Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Kophangan Job

I would be a liar if I said Kophangan isn't one of the greatest places on Earth. 
A small, tropical island in the middle of Thailand, it is a paradise of greenery, beaches, and cheap pad thai.
If you cut me, I would bleed peanut sauce. I had Thai food for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and midnight snack. I now get cranky without it.
But back to the island. It's like a better Hawaii.  Our hotel was a series of tiny, modern bungalows, right on the beach. I've never been more relaxed in my life.
For $3 USD a day, I would rent a moped and tool around the entire place. Passing homes and stores, mountains and beaches. It was incredible. My friends are I were like the worst biker gang on the planet- three Americans on vespas, wearing horse jockey helmets and swim trunks. Smiling like fools and going far too fast for having never ridden such a vehicle.

After scoping out the southern side of the island, we decided to explore the interior. After a stop at an exceptionally serene, mountain temple, we were on the north side. 15 minutes from north to south, tops. The weather was beautiful. The scenery was beautiful. The women were beautiful. It was perfect. After a superb meal on the beach, we decided to backtrack a little and try out something we've never done: archery.
Yes, there was a roadside archery place. It was a shooting range attached to someone's house. Two women were running it, and they just thought I was the funniest cat to ever come sauntering into their place of business. I couldn't hit the broad side of an elephant- something that was quite feasible, seeing as how an elephant farm was no more than 50 yards away. After my allotted 15 minutes, I was a trained killer.
Okay, I'm exaggerating. But I could hit a target with 3 out of 5 arrows. I'm calling that a killer. My companions were much more accomplished than I, but I should get some points for trying.

We arrived back at our hotel, and settled in for some dinner at a very cool roadside restaurant, called Pui's Place. Pui is a young and attractive entrepreneur, who decided she was going to open a restaurant. Business was booming, the place was packed. If you're ever on the island, you need to stop by.

That night was the finale. The endpoint. The gathering to end all gatherings. The Full Moon Party.
It was a blast. Thousands of people on a beach, dressed up and dancing. We hopped on a ferry at 5am the next morning, and flew back to Bangkok. We celebrated our last night as we celebrated our first: with jazz.

There are a hundred stories I could write about and a hundred more that I never could. The internet is forever, and having two public relations specialists as parents makes me wary of throwing out too many sordid details. But if we're ever having a drink, ask me to tell you about the moped chase. It's a good story.

Thailand was incredible. The most life experience I've ever gleaned in such a short time. It was one of my lowest points, and one of my highest. I want to go back as soon as I can.




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