Went and had a shave this morning. I've had a beard for about six weeks, something I tend to do around Christmas. This time, the beard was just to keep some sort of balance as I grew a moustache, having decided that a Daliesque job might be interesting for a while. Everything had to go however, when I tried out my new diving mask the other day. The minute I put my head underwater, it filled up, as the face fungus was preventing it becoming airtight. Had a general hair trim and a shave which took about ten minutes. I've never been so clean-shaven in my life.
Millie and I love snorkelling and tomorrow, we're off to a tiny island called Koh Lipe, which sounds very exotic indeed. Unlike here, on the large island of Koh Lanta, there are plenty of colourful fish to chase in the coral. We booked the longish boat trip, (sounds like some approximative Viking craft), the other day in one of the local tourist offices, run by a cheery Aussie guy and his charming Thai wife.* The guy bore an uncanny resemblance to comedian Bill Bailey, albeit a more svelte, tidied-up version. We booked our tickets and wandering down the street Millie asked if he reminded me of someone we knew. As soon as I mentioned BB, she had an 'Oh yes' moment.
The main strip.
Koh Lanta is an interesting place itself. For one thing, it is 95% Muslim, an unusual state of affairs for Thailand. The only difference this seems to make is that some of the smily women wear headscarfs and that the local mosque, about 200 metres from where we're staying, tends to wake you up at 5am every day with the amplified call to prayer. Strangely enough, for someone with such non-religious sentiments, I really like the rather eerie morning waily melody. The only small problem is the mosquito net hanging from the ceiling, which, upon being woken by the muezzin, can give the disconcerting feeling of being attacked by a giant jellyfish which is plunging towards you from the wine-dark linoleum ceiling.
Attack of the JF
The nearby Mosque.
Koh Lanta was totally wrecked in the tsunami of 2004. A lot of people were killed and others moved away afterwards, so you get the impression that the place has changed a lot in recent years. Whilst it is fairly touristy, it isn't as developed as some of the other large islands and there are still one or two areas near the beach which are still in a state of abandonment.
Derelict buildings by the beach.
*Nearly all Thais are extremely charming, so to save time and avoid repetition, from here on in, you can assume that everyone mentioned is delightful unless otherwise stated