So said the 30-something year old Australian man: “There are the travellers that just want to go and get drunk, travel along the same, trodden paths and not communicate with the local people and explore. Then there are the those who are yearning for more, open to everything and always willing to chat to anyone and get off the beaten track.”
The 19 year old, very slim, VERY pretty, hot panted, German girl said in reply: “Oh yes, I was with someone who just wanted to go back to Germany, she hated it away from home. She left. I travel alone. Which am I?”
She: “Which traveller am I?”
Knight in Shining Armour: “Oh, you’re the latter of course; the explorer.”
She bends her head to the left: “How can you tell…?
Romeo: “Oh, I just can, I mean, it’s obvious.”
SOAP OPERA ON THE BOAT ALERT! I was reading my book of course… but these two were all my cliches wrapped up in one neat little bundle. Sitting opposite me, Mr Casanova giving ‘tips’ on where to stay: “A bungalow between two of us would be cheaper for both of us you know”, and harking on AND ON about where he’s travelled – the whole, entire world apparently, and how he admires her travelling at 19, alone. Course he does. Oh, how I’ve been here before, not as a 26 year old obviously, but back when I travelled at 19, also alone. Blimey. But unlike Miss German lady, I didn’t agree to everything and suck in all this rubbish such as he was spouting. However, watching them, it was terribly entertaining and he wasn’t a dangerous psycho, just SO KEEN. Perhaps she liked him? I doubt it.
Later I think she went out one night and discovered a hot Canadian with white teeth, and sailed off to Koh Phangan for a party. Like 19 year olds do. I tried to use the power of the mind to send her the following thoughts – I even tried my terrible German translation; ‘No to boyfriends! /hanging on men/ men who want to get in your pants! BE FREE! Amuse this combat zipped trouser wearing man for the duration of the boat trip, then begone.’ Like an interactive soap opera.
Although they were terribly interesting, apart from the boat lovers, we were immersed in the vision of THE ISLANDS! Incredible, beautiful, stunning ALL the adjectives you would use for a natural haven. Starved of the heat and sea for the winter, Charlie and I were full of utter, bursting joy. The colour returning to our cheeks with every second. I knew he was absolutely desperate to get in the sea, and was probably using all his powers to not jump from the catamaran into the deep blue.
As soon as the boat docked we scooted off the boat and headed straight for food, ripping our finns and snorkels out of our backpacks as we walked/sat down at the cafe. SADLY we saw the boat lovers wander off past us – together – as we sipped our coffees and right at the moment I was spouting about the ridiculousness of Mr Romeo McClucky. Oh dear. After I shook my head forty times, we both realised we had nowhere to stay for the night and (being the latter of Romeo pants’ traveller descriptions -course/urg – although I’ve heard we are called ‘flashpackers’, which I slightly object to) didn’t want to be in the hardcore busy area of the village we were currently in. After thousands of phone calls we found a gorgeous collection of bungalows on a private beach. Oh yes…
We immediately went rock exploring and jumped in the sea. Returning to the beach we saw an English couple, clearly been away for months, the deepest brown ever, on their way to Australia – probably. When we were in the water, swimming about with our finns and masks on, him circling me like a shark, I declared to Charlie; “too brown”, then promptly got my stomach savagely burnt. NOT clever.
The evening was spent chatting about the future, what we should do, where we should go, work and green insects eating us. We realised we were probably not yet entirely relaxed. But oh so warm and toasty.