Our slightly-earlier-than-anticipated return to Bangkok resulted, obviously, in a little extra time not only to further explore the buzzing metropolis but also to entertain the idea of a small journey to one of Thailand's famed beaches. Neither of us are really beach people, as you might have noticed by my near translucent pale, but with a Thai holiday weekend freeing up and inspiring Casey's (father's) cousin (our most excellent host for all three stops in Bangkok) and a coworker friend of hers, it seemed like an opportunity not to be missed. Enter Ko Samet. It's maybe not the most famous of the beaches, being only three hours to the southeast, but it suited our wants perfectly. A late night speedboat took us across the water to Lung Dum beach where we had a couple of beachside bungalows waiting and for two days we did something that we haven't really done at any point on this trip: totally touristic nothing. We read (a lot) and ate fruit acquired from the entrepreneurial men and women carrying baskets over their shoulders laden with mango, papaya, bananas, oranges, and sweet corn. We went swimming (and, despite our best efforts BOTH ended up with shamefully bad sunburns) and took an evening snorkeling trip that included watching the sunset from the west side of the island. When we decide to do something, we like to try to embrace it as fully as possible and nothing says Tourist Weekend like sharing a 99 baht special ($3 USD) Sex On The Beach. On the beach. At sunset.
And it was gorgeous.
Snorkeling in the crystal clear aqua blue water was an experience more engaging, eye-popping, and perplexing than just about any other I can personally think of. Maybe it was my rookie status, but the mix of awe, terror, curiosity, claustrophobia, and little-kid excitement that overtook me was a bit overwhelming; clams the size of my head, huge blobs of coral with spiky black sea anemones clinging to the sides within arms reach, schools of fish doing the undulating thing you see in nature documentaries, and the occasional deep dark abyss that just faded away into the nightmares of my imagination. It's something I always thought I might enjoy, but never guessed it would be such a complex and powerful version of enjoyment.