July 2001

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July, 1  •   July, 7  •   July, 10  •   July, 11

July, 1     TOP

so, as i said, i went to koh sukorn. it took me quite a while to get there, first on the food supply truck for the island, then on a boat through mangroves and to the island and then on a motorbike to the bungalow. just fucking great place. got a bungalow on my own, very nice and just the size you need, little terrace in front with a deck chair and the beach in front of you. and they also had a big bookshelf with a few books i haven't read, it seemd to be a place to stay for a bit longer.
besides me there were only three other people there whom left the next morning. so actually i had the place on my own. i won't describe every single day because there was a lot of time just spent relaxing, going for a swim or a walk and just enjoy the time. the island is not very big so mainly you can walk or you take a bicycle for getting to the end of the island. there are 2500 people living there in three small villages. to reach the main village it takes you about 20 min to walk, you can have a cup of tea, do a little shopping.

the people are living either on fishing or on rubber plantations, so part of the forest is cut down for rubber trees. it is a quiet place, not many tourist are coming to that island, so actually i've spent two days on my own, before the next people came. some of them just keep to themselves but sometimes you are lucky and you do meet very nice people. when rafaele and nancy arrived i found a nice couple to talk to. we still spent the most part of the day on our owns, but met for lunch or after dinner and were sitting up, having a chat, what i enjoyed very much. just before my birthday we were up to seven people, amy and christy from scotland and rafael and melinda from australia. so even we never sat together as a group there were different people to talk to. one afternoon i played scrabble with amy and christy and won (only with one point but then it was in english and i think that's not to bad for me as a result).

one thing we had nearly every day was storms, wow, some of them very heavy so that you wake up in the middle of the night and start thinking if the bungalow will be blown away. i moved twice from one bed into the other just to be on the safe side in case the window would break. but then i like storms, sometimes you could see it come so we had to move in the kitchen with our lunch or better check if the windows were closed. mainly the storms were during the night, only twice during daytime.

lucky me, on my birthday (so we are now at the 27th of june), there was no storm - besides the one inside me. the thing is, i had sent my parents a fax with the phoneno. and of course hoped they would give it to some people. so you wait the whole day for someone to call, everytime the phone rang my heart beated a bit faster, at the end there was no phonecall at all and i was quite a bit disappointed and started thinking how to give some revenge. (checking my e-mails i found out that just half of the fax had arrived at my parents place, it was cut of just before the phoneno!)

but anyway, it was a great evening. nancy, rafaele and i shared a bottle of whitewine i had ordered from trang, i had crab for dinner and they had made a watermelon in the shape of a basket filed with the melonpieces and i also got a birthdaycake (pure sugar) with sugarroses and my name on it. i shared the cake with everyone and later on the three of us plus mahd, who was working there, were sitting up late (at the end with torches because you only have electricity from 6.30pm till 11pm), mahd playing the guitar, we trying to sing along - it was just great.
the end of the evening was a bit weird. after nancy and rafaele went to bed i sat up with mahd for another bottle of beer and he told me about a cousin of his and his problems etc. so i listend and try to help him to find a solution how to help his cousin. he got very sad so i lay my hand on his arm. wrong move - he started to try to kiss me and i just said good night and walked off. five minutes later a knock on my door "do you have a cigarette for me" i gave him one and shut my door.

next morning he tried to stay out of my way, i think he was a bit embarassed. that was my last day on koh sukorn, so i just enjoyed a sunny day, went for a swim, read a bit and just had a nice relaxing day. that night was very strange, ther was another storm so i woke up and then after a while i heard strange noises just outside my bungalow like someone was trying to move very quiet around. i still don't know what it was - i just hoped i locked my door.

the next morning i had to get up very early to catch the boat back to the mainland. mahd brought me to the ferry and so i got there much to early. my plan was to go to pattalung and try to stay at the songkhla lake. when i got to pattalung nobody could speak english and it was very tricky to explain where i wanted to go to. after a while i just gave it up and thought i'll see where i get to. at the end it was just the right place although i still didn't know the name of the place (i figured that out the next day). anyway it was a small village at the north of the lake and it's the place of the thale noi bird sanctuary. first thing, like always, was to try to find a place to stay. there is only one place to stay and that is so expensive that i had to bargain. i got my room down from 590 baht to 350 baht which is still to much, but there was no other place to go. then i arranged a boattrip for the next day to see all the birds.

