Friday, December 26, 2008

Ko Tao

(PICTURE: On our private beach in Ko Tao)

Hannah and I have talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail together for quite some time. We have a grand vision of our journey from Georgia to Maine ending with the publication of a book entitled: "Hiking with Hannah. Backpacking with Ben." Depending on how you hold the book you can read about our trip from my perspective or from Hannah's. You know, a classic "he said/she said" type of book. And yes, only our parents would probably buy it.

Well, those dreams came to a crashing halt on the island of Ko Tao. When Han and I arrived on the island we decided to start off on the east coast which we had read was the remote side of the island. After docking on the island we were immediately confronted by a dozen taxi drivers all asking us where we wanted to go. We told them the name of the beach (Ao Leuk -- it's pronounced Ow-Lock...I think) and they instinctively all laughed. We had no idea why they were laughing and they didn't exactly elaborate. We chose one taxi driver and got in the back of his pick-up truck. (On a side note, most taxis here take some form of pick-up truck form where the passengers sit in the bed). The taxi driver told us he would take us close to the beach but couldn't go all the way there because "the road was bad." After about a seven minute drive we realized two things:

1. We had paid too much for our ride since it was really close and easily walkable (Again, bad job by Lonely Planet).

2. The road was really bad.

Here's a picture of Hannah after she slipped on the road:

As you can see the road is pretty broken up. After this first little fall I took Hannah's bag (big brother points!) so she could go slowly down the incline. While Hannah inched her way along -- and sometimes purposely used her butt sliding technique -- I had an epiphany: this road is no Appalachian Trail! At the rate we were going on this road, we would need at least a year to finish the trail.

Eventually we got to the beach and paid $12 for a bungalow. Besides us, only one other bungalow was occupied (late in the night a couple also came). There were so few people actually staying at the resort that we were actually outnumbered by stray dogs...and one took a shining to us.