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Day 4: Island in the Sun

On our last day on Koh Samui I rose early and had a coffee while editing photos in the shade of a palm tree, an absolutely ideal working environment. Soon everybody was up and we went for breakfast not on the beach, but on a deck overlooking it, for variety. Then we split, with me among a group of five hitchhiking to Chaweng beach for a little shopping: four of us were looking for dresses and shoes, the fifth was looking for a polarizing filter, and I never found one. It was punishingly hot, and we were soon all drenched with sweat, but we managed to sneak a peak at The Library, one of the ten most beautiful beach hotels in the world according to TripAdvisor, and that nearly made up for the heat.


When I was last in Chaweng in early december two years ago, I had it mostly to myself, and found it enchanting. Today, however, it was completely overrun with noisy obnoxious tourists. After a short walk and a drink on the beach we headed back to Lamai and had lunch with everyone around 3-ish. If you ask me, when it comes to food the Thais get absolutely everything right. All their dishes are delicious, the flavors are fresh, varied and exciting, and they don't care for stifling unnecessary rituals such as preset meal times.

Eventually we jumped into a Songthaew (wiki link) to Bophut, the more serene and family-oriented of the Samui resort beaches. The main street was like all resort shopping streets everywhere, full of antique shops, clothing stores and ice cream parlors, but still lively and exciting. Near the end of the beach we found a cosy little bar and sat on big beach cushions listening to smooth lounge and drinking fruit shakes.

Bophut seemed to specialize in fresh barbecued seafood. Plenty of restaurants had a prominent display of freshly caught fish and squid waiting impatiently to be ordered, grilled and devoured, so we chose our favorites and indulged them. After this sumptuous meal the bravest of us made a visit to Dr. Fish, a nearby fish foot spa. One of nature's improbable creations, Garra rufa is a small fish that likes to feed on human feet afflicted with psoriasis. We need not worry about whether this is an effective treatment for the condition, as Thai folklore says it is, because today the little critters are advertised as cures for everything, and tourists mostly try it for no other reasons than experiencing the feeling of dozens of fishes nibbling on their toes. As you might expect, if you're the least bit ticklish this is definitely a spectator sport, much more enjoyable to watch than to actually partake in, so I was once again glad to be accompanied by very daring individuals. We watched them from the other side of the window, like they were in a zoo or possibly Ripley's Believe It or Not, and enjoyed it immensely.

After that we headed back to Lanai, sat on the beach for the last time, exchanged sad goodbyes with those who left the adventure here, went to sleep and thus closed the first chapter of our journey.