It was time to leave Koh Tao again and this time it would be a trip of around twenty hours to Manila. This is the joy when you are on an island without airport, it takes forever to get anywhere. I could have saved about 5 hours if I would have taken a flight from the nearest island Koh Samui but after consulting my favorite flight booking site, momondo.com, I came to the conclusion that I rather spend an extra 5 hours traveling then forking out an additional 130 Euros on already expensive flight. You might wonder how it can take twenty something hours when flying, it's not like you going around the world. The answer is: Hours quickly adds on when you have to walk to the port, take a ferry, a bus and two flights + you want to add some extra time for delays in between. You especially want to add some extra time in between if you book two flights with two different airlines. If you don't and you delayed missing your connection flight, you screwed. So why book separate airlines might be your next question. My answer: save money, in this case 100 Euros. That's good enough reason when you are on a budget for me at least!
Feeling good, long day ahead but for once I'm not departing at 6 am so had plenty of time for breakfast before walking out on the pier to wait for the 930 am ferry. Thoughts at the moment "the passengers in front of me have an intriguing choice of luggage, IKEA carrier bags”...
Sitting on the pier, waiting and doing some serious people watching while putting together a “TO MANILA” playlist on Spotify. Of course I can only use tunes that are already in offline mood since I have no WI-FI. Thoughts: “where do all the people come from? have I been blind or where have they spent their time on Koh Tao? Yes, island has been busy lately but still not this crazy busy” Other thought: “oh it’s been so much nicer the other 9 times I taken the boat either to or from the island.” I’ve been to Koh Tao twice but still managed to take a boat to and from the island on 5 return tickets, that’s 10 trips!!!
Managed to get a seat on the boat, the boat by the way is a high speed catamaran. Ok, I just found out I need to switch to other boat in Koh Pha-ngang only an hour away so wouldn’t have been the end of the world if no seat. Thoughts: “oh great, they handing out plastic bags, this means we in for a bumpy ride and people are going to get sick” Thoughts 15 minutes later: “Oh am I happy for my new playlist, let’s turn the music up a bit to tune out the sound of people getting sick around me”. Thoughts after another 5 minutes and the boat is rocking from side to side, the waves constantly splashing water on the windows making it look like we going through a car wash: “Have the kids next to me died, no one can sleep through this”
Arrived at the pier in Koh Pha-ngang, thoughts: “This will take a while let’s take advantage of the situation, lean back and soak up the sun. Having a look around and it’s elephant pants everywhere… Thoughts: “They are probably comfy but so is pyjama and I don’t see anyone traveling in that, this goes for both women and men but especially men. No one should ever wear elephant pants. Only delayed half an hour by now, time to close eyes and relax.” Of course that’s when a man decides to start arguing and shouting at one of the guys working on the pier, guess what: he has a flight to catch… My thoughts: “Pretty much 90% of the people around you has a flight to catch and if you only 26 minutes delayed and running the risk of missing your flight then you deserve to miss your flight. Things doesn’t run like clockwork here and delays are more common then being on time, you should have given yourself some extra time”
An hour later and we can board the next high speed catamaran, everyone wants to get on at the same time so slightly chaotic. Thoughts: “loving my onward ticket, a red string with a piece of paper stapled to it, so simple” Two girls in their early twenties can’t lift their wheelie bags on to the ramp, Thoughts: “if you can’t lift your bag then you brought way to much, what do you bring by the way to make your bag that heavy? I have approx 15 KGs combined in day bag and backpack and I’m traveling for a year”
In another good seat by now, even have extra legroom so sitting nice and comfy with my feet on my backpack while minding my own business doing Sudoko and eating crisps. Thought: “Where did the waves go? The water is all of the sudden so nice and calm”. Five minutes later the catamaran goes up on its left side within no time feels like we will overturn, me ending up on top of my neighbor and then it’s a lot of people screaming. The boat went back to normal position very fast again. Thought: “Why is everyone screaming? that doesn’t help. Second thought, hope this didn’t screw up my Sudoko” Just proves again that the more other people panics I get more calm…
An hour bus ride later where the thoughts was around “Burger King, oh I want Burger King, don’t get your hopes up Susan, it’s a tiny airport, oh you never know, I want a Whopper now” went smooth. Thoughts arriving at Sura Thani Airport “There is absolutely not a Burger King here”. I enter the airport and not much else to do then to buy some chocolate and wait for an hour before the check in counter opens. Thoughts: “Downside with a small airport, not much to do and check in counter is unmanned until the last minute. At least I have my playlist. Oh wait I know what I can do while waiting, let’s do some lunges”
Checked in and through security and my my thoughts proved me right, no Burger King insight. Thoughts: “Pot noodles are so delicious”
Thoughts when boarding flight: “Why does the rows start on seat 31A and not on 1A like any other plane, bus or train would do? Did they cut it in half?”
Announcement during flight that Thai Smile Air want to wish us happy new year with a gift. Thoughts: “That’s nice and the cake tastes fantastic. This makes a perfect gift bag for the Dajm I bough to my host in Manila”
Thoughts when arriving at Bangkok airport: “Good bye to you King, that’s an impressive ‘shrine’ they made for you. Sorry but can’t stay, it’s time for me to leave the country but first I have to find Burger King”
Thoughts: “Finally, I have you in front of me and now I’m going to eat you” I haven't gone crazy and eating a lot of this shit but when you in a place that has no fast food it doesn’t matter if you like it or not but one thing is for sure, you will want it.
Two hours before my flight to Manila and I’m sitting on the floor since I needed to charge my phone. Thoughts: “Will I ever grow up or is this normal to sit on the floor when there are seats just a few meters away. Oh I have to check the exchange rate for the Philippines. How much should I withdraw? oh now I rememberer that you can only do smaller withdraws in the Philippines so let’s do the max of PHP 10 000. Shit, I will have trouble again finding cash machines accepting my Maestro.” Thoughts an hour later: “Time to go to the flight, it’s midnight now please let it be on time”
Thoughts boarding the flight: “Love the uniforms of CEBU Pacific, now let’s get to my seat so I can get a couple of hours sleep”. 450 am and finally I land in Manila. Thoughts after another 30 minutes: “Why are we still sitting on the tarmac, it’s 530 am and I want to sleep”. Thoughts around 630 am: “Ok, I have my bag, my PHP cash and my SIM card let’s jump in to a taxi. Hmm not feeling to tired anymore but guess that will change”
About an hour later I was showered and crashed right in to bed and fell a sleep like a dead one!
I decided that it was time for a career break. So handed in my notice to the company who I worked with for the last ten years. It's time to pack my bag and depart from Amsterdam which been my home town for the last 4.5 years. -"Amsterdam, it's not you it's me and I need a break!". Read more
WHERE AM I?