in the evening i met the other guests, a 3 star general and his wife. they were having dinner with some locals in our guesthouse and invited me to join in. wow, what a treatment, we had spiny lobster, fish, soups and several other things, it was just great. and then they offered me a lift to hat yai for the next morning after my boattrip, what else do you want.

so the next morning (29th) at 7am i went out with a boat. it's difficult to describe, the lake is partly covered with pink water lilies which looks amazing and there are heaps of birds. i even saw some sea eagles. the whole trip took about 2,5 h and i was glad to have a binocular with me. i really loved it.

afterwards i met up with that couple and we went first to another place at the lake, close to pattalung and had some lunch there (fish, prawns, squid). the thing is, i wasn't even asked, it was clear for them that i would join them. i actually think i had dinner and lunch on the thai army's expense. then they brought me to hat yai where i got a minibus to get to songkhla. funny thing, there was this guy arriving at the guesthouse i'm staying in with a big motorbike. i checked the number plate because i thought it might be someone i've heard of before. it was a german plate and he had a sticker from india on one of his cases. so i asked him if he had had an accident a few weeks ago and was usually travelling with two others. i was right. i had met thomas friends carmen and frank in sihanoukville in cambodia and they had told us about him. so we spent the evening together, went out for dinner, bought two bottles of beer and sat outside of the guesthouse. later on johann from australia (original austria) joined in and together we went to the nightmarket.

today is the 1st of july and thomas left to get to the malaysian border. we had breakfast together and were joined by johann and emanuel and an elderly italian guy. actually i've spent nearly the whole day with emanuel and johann. we went to the national museum, nice building and quite interesting. afterwards emanuel took us to a place for lunch where they have a kind of thai buffet and you can eat as much as you want for 20 baht, wonderful food. afterwards it was time for a little siesta but we said we'd meet up at 3.30 to go to an italian place for a nice coffee. actually emanuel is travelling with an espresso cooker and has his own coffee. so we went to that place run by a nice young italian and had a cup of espresso with massimo and talked about travelling around indonesia. so i've spent a really nice day today.

something to say about the filming - i decided i don't want to join in anymore, i'm just back in the mood for travelling and can't see myself going back to krabie. i might stay a few days here, well latest on friday i've got to leave for malaysia.
that's all for now, will continue with news in a few days, before i leave this place.
July, 7     TOP

after i finished my diary the last time, we went out for dinner in the chinese quarter. it's the nicest quarter of songkhla and you get a really good noodle soup. at the end it was a quite long night, sitting in the guesthouse with johann, having a nice chat.

next morning i wanted to climb the hill (khao noi) to take some photos, but then the light was not so good and i ended up walking along the beach to the golden mermaid and then up another smaller hill. there were some monkeys up there and i wanted to watch them for a while, but then i got a guide, i tried to explain that i rather would be on my own, but it seemed he didn't listen because wherever i went he followed. there is nothing more annoying then someone following you when you want to be left alone. at the end i just walked a bit faster and left him behind, but also the hill and the monkeys. back at the guesthouse i met emanuele and we checked a few travelguides and made some copies (now i've got some information about sumatra, it really looks as if i'm getting there in a while). then we had something for lunch and of course our siesta afterwards.

we actually wanted to meet again in the afternoon to go to massimo, but i just forgot the time while i was reading, but then i knew where to go, a bit later johann came with some cakes. so coffee and cakes (although i just had a water twice coffee in a week is a bit much for me).

the whole rest of the day we spent together and i must say emanuele is one of the best storytellers i've met. he's been travelling all over and has been in some strange situations and it's great to hear all these stories. but about 2am i was so tired, i had to go to bed.

