Part 9 (Final) – Lobsters, Tides & New Islands

On the subject of lobsters… Throughout our travels, we found out that lobsters could be very different. And vary not only in weight or size, but in appearance as well. In the floating Muslim village we happened upon a specimen that looked like an old WW1 German military helmet sprouting a bunch of tiny tentacle-looking legs underneath. The thing and its mates were swimming in dim waters of a fish tank, displayed in front of a restaurant, and were supposed to attract customers. The anthropoids looked like prehistoric centipedes covered with a piss pot, and could inspire culinary urges only in perverts.

The “German helmet” lobsters in the floating village

However, if anybody thought that it could not get worse than that – it totally could, and did! Right on the following day. In the evening, we decided to celebrate the departure from the quiet and green island of Ko Yao with a dinner in a restaurant on the beach. The place attracted our attention the previous evening by a rich seafood display decorated with two bottles of wine at the entrance. To add to the charms, the tables were standing right on the beach, colorful lights were hanging over them from the branches of nearby trees, and the ocean waves were whispering some silly nonsense right into your ear – a perfect setting for a romantic evening!…

Our now inseparable foursome took the last free table, and immediately made an impression by ordering a bottle of wine. The owner materialized from nowhere and started helping with the choice of fish, and methods of its cooking. Seeing that the ladies were not very much inspired by the fish choices, he gave us a conspiratorial wink, and let us in on a secret: just this morning he got the tastiest and freshest delicacy, juicy and tender, and bound to make us happy. He could not quite come up with the name for the delicacy, but was eager to show it. Inspired by advertisement, Irina and I eagerly rushed away from our table to take a look. On second thought – we would have been better off having restrained our curiosity. The fish tank, that the owner of the restaurant was proudly and lovingly pointing at, contained giant prehistoric penises. With legs. Splashing about. Seeing pure horror on our faces, the owner surpassed himself, but remembered that the penises were called “rock lobsters”, and continued to advertise said specimens, praising their unrivaled culinary qualities. The creatures looked absolutely disgusting – dimly-colored penises a good half an arm length each, with vibrating tentacle legs and no sign of claws, tails, or other essential lobster attributes… Good enough for scaring little kids! We proudly refused to have anything to do with the sea penises, and to the owner’s disappointment ordered shrimp.

Luckily, the restaurant got remembered not only due to prehistoric monsters in the fish tank. The tables on the beach were lovely, but in about an hour after we sat down, the tide started crawling in. In the end we had to move together with chairs, table, and everything on it at least three times, moving away from the waves, which only added to the exotic feel of the evening. One bottle of wine for four did not last long, but when we asked for another one, the owner honestly informed us, that he does have another one, but only white. We responsibly decided not to mix, and humbly refused, realizing that we have just consumed the red wine reserves of the island… The evening ended with our feet in the ocean tide waters, other patrons left, and the owner sat down at our table, sharing with us left over shrimps and vegetables from the grill. Despite the rock anthropoids, the evening was fantastic!

The next morning we got into a chartered longboat (yes, our familiarity with local customs and traditions went as far as chartering boats!), and said our good byes to Ko Yao. The boat took us South, in the direction of the next island, that planned to be the last on our agenda. The name of the island was Ko Jum, but for everybody’s convenience it also had a second name, Ko Pu. This complicated our negotiations with the boat captain, but the itinerary was clarified on the way. In contrast to Ko Yao, the island was supposed to have beaches – the fact that we verified before arrival with the help of the Internet.

On the way to new adventures

The better part of an almost 3-hour journey to Ko Jum went through the open waters of the Indian Ocean. Sitting in a small wooden vessel powered by an engine of a small sedan, we could feel the might and power of the ocean at full swing. The waves were beating into the sides of the boat, throwing salty water into our faces, the wind was singing in our ears, and gigantic pink jellyfish were floating gracefully alongside the boat. We were overwhelmed by all the audio- and video aspects of the journey, and enjoyed every minute of it till the boat stopped at an idyllic-looking white sandy beach and palms covering the horizon, and we realized that we finally arrived at the place we’ve always dreamed about. Considering the heavenly interface of the island, our intentions to stay were serious, especially in view of the fact that our chartered boat said its good-byes, and sailed off into the horizon.

After that, we followed the usual scenario: Irina, me and the suitcases sat down in a beach bar, enjoying the scenery and fresh coconuts, and the gentlemen embarked on an accommodation-finding expedition. This time, the search took longer, and the boys came back to the beach bar only two and a half hours later. As it turned out – not due to the gigantic size of the island, or it being particularly overcrowded with tourists – they simply forgot where exactly they left us…

The misunderstanding was cleared and apologies provided – actually, we did not have any problems with the wait – the sun was shining, the ocean waves were caressing the white sands of the beach, and the coconuts were being brought to us without delay. The gentlemen proudly reported having found and rented accommodations in the form of bungalows (aka huts on the beach) in the most picturesque spot on the northern tip of the island – beautiful, but not easily accessible. After a half an hour ride hugging our suitcases on two scooters powered by hairdryer engines, we reached our new lodgings. This motocross through rugged terrain with only a vague hint at a road, peppered with sandy dunes, definitely added grey hairs to my still thick, but gradually loosing color hair. This said, the destination was definitely worth it: our newly-rented digs were two luxury huts (does not matter that the expression “luxury hut” is an oxymoron in itself – after three weeks in Asia it takes way more than an oxymoron to surprise us!) with an ocean view in a place called “Freedom Huts“.

Neither our bungalow, nor the neighboring ones had locks on the doors, and when we asked the management about them, we were assured that everything here was safe and honest, and no locks were needed. Just a couple of hours in the “Freedom Huts” absolutely confirmed this statement, we joined the safe and honest crowd, and never posed any more inappropriate questions.

Seaside bungalows at “Freedom Huts”

Ko Jum turned out to be an ideal place to finish our journey at – peace and quiet, paired with the holiday-appropriate color scheme (blue ocean, green palms, yellow sun and white sand), worked wonders in establishing and cultivating a relaxed holiday mood. The story of our lives – the vacation was unfolding in full swing right when it was about to finish!…

Despite the peace and quiet (or, maybe, because of it), we found entertainment on the island, to keep us in shape. The adventures were predominantly peaceful, and consisted of riding around the island – with the total area of 30 square meters and presence of only one and a half roads this was not too time-consuming. Even though the full road definitely had visible gaps in its topography, it could still be visualized on terrain. The second road can hardly be called even a half, and took serious efforts on our part to localize and even more serious ones (bordering on manic obsession) to experience. As a result, the art of conquering goat paths on a moped was added to our already extensive list of life experiences. Although, in all honestly, “goat path” is too big a word for the trail we had to search for through the jungle. How THAT appeared on a map, is beyond me, and can probably be explained only by that unknown and definitely not very sober topographer, who drew this barely visible hedgehog path on the island map. Difficulties in visibility obviously caused difficulties in finding and conquering the latter. We were not from among the faint-hearted, though, and the miles we circled around the island’s jungle, hills and rocks, should definitely be added to the annals of motocross.

Everything good (just like everything bad) has its end, and at some point another boat took us from the paradise island in the direction of mainland, where a big white airplane was waiting to take us home…

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