PADI Dive Course

Wednesday 11 july 2001 – Koh Samui, Thailand

We’d forgotten to document our motorcycle forays, so we rose at dawn and rode back along the coast road towards Lamai to a stunning spot with a view up and down the island and took photographs of each other on our ‘hogs’. We both wanted documentary evidence as neither of us had done much, if any, bike riding before and wanted proof for skeptics at home.

After breakfast my transport arrived to collect me for my first day of PADI training. The theory and pool sessions were held at a very swish resort up from Chaweng – pavilions, landscaped grounds, a huge, although shallow, pool. Instructor Dario was a typical Italian male with lots of misogynistic stories and attitudes but a good teacher and pleasant and personable with it. While the classroom sessions were pretty dry, the work itself presented no difficulties and the pool session was quite fun.

Arrived back as Silver Sands at 4.00pm, while Chris was still out on his day-trip to nearby islands. I arranged a hotel in Bangkok (the White Lodge – another of See Tiek’s recommendations), went and had my first suit fitting and checked emails.

When Chris returned we had a Thai massage from two very keen girls who were touting on the corner and who’d been accosting us both since we’d arrived. My masseuse (‘Miaou’) weighed just 40kg but was very strong. She pummeled and pulled and twisted me all over, walked up and down my back and more. She did have some trouble with the heavier lifting movements (my weight compared to hers made it an unfair competition!).

I was a bit perturbed when she started whispering in my ear, asking what I was doing later! She said several things that I chose not to understand and something else about possibly going dancing later. As neither of us had had dinner, that proved to be the perfect excuse to extract ourselves from the girls’ charming but unwelcome attentions.

It was disturbing to see so many Thai girls going about with unremarkable Western men. It’s also sad to see their home overrun as a cheap holiday destination. The same shops and businesses are repeated seemingly endlessly up and down the main drags – Western restaurants, bars, tailor shops, travel agencies, email cafes, massage places, tacky souvenir shops & nasty art galleries and endless designer knock-off beachwear. Its hard to imagine how they all make any sort of living. On several occasions we were the only customers in large restaurants.

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