on tuesday, july 3rd emanuele left to hat yai. so it was johann and me left, but then we met alex from brazil. and there was still this hill to be climbed which i didn't that day again. i've spent some time with johann, had a chat with alex and for dinner the three of us plus annemiek from holland went for dinner. afterwards we walked through the streets to look for a place to have a beer or live music or something but ended up again sitting outside our guesthouse with a few beers. annemiek went to bed early but alex, johann and i had some difficulties finding the way to our beds. sometimes it's just great to sit up have some serious talk, some nonsens and just enjoy the company. it ended up that johann and i still sat there when they opened the guesthouse again. so we had some tea before we went to bed (about 9.30am). i mean, everyone can imagine, that there was not a lot happening during the rest of the day, although i got up again at 12.30pm, but i didn't feel like moving around, so i just read a bit, talked to alex and had some rest. so of course i didn't climb that hill! later we went for dinner and on the way back listened to a concert for a bit. but we had an early night this time.

not a lot to say about the next day, slept in, had some tea, forgot my breakfast and lunch completely and just enjoyed to be alive and beeing at this place at this time with this company. and still didn't walk up the hill. i think the hill will still be there if i come back, because this was my last day in thailand.

the next morning i had to leave, i wasn't that happy about it, but then it was the last day of my visa. so i took the bus to hat yai to get a minibus from there to penang. everything worked fine i thought, till this guy working for this company told me the driver of the minibus had forgotten to pick me up and was now at the thai-malaysian boarder. so i got on a taxi with two guys from liberia to get to penang (same price as the minibus for me but much more comfy). it took a while to get to penang and then it took a while to get rid of one of these two guys, who wanted to pay me a proper hotel room and be my friend....

at the end i just walked off (very impolite, but who cares) and looked for the place i wanted to stay. i think i've never been in such a big dorm, but it's alright. the rest of the evening i've spent walking around the indian quarter, finding something to eat (i just got used to thaifood and now i have to find out again which food is not so spicy that it does burn holes in my stomach).

today i went to the national museum and spent a few hours in there. it's a nice and intersting museum about all the different people living in penang (mainly malays, chinese and indians). then i had a look around at the heritage centre and i might buy a book about some trails here on penang, might stay a few days longer then i thought, but we'll see.

after lunch i had my siesta and the last hours i've spent searching for a indonese dictionary or phrasebook. i found only one (that was of course in the first place i've been to, but i had to walk for another 1,5 hours) it's not the best but then better then nothing. so after finishing this here i'll go and have a look if it's still there. and then it's nearly time to think about something for dinner.

so, more news in a while....
July, 10     TOP

what i didn't tell in the last entry, i got lost in a shopping centre here trying to buy that book. it took me ages to find my way back (later i heard i wasn't the only one). and in the museum i lost my shoes. i had put them next to the staircase and when i came back they were gone. one guy tried to tell me something about my feet and shoes, but i didn't get what he was talking about. so i walked downstairs in the search for my shoes. actually all the guys working there started laughing when they saw me coming barefoot. one of them had taken my shoes and put them outside, hiding them away....

mist, ich habe meine unterlagen im hotel gelassen, weiter im text spaeter.
i try to translate: "crap, i've left my papers in the hotel, later more."    :-)
July, 11     TOP

again back to july, 7th: after finishing my last entry i went back to that shop where i had seen this book about indonesian. they actually had three books, one was a german translation and was 10rm cheaper then the english. the guy tried to explain that this is in german and not english, i tried to explain that i don't bother. he was a bit persistent till i told him that i am german and that i can really speak and read this language. at the end he sold me the book. shit, now i've got something to do and it doesn't look that easy. but every day half an hour should get me a bit knowledge of that language. later on i went to the nightmarket to get something for dinner, still often don't know what they actually cook there.

having been to the heritage centre i got two streetmaps with heritage trails explained on them. so that was my thing to do for the next morning. they made it actually quite nice, you've got a map with a short introduction to all the houses and temples and when you get to that places there is more information on signs in front of the places. it's a nice way to explore a place. so i spent the whole morning cruising around the streets. starting point was fort cornwallis, not a lot to see there but now i can say i've been there. then you walk along the town hall and court buildings (very british!) and so on. what i really liked was the cheah kongsi: "like the khoo kongsi and the acheen street mosque, the cheah kongsi is located in a large compound accessible only through a narrow entrance. coming through the gateway you'll find a little surprise - a splendid doublestorey chinese temple with an open balcony and sweeping roof, decorated with british lionheads, standing on the edge of a small but well kept lawn. straight ahaed is the association's building, with a charming heritage interior."

