8:09 AM

I wake up and turn on my iPad to find a message from Fletch saying that he finally got my postcard in the mail. This was not your typical pretty beach picture postcard. It was a photograph of two elephants painted up and going at it with a crowd of observers. Oh Thailand. How could you possibly see that postcard and not send it to someone? Fletch was the lucky recipient. If you'd like your own personal elephant sex postcard to put on your refrigerator, leave me a comment or send me a message with your address.

8:24 AM

I have gotten into the habit of being a lazy bum and laying in bed and browsing the internet on my iPad with it being slow season and not having any work. I find an article entitled, Koh Rong: The Last Real Party In Southeast Asia. This island looks to be what everyone says Koh Tao was fifteen years ago, before its off-the-beaten-path charm made it popular and it became overrun by tourists. Funny the way that works. Every backpacker wants that experience from the book/movie The Beach of finding a little deserted piece of paradise. The second you find one, everyone else comes running and pretty soon you have just another tourist trap. I must go to Koh Rong. Maybe in July when I have to make a visa run. Speaking of visa runs, I should go see if Island Travel has my passport back yet. I sent it away to Koh Samui to get a 30 day visa extension and it should be back by now.

9:53 AM

Island Travel has to be open at least by 10:00 so I get dressed and roll down the hill. I discovered this neat trick shortly after moving here that I don't have to start up my bike until I reach the main road. I can just coast all the way down our steep bit of hill, the right turn past the reception office, the left turn and down the second steep bit, right turn, four speed bumps, wide left turn around the mound of dirt that laundry lady tries to put in front of her place as a makeshift speed bump, and all the way down the last curvy road, past the trash bin, past the family of brown cows that sometimes like to block the road, all the way to Monsoon Gym. Then I'll start my bike and drive onto the main road. Today I have to take a back route because apparently they've brought over popos from the mainland again to confiscate unregistered bikes. None of the bikes on this island are registered, so last time they were here, there was an entire field filled with hundreds of confiscated bikes all chained up. Instead of turning left on the main road and taking it straight to the down road in Mae Haad, I turn right on the main road, left at Phoenix Divers road, and left on the beach road. This route takes much longer because the beach road is riddled with speed bumps every meter. It's a bumpy ride.

10:07 AM

The same blonde British guy who I originally entrusted not to lose my passport is sitting at his desk when I walk in. He asks for my name and then stumbles around the other desks in the cramped office and rifles through a box in the back corner. Several moments pass and he comes back empty handed, asking if I've waited the full two weeks. Today marks fourteen days exactly since I dropped it off. He gets on his computer to look me up in the system and comes up with an Alexa Stoker. I'm pretty sure I haven't changed my name to Stoker recently. He gets up and trips around the clutter of desks once more and repeats his act of rifling through the box, this time looking over his shoulder back at my face every few moments, probably to see if any of the passport pictures resemble me. Finally he finds it. I can now stay in the country until July 8.

10:17 AM

I take the jolty route back along the beach road to find that the shopkeepers along the road are setting up little stands in front of their shops with banners that read "One Free Day." There are also kids in yellow tshirts riding bicycles everywhere. One Thai lady catches me eyeing her table of rambutan as I bounce over a speed bump and gives me a smile and points. Sold. I pull off to the side of the road and pull 50 baht out of my wallet. She starts shaking her head enthusiastically and says "No! Free today!" I take one, looking around for a clipboard with a petition to sign or a donation box or someone lurking around a dark corner waiting to sell my kidneys. Nothing. The lady hands me an entire handful, and I give her an enthusiastic thank you and run away before they send a kid on a bicycle after me for stealing. I have no idea what "One Free Day" is but I like it!

10:20 AM

They don't send a kid on a bicycle after me, they send an entire military helicopter. I deposit the handful of rambutan into my bike's basket just in time to hear the deafening roar of a chopper and look up to see one flying along the beach, just meters above the ground. What the hell? Everyone starts running to the beach with their phones to take pictures. I drive a hundred meters or so before curiosity gets the best of me and I park my bike again and run to the beach. I'm just in time to see it flying back in the opposite direction. Must be some spectacle for the Koh Tao Festival. At least that's what I'm going to tell myself. We were told recently that troops could be arriving on Koh Tao soon because of the whole political situation here. I don't buy it. I should, but I don't. Plus when that happens, if it happens, they will probably come by boat.

10:41 AM

Back at home I plop on the couch with Kyle and Shawna for internet time. Kyle insists I look at a page of adorable kittens next to hot guys. I'm busy typing an email. He keeps insisting. I finally cave. It's worth it.

11:14 AM

Kyle and Shawna leave and I decide to see if I can get the Vudu app on my iPad to work. Before I came here, I downloaded the entire ninth season of How I Met Your Mother so that I could watch it on the plane. I got through the first twelve episodes before the app crashed and wouldn't let me watch anymore. Maybe it doesn't like the fact that I'm in Thailand. I set the iPad to airplane mode and restart it. The app works! How I Met Your Mother marathon time.

