The Sound(s) of Silence

After the Full Moon party I was pretty dead and decided to spend the majority of that day lounging in my room watching Youtube videos. Anything else or anything that involved using my brain was absolutely out of the question. The goal for that night was to go to bed early and wake up and seize the following day. To accomplish this goal, I went to bed at 9:30 pm. Around 10 pm, the resort next to mine started pumping some deep house music….

The bass was like a drum inside my head, keeping me alert far past my brain’s desire to be awake. I absolutely could not fall asleep. I tried everything. Earplugs, opening the windows, Sting’s The Living Sea, pillows over my head. Nothing worked. I had no choice. I decided to open one of the many beers in my fridge. My poison for the night, Chang Beer. The beauty about Chang beer is that it has a 6% minimum alcoholic content. Because of lack of consistent standards in Thailand, Chang beer really has no upper limit. Some bottles might be 6%, others 7%, maybe even 8%. You just don’t know.

What started off as one beer soon turned into more, and I ended up drinking the majority of the night. It sounds sad, but I actually had a blast. I kept myself thoroughly entertained with an assortment of Youtube videos. I watched America’s Got Talent, political speeches including the best parts of Clinton’s Grand Jury Testimony, and music videos. My favorite was a live ACDC concert from the early nineties. Sometime around 3:30 I fell asleep.

I tried to make the best of the next day by renting a moped to see the island. I drove to Tony’s hostel to see if he wanted to join me. Instead he convinced me to join him in going to this inflatable obstacle course on a lake about a thirty minute drive away. The course was milder form of the obstacles used on the TV show Wipe Out. I spent the whole afternoon getting pummeled by obstacles successfully completing all but one.

That evening Tony and I went to Amsterdam bar. A beautiful bar, Amsterdam is located on top of a mountain. There is an infinity pool over which customers can watch the sun slowly slip beneath the ocean’s surface. Other than the view, Amsterdam is also know for its lenient ‘fun’ policy. While ordering a beer, you can also order Happy Shakes or Joints. I stuck to Chang. Also while at the bar, I meant a German girl by the name of Anne. Anne was also traveling alone, and like old friends, we spent an hour or so chatting about our travels. Before we left, I asked her if she wanted to rent Scooters and drive around the island the following day. She said yes.

The next morning I meant Anne at 10 am sharp. We spent the day driving around the island, stopping at various food shops and eateries. It was a lovely day. The highlight was the backside of Ko Phangan. It has some of the most remote and beautiful beaches I have seen thus far in Thailand.

That evening I watched a scary movie on my iPhone. The wind was howling, and being that I was basically alone in my resort, I decided a scary movie was necessary. I watched “Let Me In,” a vampire love story. Weird, but I highly recommend it.

The next day I was going to go to Ko Tao, but I was getting pretty tired of moving every three or four days, so I decided to book two more nights in a different hotel. The new hotel, the one you probably saw in video, was cheaper and nicer than my bungalow. That day it poured, and I took advantage of the rain by taking time to update my blog, listen to a lot of Podcasts, and hash out some
details of my new adventure.

That night I joined Anne and a bunch of other Germans for the Germany v. Portugal World Cup match. The Germans weren’t as rowdy as I was expecting, maybe because it wasn’t really a match since Germany won four to ZERO. Still it was a unique experience.

The next day, the 17th of June, I rented another moped and drove to Haad Rind, the location of the Full Moon Party to get a glimpse of what it looked like whilst sober. It was dead quiet and eerily empty; a stark contrast from five days prior.

The road was back was extremely hilly and quite the adventure. At the top of one hill, I stopped at a small little coffee shop/bar overlooking that ocean to get some coffee. Unfortunately, I only had a 1000 baht note and Steve, the bartender, couldn’t make change. Regardless, I spent the next hour or so chatting with Steve and his German girlfriend, Sarah. Steve had met Sarah after she crashed her moped outside the bar one day. He took care of her, and the rest is history. Steve, originally from England, has been in Thailand for one and half years doing bar jobs here and there. His tenure is almost up, and after Thailand, he will move to Germany with Sarah. I love the stories of people I meet traveling.

That night I took it easy and watched another movie, Lone Survivor. The following day I boarded a ferry to Ko Tao.

I titled this post the sound of silence because over the last six days I have mostly been by myself. Purposely choosing hotels over hostels, I wanted to see how much of Bret I could handle. The answer – quite a lot. For the first time in my entire trip I just thought for hours on end. I let my brain take me places I didn’t know it could go. I felt and sensed every emotion from euphoria to extreme loneliness. Some hours, I just brainstormed random ideas; everything from new blog post ideas to open-ended questions to use as conversation starters. I thought about my career. Of course that went nowhere. But while I still don’t know what I want to do with my life, this deep thinking has led me to have a better understanding of what I DO NOT want to do with my life. Finally the most important thing I took away from this self-reflection are about ten lessons I learned about myself while traveling abroad. I plan to write these in a blog post shortly. I actually would have published them sooner, but I was having some trouble finding my final theme. By the whims of fate, I meant the most interesting girl in Ko Tao (I am about a week behind in my blog), and she helped me hammer home the last few points. Stay tuned!

Keep chugging people.

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