Call Me Scuba Steve!

October 29, 2006 — Sa Wat Dema

And then there was one…

I know I have been very delinguent in my blog posts, but I have much to talk about on this one and finally some time to do it, so get ready-

So many things have been going on lately –my pal Ewen got married in Phuket, Jason is off in Japan, we slept through a bachelor party, we practiced our international relations with some young Isreali ladies, Tuk Tuk Reagan is probably still playing board games with his parasites and staying away from live fowl, and I just passed my Open Water Diver Scuba certification back on Phi Phi island. All in all, it has been a very busy few days. (Speaking of board games, connect four is huge here –it is apparently the bar game of choice. Jason and I found this out the hard way at a small bar on Phuket where the seemingly innocent young thai girls working there proceeded to demolish us both at connect four - I think they were about to play for money when we hastily left.)

In addition to talking about what we have been up to, I would also like to give a few brief insights into life here and some of things we have noticed, so I am going to forgo any chronological order-

First of all, the wedding was spectacular. For those of you that don’t know, the “excuse” for this whole trip was so that I could attend the wedding of my Australian travel photographer friend, Ewen Bell. The wedding was done in tradional Buddhist style (even though both Ewen and his wife are Australian) on the beach at sunset. There were chanting monks, local traditional dancers, a water ceremony where every guests helped wash the hands of the newlyweds while whispering kind words, everyone was given brightly colored parasols –it was amazing. All of this as the sun was setting over Kata Noi beach on Phuket, literally a picture postcard setting. As a man whole has played at thousands of weddings, I can honestly say it was the best banquet hall I have ever been to.

After the ceremony, they held the reception (for the 40 guests in attendance) at the villa they had been renting out (this “villa” was ridiculous, imagine 5 small houses all centered on a pool, with maids, a cook, a gym, and a bar all connected to your compound –all for about $650 US a night). It was an incredible party (I think that happens whenever you put a lot Australians together and give them copious amounts of mojitos.) It also happened to be on my birthday, so the bottle of Black Label I brought to aid the celebrations mostly got drank by me in the form of undesired shots. Interestingly however, I lasted the night while Jason was passed out in the gymnasium by 11.

Quick Thai fact – every monday, it is tradition here to wear bright yellow, usually in the form of a polo shirt with an emblem of the king on it. They do this to honor the king (as they also do by having a standing ovation for him before they start movies and by putting his photo up literally everywhere, and not always the most flatering photos, our favorites are the ones of him doing his hobbies like photography –in the amulet market in Bangkok we actually found one of the King playing the saxophone!). Well, since it is the month of the king’s birthday, nearly every thai wears these yellow shirts almost every day. Luckily, one of the three t-shirts that I brought happens to be the exact right color of bright yellow. Though the shirt is for my Kung Fu school in Chicago, I can’t tell you how many compliments I have gotten for it.

So, after the wedding, I hightailed it back to Ko Phi Phi, literally one of the mopst beautiful places on earth. I came to do my Scuba course because I heard the sites here were fabulous and just because I liked the island so much. Though my course started out a bit rough (I was in the theory class with a 40-year-old Norwegian who didn’t understand English nearly as well as he thought and who certainly couldn’t learn Scuba in that language), the dives were spectacular. The water and the reefs here are amazing. I actually did one dive in the bay where “The Beach” was filmed. All said and done, I spent three days and did four real dives. I saw everything from crazy anenomees to lionfish, big grouper to morey eels. I am even considering staying for two more days to do the Advanced course where I get to dive on a shipwreck, at night, and very deep. The night dive starts in a couple of hours so I need to decide quick. The other option which I wish I had time for is to do a 3-day liveaboard cruise to the Similan islands and do 14 dives in 3 days. The Similans are supposed to be one of the best places in the world to dive.

Anyway, there is so much else to tell. I will have to post a bit later today (I think after my night dive!).


If I don’t stay longer on Phi Phi, the plan is to head to Railey beach to do some rock climbing. It is supposed to be a very beautiful place.

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