4:47 PM

I finish the season finale, not quite sure if I'm happy or annoyed by the ending. ***Spoiler Alert*** He ends up with Robin?! After nine seasons of searching for his soul mate? It's too much to wrap my head around and I realize all this laying around and watching TV has made me work up an appetite. And it's dinner time.

4:52 PM

I roll down the hill and run into Tyler who says everyone is meeting at Dive Shop A to drink before the Koh Tao Festival. I tell him I have to eat but will head down later. I continue around the corner to the sub shop next to 7-Eleven that makes the falafel sandwiches I like, only the other day I discovered something I like even better. I have searched this entire island for a veggie burger and have failed every time. Turns out it was hiding at SubCorner the whole time. Not only do they have a veggie burger, but it's made out of beets! I freaking love beets!

5:05 PM

Back at home I devour my beet burger, much to the disappointment of four begging kittens. I've never known cats to beg but these guys are relentless. I decide to kick them out while I eat and nearly choke from laughing as they paw furiously at the kitchen window, trying to get back in. They have pried the sliding screen doors open before.

5:30 PM

Shawna and Kyle get home and tell me the same thing Tyler just did, that everyone is meeting at Dive Shop A for drinks before heading to the Koh Tao Festival. I decide to shower. And shave my legs. They've been looking a little prickly.

6:00 PM

What to do with my hair? Pretty much every day is a bad hair day in the tropics. You get used to it on a daily basis but every now and again you just wish it would cooperate. Owning a hair straightener is pointless, the humidity would just fluff it up again in no time. Half the time it's wet and tangled from being in the water all day. When it's dry, it's a frizzy, not-quite-straight but not-quite-wavy mess. Most of the time I'll just pull it all back into a ballerina bun where it can't annoy me. Right now there seems to be just enough coconut oil in it to smooth out the frizz but not so much it looks dirty. I'll settle for a ponytail. Makeup was the last thing I wanted to take up space with in my luggage so I don't even own so much as a tube of lipstick. Chapstick it is. My sister would die.

6:30 PM

 On my way to Dive Shop A, I stop at 7-Eleven and buy a bottle of rum and a bottle of coke for just under 200 baht. I really need to stop buying drinks before going out. One of my Thai friends enlightened me that it's considered very rude in Thai culture to bring an outside drink into a bar, which makes me feel really bad but bar drinks are expensive! That 200 baht I just spent on a bottle of rum and a bottle of coke would get me exactly one cocktail at a bar. I mix the rum and coke whilst sitting on my bike in the parking lot, store the bottle of rum in my bike seat and put the coke bottle in my basket. Open container laws don't exist here.

7:00 PM

I show up at Dive Shop A to find the same scene I usually do which is everyone out on the side patio chilling. Our manager is going to be in the Save Miss Koh Tao pageant and so is having her makeup done while one of our freelancers works on her costume which is made entirely out of recycled materials. We all sit around and drink before heading off in the direction of the festival.

8:00 PM

The festival is over in an area I don't usually wander, just off the main road north of Sairee Village. I hadn't realized there was that much open space there as it is usually masked by jungle, but we walk up to find the entrance on our right with bouncers confiscating any outside drinks (there's karma for you) and a huge maze of bikes parked on our left. We all stand at the entrance gate drinking whatever drinks we had carried with us, which for me is a bottle of coke that is almost entirely rum at this point, and then pass through the cluster of bouncers where we find a large, glowing whale with its mouth opening into a tunnel. We walk through the whale which is maybe thirty meters long and emerge into the jungle which is decorated  with massive glowing jellyfish hanging overhead. Dozens of them. Crowds of people are everyone. In the distance to the left there is a massive stage set up with an LCD screen displaying what is happening on stage, which at the moment is a music performance. To the right there are rows and rows of tents set up selling food. Too bad I'm not hungry. The options are endless. In the middle is a large bar made entirely out of recycled glass bottles.




8:30 PM

We start with the food stalls which are endless and then make our way over to the bar. Drinks in hand, we merge our way through the crowd until we have a reasonable view of the stage to watch the Miss Save Koh Tao pageant. I love Thailand; I'm taller than the average Thai person and so standing in a crowd at an event I can actually see! Concerts and parades and such things make me sad back home because unless I am standing at the very front, my view is of backs and shoulders. But here I can actually see over the crowd! So this is what it's like to be average height. And that's what a stage looks like!

9:00 PM

Twenty or thirty dive shops have entered the beauty pageant and all the contestants parade around the stage in outfits that are quite exquisite and impressive for being made out of recycled materials. Our manager looks beautiful in a black gown covered in bottle caps painted gold that look like gold coins from a distance. She also has palm leaves strapped to her arms that look like wings. The outfit is some sort of mix between a Cleopatra costume and the Mockingjay dress.



10:00 PM

The night turns into a massive dance party with lots of drinking. Everything becomes fuzzy as more alcohol is consumed.

