I was right about the breakfast situation at our new hotel. Yesterday, our first morning here, we were so dismayed by the busy, impersonal experience ('Coupon please!' – coffee/tea/hot chocolate from one of those press-the-button-for-your-selection machines – a woman smoking at the table next to us – Immy and a man grabbing the same fork at the same time, which she found terribly awkward! – muzak pumping) that we decided Never Again. This morning we went up the road to La Fabrique, a small French bakery offering excellent coffee and delicious fare at the very busy 'temple corner', as we have christened it.
Afterwards, the others took their lives in their hands and crossed the main road to an 'Exotic Thai Antiques' shop and I decided that I really ought to stay on my side of the road and have a look at the Lamai Wat complex. It's one of the busiest temples on Koh Samui and includes a museum and cultural hall, on a site covering eight acres, but I didn't have time to wander around all of it. I also didn't have my camera, this having been only a trip for breakfast. So here's a phone blip.
All our driving around yesterday (and did I mention that we went to a Ladyboy Cabaret show in Chaweng last night?! It was great fun and took Nicky right out of his comfort zone!!) had left us feeling that we needed to have a beach day today, doing nothing in particular, so that's what we did. I got through a few more chapters of my book, got dumped by a wave and had to rush down the beach after our umbrella when it took off, sailing away in the wind and banging into other people. Christina and Nicky spent a lot of time in the waves and got a bit sunburnt; we all did some people-watching and marvelled at the antics of one man in particular, who was behaving like a hyperactive pre-schooler – seriously! – Christina surmised that he was high as a kite, possibly on cocaine – and then Nicky and Immy got bored.
At 5pm we all went for treatments at the hotel's spa. The girls opted for scrubs, and Nicky and I had massages. Mine ('Aromatherapy', though she never asked which oils I would like) was very relaxing, apart from the bits when she did my calves and stomach; Nicky's involved Balinese pressure and was OK, I think. Immy said that the experience of having her coffee scrub made her feel like an old table in an enthusiastic furniture restorer's workshop, and I think Christina enjoyed her more gentle one. This was a very good thing, as the evening before, she had accidentally had a torture session from a old woman (apparently the older the Thai masseur, the more 'vigorous' the experience!) Immy had had a relaxing foot massage, but somehow Christina had been led away to a different shack where the woman punched her in the spine and did so many brutal things to her that she had to come back and lie down with a drink of electrolytes, feeling nauseous, for a while!
For our New Year's Eve dinner, we went back to our old hotel, where we were greeted like prodigal children. They had set up an Alice in Wonderland-themed buffet around the pool, which was constantly being threatened by the gusting wind. (The Kumars were not in evidence; Bai Tong said they 'do not care much for our country's customs and they have many babies making too much noise, other guests don't like because they don't ask their childrens to be quiet ever.')
The dinner was nice and we won a bottle of Prosecco in the raffle. Unfortunately the promised rain arrived at about 10pm, so we made our way back to Lamai by taxi, where we saw the New Year in on our balcony after a walk along the beach watching the men juggling fire poi. The explosion of fireworks at midnight was spectacular – wow! Right above our heads, and all around the bay, the sky was lit up with starbursts and slowly-falling showers of red, gold, green and blue with accompanying booms and bangs. Later, people released paper lanterns that drifted south at quite a lick in the wind. Happy New Year, blippers one and all!