’t have snorkling gear yet the water has been clear lately. We’ve seen:

– tons of tiny brown jellyfish with big stubby tentacles
– one jellyfish 2 inches in diameter, totally clear, with long hanging tentacles
– a stick encrusted with little white-shelled worms with red feathery mouth-feeler things that pulsate in and out of their shells
– little yellow fishes that swim near the surface and dart between floating seaweed clumps; might be juvenile Three-striped Whiptails
– little gobies that dart back into their holes in the sand when we swim by
– what look like dead floating blue jellyfish with deflated bells, although they look more like anemonies from underneath
– a snail floating on the surface, that seemed to be producing an egg sack consisting of a string of bubbles on top with purple dangly bits (the eggs?) on the bottom. I wonder if it was supposed to be floated up to the surface or if something had gone horribly wrong for the poor snail. Curious!

Yesterday we adopted a group of 7 of the little yellow fishes; they followed us out for about twenty minutes, presumably because we were good cover from whatever they are hiding from. They looked so lost like they were trying to find the reef so I swam out toward it with them in tow. I was collecting floating stuff together to make a shelter for the little guys, when I picked up a plastic fishing float that had another yellow fish laying on top of it in an inch of water (why?? was he sunbathing?? suiciding??). He was about 1+1/2 times the size of the biggest of the school, and when he joined them they followed him around. After a minute the whole bunch promptly disappeared down into the water. A successful reunion!

Colin has also identified many of the birds in the area, with the exception of these two that don’t seem to be in our book. His descriptions, so we can hopefully find them later on the net:

A) Shape much like little heron. Colouring all brown. Series of stripes strong at the head fading down the body. Brown wings, green legs. Flesh coloured section of lower mandible. Longer neck, white underwings. In flight: all white but dark body.

B) Looks like little cormorant but with longer more conical beak. Heron-like (very) green legs. Yellow eye. Body held at 45 degrees. No visible ‘wing hanging out to dry’.

Oh, I’ve been playing the Sims 2 with the new Pets expansion. My first dog makes more money as a police dog than its owner does. Somehow I never imagined they paid those police dogs… ;) Also I successfully created a “crazy cat lady” with maxnum cats who hang out all over the furniture and attack visitors. My lappy actually runs the game better than my old machine!


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