11:45 PM

I decide, well I don't know that decide is the right word since not a lot of thought is going into anything at this point. But I end up splitting a bucket with one of the DMTs. About halfway through the bucket I realize that any more is a bad idea. A very very bad idea. Maybe walking to the bathroom will sober me up a bit. I ask where the bathroom is and begin to weave my way through the crowds. I realize I didn't actually hear where the bathroom was, and the only one I know of is across the main road, on the other side of the parking lot, at the Big Blue bar. I head towards the exit and once I've made it that far, I keep going along the main road until I'm home.

12:15 AM

I crash onto my bed wondering how in the world I just got there. I'm on the verge of passing out but instinct tells me I should down some water to stave of the impending hangover. I make the mistake of taking my vitamins and my last two extra strength Tylenol as well which does not go over well with my stomach. The last thing I remember is seeing what a beet burger looks like several hours later.

5:40 AM

I wake up feeling like I should be lying in a grave. The lights are on and only half my clothes made it off. I flick the light switch off only to come to the sad realization that the light isn't what woke me up. My insides are twisting into knots and my head is exploding. There will be no sleeping through this.  I can hear at least three roosters nearby, loudly welcoming the sunrise. They apparently don't know anything about synchronization.

5:50 AM

My stomach accomplishes its feat of twisting itself into a pretzel which results in anything that was left inside being forced up. I run to the bathroom and when I return several minutes later, am relived to find that only one very far away rooster is still crowing. I can almost ignore that. I need water desperately. I turn to my bedside table and see that both water bottles sitting there are empty. I drag my sorry self up the stone staircase and into the kitchen only to find that we are out of water. I stare at the empty jug of water for several moments, wondering how bad dehydration could really be. I think I might cry. Right after I throw up. Oh wait there's nothing left in my stomach. I need water.

6:00 AM

The tasks required to leave the house take herculean effort, but I somehow manage to find a clean shirt, brush my hair, brush my teeth, and track down my keys and wallet, all whilst hunched over like Quasimodo.  I open my wallet to find that only 300 baht remains from last night. I really need to start budgeting better.

6:10 AM

I don't know how I manage to navigate the bike down the hill. Maybe it's Buddha. I do see a monk walking along the side of the road on my way to 7-Eleven so maybe he blessed the poor hungover girl. There is something very peaceful and soothing about seeing a monk dressed in his orange garb walking along an otherwise deserted road at 6:00 in the morning. In a few hours this road will be bustling with tourists on their rented scooters, and pickup trucks transporting customers to and from dive shops. We all say that this island isn't actually Thailand, but right now, at this moment, it is.

6:20 AM

I pull into the parking lot to find two of the roosters who wouldn't shut up this morning strutting about. The thought of chasing them with the bike briefly crosses my mind but then I see the monk across the street and think better of it. I buy two jugs of water and drive back up the hill. the worst part is schlepping the water jugs up the staircase. I consider just leaving the jugs there and bringing my water bottle back down to fill up, but somehow find the energy to haul them up to the front door. Mind over matter.

6:30 AM

I cradle my water bottle as I crawl back into bed but as soon as my stomach processes that there's water being sent down, it protests and sends it hurling back up along with some blue toothpaste. I decide that a/c is the answer and search around for the remote which I haven't used in days. It's been rainy and overcast the past week so the nights have been perfectly comfortable with just an open window. I set the a/c to 25 degrees celsius and within ten minutes have to turn it off again.

6:45 AM

I am finally able to keep water down but still feeling too much like a train hit me to sleep so I read. I read:

All very interesting, except for the Semester at Sea article which I find mildly disturbing. The article focuses entirely on how many people have died on the program and fails to mention anything positive about it. 

7:30 AM

I finally drift back to sleep

11:00 AM

I wake up for the second time this morning, feeling like maybe just a few motor bikes ran me down instead of an entire train. I think a shower might be nice so I head to the bathroom only to be attacked by an army of hungry mosquitos. In the time it takes me to undress I kill two, and miss three, resulting in a nice array of slap marks distributed across my arms, stomach, and bum. I slather conditioner into my hair and shampoo onto the rest of my body and turn the water on just long enough to wash it all off.

12:00 PM

I can finally begin to think about food without feeling queazy. I briefly contemplate going out for eggs before realizing that's a horrible idea and I should just eat the yogurt that's in the fridge like I always do. It's there. I head towards the kitchen and see my name written in massive red letters across our white board. "LEXI - Here's a pastie for you. We felt really bad you went for water so early this morning." I do a little jig and want to wrap my arms around my roommates and give them massive bear hugs because a pastie sounds so darn good right now, but they have already left. I nibble at the flakey crust, hoping beyond hope that pumpkin and spinach and cream cheese are about to come spilling out. I finally break the suspense by breaking it in half. It is the pumpkin, spinach, cream cheese one! I'm all smiles. Hangover cured.