This morning, the next-to-last morning in Koh Samui, we woke up and by mutual unspoken agreement, we brushed our teeth, put on contacts, and trotted out with our e-readers to the restaurant by the beach, which is just a hundred feet away, for our breakfast (Steve’s opinion) or lunch (my opinion).
It is gorgeous every morning, in a delicate way. The sun has not yet warmed to its peak, and so the air is light and breezy. The tide is high so that each crashing wave (the water is far more turbulent here than on Koh Phangan) swirls around the bottom of the stone steps that lead up to the restaurant. The long swing that is tied to the tallest palm tree swings over the sea as well as the sand, and yesterday, we spent a while jumping at the apex of the swing into the sea. It was only about three feet deep at that point, and Steve teasingly told me that I looked ungraceful crashing into the water, and then diving forward.
After breakfast, we changed into our swimming suits and depleted our second bottle of sunscreen so far on this trip, and waded out into the sea, dragging the resort’s yellow “Tri-Yak” with us into the ocean. Our only former experience with kayaking was in Indiana with Henri and Monika, but it’s a pretty straightforward affair, and we set about paddling around the rocks at the end of the beach. I made Steve laugh by singing “Come Sail Away” (Styx) out loud. There are dark patches on the ocean, which we’ve learned are full of seaweed and seagrass that barely peek above the waves, and then lighter turquoise patches which are sandy. We paddled out to a less-used beach and dropped overboard, taking turns seeing how deep the turquoise patches were (around ten or eleven feet, usually). When we came back, drenched and a little burned, the hostel staff, two fun-loving young men, pushed out the yellow tri-yak, and one hoisted one of the dogs, a big golden retriever, on as well. We watched him paddle around for a while, the dog solemnly sitting at the bow. I ran back to the room, leaving salt-and-sand footprints on our dark floorboards, to get my camera and capture a few photos. We wound up our time on the beach with the swing, twisting it around and around, and then sitting and holding on for dear life as it unraveled.
After we had our fill, we took showers, hung out our bathing suits and wet towels, and headed down the road to a small convenience store. The old woman there sits behind the counter, below several framed photographs of the King of Thailand, as is de rigueur for every business we’ve seen in Thailand, and she watches a small TV which is always turned to the news. We bought two bottles of Leo beer for 58 baht each, as well as a few snacks and two fruit-ice popsicles, which we enjoyed walking back. We also picked up our laundry (30 baht per kilo for wash and dry) from a woman who also runs a roadside restaurant, and when we got back, we sat on the porch enjoying our goods and the afternoon breeze. On the north side of the island here, we get breezes and shade, and the lengthened afternoon sun does not reach us. I reread American Gods while Steve pecked at the computer.
There are several stray dogs here at the resort. Back on Koh Phangan, we saw a large dog, who was about the size of a wolf and must have been at least 80 pounds. We nicknamed him Buck, because it looked like he was about to answer the call of the wild any day. There is a dark-colored dog, half Husky, half Shiba Inu, with a curled tail, who looks much like Buck but is about half-as-big. Hence, we call him Little Buck. Little Buck enjoys playing around with a white dog named Pepsi. There is also the large golden retriever who enjoys rolling around in the sand and sleeping under our chairs. All of them laze about and ignore human entreaties to cuddle with them; they know better that visitors come and go, and treat us accordingly with a casual callousness.
Last night, they set up barking near bedtime, and we found, upon looking up the window, that the golden had set himself up on our porch. The barking was to warn off a younger black dog who is usually kept on a leash, and instead of backing off meekly, the black dog avenged himself by taking my sandals in his mouth and trotting off with them. It was only by the grace of an unknown deity that I was watching and caught the thief in action.
Soon, I’ll wake Steve up from his nap so we can enjoy another meal of pad thai by the setting sun. Tonight, we’ll watch some more Star Trek: Voyager, which reminds us of home, and I’ll send out more Couchsurfing requests for Amritsar and Turkey and fuss about how to do my taxes while we’re abroad. When we wake up tomorrow, we’ll do one last dip in the ocean, before packing our swimsuits and flying out of Koh Samui. It is sad to part ways with the islands, but we have good souvenirs — lots of sunset pictures, a bit more sand in our luggage, and a newfound tan (okay, just me — Steve has lobster-red shoulders instead). After three weeks of lounging around smaller cities and towns, we are heading for Bangkok.