If you are a google searcher who was trying to find a banana cake, then I'll cut straight to the chase. The best banana cake in all the places I've traveled is made by the British ladies at a little cafe called Through The Looking Glass on the island of Koh Tao, Thailand. It will knock your socks off, stuff you like a pig, and you will cry a little bit when you are too full to continue indulging in its perfection. You won't even care when you've gained five kilos after eating it because it was just that good. You'll also threaten to wring your roommates necks if they so much as think about eating it without you after you've gone to bed. This banana cake will make you extremely popular, and also ruin friendships. You won't care either way because you have the banana cake to end all banana cakes.

And for those of you who actually care about my blog, here you are:

Thursday Night

We all went out to Banyan Bar at the end of the day to watch one of the dive shop's snorkel tests. For those of you who need to catch up, a snorkel test is a right of passage and an initiation ceremony we scuba divers give to DMTs (Dive Master Trainees) once they've completed their Divemaster course and are ready to enter the professional world of diving. There are copious amounts of alcohol involved and a good deal of embarrassment. Always good fun to watch, plus three of our own DMTs at Dive Shop A would be doing their snorkel tests the following night so we wanted them to watch what they were in for.

First there was a race, a competition of two guys against the other four to see which team could chug four beers first. The team of two consisted of a massive hulk of a dude and an average sized hippie guy as far as hippies go. The team of four consisted of three long-haired boys who hadn't hit puberty yet and a girl who had more testosterone then her three teammates combined. The team of two won. There was a tug of war in which the team of two also won. Then everyone had to race to see who could chug two shots, a sixteen oz screwdriver, and a beer the fastest. Scary masculine girl won. Then the fun started when everyone was given the task to go collect two articles of underwear from a volunteer of the opposite sex and model said underwear. Scary masculine girl won again. Everyone was teamed up into groups of two, one person had to lie on the ground with a roll of toilet paper, the other person had to sit in front of them blindfolded with a snorkel and penetrate their teammate's roll of toilet paper with their snorkel. Then came the main event as everyone put on their taped up masks and had an entire bucket dumped down their snorkel. During that moment we all had to vacate the front row before the rainstorm of vomit began.

Friday

The ferry brought us a new roommate in the form of one of Kyle's friends from back home. Our couch is getting a bit cramped so we'll probably have to start taking reservations. We also received news that Fletch and Summer would be arriving the next day! So we booked it to the little British bakery called Through the Looking Glass to order a nice cake. There were four flavor options, vanilla, chocolate, something else mundane, and banana. Kyle and I both jumped on the idea of a banana cake (I was thinking banana bread in cake form) and asked them to write "Welcome Home Fletch and Summer" on it.

Friday night was the snorkel test for three of our own lovely DMTs. We held it at a bar on the south end of Sairee called Maya and had them all dress up as super heroes. Then we drowned them in copious amounts of alcohol and had them answer what their super powers were, what the most embarrassing moments of their internship were, and then had them complete heroic tasks such as push ups while dousing them in eggs and flour. The icing on the cake was making them rescue a damsel in distress, Simona.


The night ensued at Diza Bar where you can get into a good bit of trouble buying nitrous oxide balloons for 100 baht. They sell balloons everywhere on the island, but most of them are small and only contain co2. Diza has the real deal and has resulted in the destruction of many brain cells.

Saturday

The ferry delivered the last two roommates we were waiting for. Fletch is here at long last. I had looked at the ferry schedule to see what time it was supposed to arrive, but what I was reading and what Fletch was told and when the ferry actually arrived were three totally different times. I ended up standing there and waiting for what felt like ages, but finally the Lomprayah docked and I hugged Fletch for the first time in three months. Three whole months I've been here already.

We brought Fletch and Summer back to the house and gave them the grand tour. They unpacked a bag of peachy o's, fresh from one of those places with a little green cross sign in Colorado and started passing them around. Kyle and I decided it was probably about time to go on our secret mission to retrieve the banana cake, and so left everyone at the house to visit. Picking up the banana cake proved to be a little more difficult then expected. I suddenly had no idea how I was supposed to sit on the back of the bike and hold the cake at the same time, and Kyle forgot how to drive. We sat down on the curb, banana cake in hand, completely stuck, with no way to move. We sat there totally lost, long enough for four different people we knew to drive by and stop and attempt to converse. That went about as well as the driving.

So we sat there for a really long time, not sure if we should continue sitting or try to find a taxi.

Finally I got up to go find a bathroom across the street and when I returned we went home before we could get stuck sitting again.

Then we ate the banana cake and man was it divine. It was more moist (my favorite word) than a typical cake, yet not as dense as banana bread. The flavor was perfection. The texture was soft and gooey. The frosting was rich and delicious. Everyone just sort of got lost in their own little worlds as we devoured it. Fletch and I spent the rest of the day napping, only to wake up to texts from everyone else threatening to eat the rest of the banana cake. Obviously we raced to the kitchen to make sure the cake was still safe. We just barely made it in time.

The Rest of the Week 

In other news, I started my MSDT! Master Scuba Diver Trainer, the next level of instructor. I signed up to do my wreck and nitrox speciality instructor courses at a dive shop called Master Divers that I really like. Hopefully having done some coursework there will give me a shoe in the door once busy season comes around. Doing two dives on our local wreck, the HTMS Sattakut was great fun. I'm not allowed to take students inside because doing so requires additional training, so I've done many a dive leading students around the outside, merely peering in through the portholes. But I finally got to penetrate the wreck! There's nothing quite as spooky as swimming through the ruins of an old ship, no sound but that of your own breathing, eerie lighting scattered through the portholes, and in the middle section there were some grates leading to lower levels, all blocked off, but there were little shrimps playing on the grates, just barely visible. Those were cool to see.

Also in the scuba diving news category, I taught my first SSI course! There are many diving agencies that you can get certified through, PADI (Professional Association of Diving Instructors) being the one you are all probably familiar with and the one that I am certified and qualified to teach through. Another well known agency is Scuba Schools International, and the dive shops here on Koh Tao are split about 50/50 between the two. Most instructors will do a cross-over here so that they can teach through both agencies, but I didn't have much interest in crossing over. I'd rather advance my training through PADI then pay to learn the same things I already know, just under the name of another dive agency. Yes it would mean more work here, but once we travel on the majority of the world deals with PADI.

So back to the part where I actually taught an SSI course. I got a phone call at 6:45 the other morning from Kyle asking if I could be at the shop right then to teach an advanced course. I was half asleep and delirious so not thinking clearly, and stumbled my way down the hill as if in a dream. It wasn't until we were actually on the boat that Kyle realized the advanced course I was supposed to be teaching was supposed to be an SSI course. Oops. I went ahead and did the guys' advanced and wreck dives and let my boss sort out the problem when I got back. Turns out, so long as I am working under the "indirect supervision" of an SSI instructor, I'm allowed to teach the course. There are some funny standards in scuba diving.