i spent a few hours on that walk and then it was really time to have a break. after traveling for quite a while through this heat and humidity you get into a good way of living with it. which means you get up early, have your breakfast (at the moment every morning two rotis with curry plus the susu (susu = milk)), do something, come back around lunchtime, have something light for lunch, have a siesta till about 3.30pm, then do something again, get your dinner later and see how you spend the rest of the evening.

anyway so i had my siesta and then met rob, a dutch guy, at the hostel. we had a really good chat, actually used to work in similar fields, both got fed up with that and he's now doing a few things in the art scene with people from sri lanka, singapore etc.
later on he took me and chinese friends of his out for a wonderful thai dinner. jonny, his friend, had picked us up and after dinner showed us or especially me penang by night. it was a great evening, i enjoyed jonny mother a lot. a very outgoing chinese lady.

the next morning i started the next heritage walk, which took me a bit further around. i defenitly haven't seen all temples in georgetown, but i have seen enough now (although still have to go up penang hill, even though there was something about me and hills)! one of the last places to go to was the christian cemetery where a few "famous people" are buried, like francis light, the founder of georgetown, or thomas leonowens, although he never was famous. it's only that he was the husband of anna leonowens who wrote "the king and i" (the thais don't like it at all, the films and the book are officially banned in thailand). i like these old english style cemeteries, but i really like to be there on my own and not with a malay who wants to be my guide. "oh, you have a beautiful dress... you have nice legs..." - "AND I DON'T WANT TO BE TOUCHED, DON'T EVEN TRY IT AGAIN!!!!" so, he left me alone, i mean you don't have to shout, you just have to say it minimum twice and look a little bit annoyed.

so i didn't spent as long there as i wanted, instead i tried to find the jewish cemetery, bloody long walk and then it was even locked with a big chain!
anyway having walked that far i remembered that rob told me about this shopping mall where you can get cheap software (i was looking for a tefl program, he had bought three a few months ago). of course i couldn't find anything and i even had to wait for a while till there where a few shops open. do i know that these shops don't open before lunchtime?!

after my siesta i went out for an icecoffee in one of these nice kopi places to go on with my indonese studies (i'm not sure if i'll ever learn that language).
later on i met rob again and he told me that i could go later with him again to one stop to check for the software. of course it was sold out in all places. being a bit frustrated i started window shopping. after a while i thought i must be very desperate when i do start window shopping, better leave and get something for dinner.

that night we've been sitting up on the balcony with a bunch of people (why can't people from glasgow speak a bit more understandable).

needing everyday a new challenge i went the next morning to the botanical garden. it's a nice place and they have a nice shortwalk through the rainforest there as well, where you can sit and watch the long-tailed macaques. but always watch out that you don't sit on an antstrack! so i've spent a few hours there, just very relaxing.
afterwards i had a long siesta, there was not a lot of wind the last two days so around midday you just need a shady place with a fan...
later that afternoon i met rebecca from holland who had her birthday. so lee, rebecca and i went out for a tandoori chicken and then rebecca and i went to one of these kopi places (kopi = coffee) and had the susu. we figured out that we have quite similar plans for the next days, going to sumatra and all that, but with a different amount of time. anyway later that evening we decided to travel together for a while. could be nice to have company for some time.
that was the first evening i watched a movie with the others, but it was a very nice one ("billy elliot") and i haven't seen it before. at the end we had a late night again on the balcony.

i didn't sleep very well that night, someone was playing with a chainsaw somewhere close by (i mean it sounded like a chainsaw - and it was after midnight!!!) and then one of the guys in the dorm started masturbating. i mean he was not even in a bed close to mine but i still could here this "fump, fump, fump" and it took him ages to get finished. so much about mixed dorms! although it's not happening very often.

so now it's wednesday, july 11th and i had a very lazy morning. i brought my films to a photoshop, so they should be ready by late afternoon (it was very cheap, so i couldn't resist) and now i've been sitting here for a while and i'm glad that i got everything written down.

tomorrow i'll leave for sumatra, so it might take a bit till i'll write again.
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