March 13th 1984

posted in: The way back | 1
Bophut beach

We were awoken by the commotion of people getting ready to disembark – we were just pulling in to Na Thon, the main town + port of Ko Samui.  We’d been approached last night by the owner (or tout) of one of the bungalow groups offering to take us there, + since the nightly rate was reasonable, we thought we’d at least give it a try – we could always move if we didn’t like it.  It also made things simpler this morning – the guy took care of the bags, seeing them stowed on top of a bemo-like pick-up, and we were driven round to Sunny’s bungalows on Bophut beach.  Bungalows is too grand a word really – at our price range, they are nothing more than a fairly flimsy hut with a mattress inside, but each complex has its own restaurant, + there are clean showers + toilets.

We arrived in time to watch the sun come up over the point at the far end of the beach, then took a short nap.  Breakfast came later, after which a stroll down the beach.  There are a couple of other bungalow groups at this end, including one which announces proudly on a sign facing the beach – “We have magic mushrooms every day.”  The beach itself was a little disappointing – coarse sand + cloudy water – not the stuff to tempt one into the active life. 

So, while Val lazed in a hammock – this would be during the afternoon sometime – I went to try a plateful of shrooms.  They were cooked in an omelette, + certainly tastier than the shroom jaffle we had wasted our money on in Bali.  I thought for quite a while that the effect was going to be the same, however.  I wrote then diary for a while, then Val dragged herself out of her hammock, + we wandered back to Sunny’s.  A bit of swimming there, a bit of lazing around, + still no buzz.  So Val + I decided we’d write it off to experience, + went for a walk anyway.

A long way down the beach was Peace bungalows, + we stopped there for a drink.  I had a coffee shake which was simply wonderful – I was getting the first intimations now that those shrooms were doing their stuff.  It was different from anything I’ve experienced before, however – not the incessant giggles I’ve had from the same things in England, but a deeper, more introspective thing.  Too much so, perhaps… and that way lies madness.  I was still able to appreciate physical things too – colour, taste, etc.  Before I sank too deeply we went for a walk further to the small village + beyond – fascinating, more like a cowboy town really – + then turned back.  The sun was still up when we started back, but it was completely dark by the time we made it back.

It was some trip, believe me.  Much of it is now the vaguest of impressions, not really memory at all, but Val has helped me to reconstruct it all.  I fell over twice, the second time after hearing a loud crack in the bushes, + thinking I was shot, + both times I lay there for ages, gazing at the sky, the sun, anything, + talking, talking.  We went for a swim, me making Val promise to pull me up if she thought I was lying in the water too long, as I was convinced my normal instincts would not apply, I was so relaxed.  And I did stay a long time face down, unworried, knowing Val would grab me, + not caring if she didn’t.  Her rescue attempt, when it came, was clumsy + hilarious, + I loved her for it.  She grabbed me around my waist + pulled up, dragging my stomach clear of the water but leaving my head submerged.

Another time we saw a girl on the beach, 20 yards ahead or so, + I said to Val, “Wouldn’t it be amazing if she took all her clothes off?”, knowing it couldn’t happen.  And then she stepped out of her sarong, naked, + went into the water.  I was really freaked out, to think that I’d somehow developed the power to make my erotic fantasies come true.

I rugby-tackled Val another time too, tho’ that I think was earlier.  It was a good tackle.  And all the time I was gibbering, I was watching myself gibbering, + watching myself watching…+ that way lies madness.  I was finding it difficult to talk, because half-way through each sentence, I would discover something more important to say, + then something more important again.  I kept analysing my own thoughts, but was hampered there too, partly because my immediate memory was destroyed, partly because the analysis would turn in upon itself…. + that way lies madness.  I couldn’t work out if my thinking was becoming more or less profound,+ was amazed that when I spoke to Val, she seemed to understand me.

Eventually, we arrived back at Sunny’s + had dinner.  It was more or less disastrous, however, because they didn’t understand us, so once we’d managed to eat what they presented, we went next door to Bophut Bungalows.  The woman in charge of the kitchen there is French, + it shows.  As well as wonderful m-m-omelettes, she does superb rice pudding pancake + banana flambe.  (Tho’ my having a decided case of the munchies may have helped.)

And on to one of the must-do traveller’s experiences, hanging out on a Thai island. We have not been back since, but my impression is that it is now very much a mainstream destination (with an airport perhaps?) but then it was, for us at any rate, at an early and attractive stage of development: cheap places to sleep, to eat, to take drugs…

Apologies as ever for the drug trip accountmuch like the actual event, more interesting for me than others. And for much of the time, it was a lot of fun, especially when I discovered my super-power of making my fantasies come true. And there was a lot of laughter… but it was the night that was the worst, whgen Val went to sleep, leaving me to deal with just wandering aroujnd my own mind – quite a disturbing experience.

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