Day 22 – Fri – 26th June:
Today after breakfast at our hotel (proper breakfast with not 7-11 snacks), we decided to hire a motorbike (scooter) and try to bike to a beach which has a stretch of sand leading to a tiny island.
We walked 20 minutes to the small street of shops which has a 7-11, a pharmacy, a travel agents and a couple of clothes shops. On the way we asked in a couple of motorbike hire places. The price seemed to be 150 baht a day and then gasoline is 40 baht a bottle and you can buy this anywhere by the side of the road.
We got some supplies in 7-11 it decided to think about the bike.
Back at the hotel we went snorkelling at Haad Yao beach, which we could access via steps directly from the hotel. I read a kindle book on my iPad mini.
After lunch we were walking out of the hotel to the bike hire place but then we noticed that right at the top of the slope that led to the road there was a hut and bunch if bikes for hire.
We enquired about hire for half a day and she said it was 200 baht for a whole day or half but if we hired now then we could have it until the same time tomorrow.
The deposit was a passport or 10,000 baht (about £185 GBP). Maren gave in her passport and signed the disclosure. On the back of it was a picture of the bike and the lady (manning the hut) showed us round the bike and ringed all the marks and previous damage. It also listed all the parts and the price/value of each part. The lady said we would have to pay half that price if there was any damage on any part.
So off we went, Maron said she felt safer driving herself so I sat in the back. I was already very comfortable doing this as I have been on quite a few motorbike taxis since Ko Samui.
We drove off to the beach using another disproportional tourist map.
We snorkelled but as this is such a popular beach much of the coral reef was broken which was a shame. I read on the beach and Maron was reading my copy of 1984 which I gave her.
On the beach there was a family of black dogs with four cute puppies, a mum and perhaps an aunt or a grown puppy from an earlier litter. All the tourists were playing with them, they were very cute.
We left about 5pm in order to get back before dark as sunset is very early over here, between 6-7pm.
A minor disaster! We stopped at 7-11 on the way back and I think Maron braked a little hard on some sand and the bike went right over! We were both fine and a few people came over to check we were ok.
The bike had four new scratches though! Oh dear. We were not looking forward to what the hire lady was going to say!
We drove back and left the bike outside the hire hut.
Another nice dinner at the hotel and a nighttime swim in the pool. I also then spent some hours in my hammock reading overlooking the sea.
Day 23 – Sat – 27th June:
This morning at breakfast we were very apprehensive as to what would happen about the bike! The silly thing is that the damage was purely cosmetic and they won’t replace the parts just charge us and leave it. Maybe they make a lot of money this way from tourists. There were certainty a lot of marks on the bike before we started using it.
The manager came over and we asked where the hire lady was. He said she would be back later but he would go and look at the bike now so Maron could have her passport back.
He got on his own scooter and drove the 50 metres up the steep slope (that we have been walking to the road every time we leave the hotel). This was very daft we thought but that is the Thai way, not to walk anywhere.
We think it is something that was reasoned when prior to 40 or so years ago, it was several hours walk to the nearest shop. However now there are shops every few feet in most places. It’s strange that even in the big cities people will look at you in horror if you attempt to walk more that a couple of hundred metres. If Bangkok was London, you would just walk everywhere. It is something which seems to be imbedded in the culture and the people here.
The man spotted the marks and asked us if we dropped the bike. We said sort of but he knew we had caused the damage but he said we would have to wait till tomorrow when the hire lady was back to pay her. Maren was a little annoyed because they kept her passport.
We just spent the day on the beach and by the pool.
No pictures of the bike I’m afraid, we were planning on taking one with us on it but we were in a bit of shock after we dropped it so we forgot.
We have booked a boat trip for tomorrow to go and see the Ang Thong Marine Park.
Next up: days twenty-four and twenty-five.
Previously: days twenty and twenty-one.