Here’s a hodge-podge post about Ko Pha Ngan. We’ve been working and exploring this little island for the last three weeks, but our time here, sadly, is about to come to an end. This is a kind of highlight reel.
First and foremost we’ve been working, volunteering, WWOOFING, for a couple of guys who are building a luxury eco resort. They’ve got a million ideas, and we were set to work (mostly independently) on a few projects – two of them took up the majority of our time:
We started working on this ‘mini permaculture garden’, as I explained in this post. It’s still almost impossible to get a good photo of what we ended up with, but we leveled the small hill, built three mounds of sticks, mulch, soil and pig shit, ran a little path alongside the mounds, and drove some concrete steps into the slope to lead up to the path. Along the path we planted marigold, which acts as a natural insect repellant, and transplanted some lemongrass at either end. We never actually planted anything on top of the mounds (which was the whole idea), but hopefully somebody will some day.
Getting ten 5kg bags of pig shit home took three motorcycle rides from one end of the island to the other.
A poor, fat little bullfrog whose rear legs weren’t working.
Transplanting the lemongrass revealed bee larvae buried in the soil. A few confused bees stretched their wings for the first time and flew away. This one kept trying to re-bury himself.
Our other big project was kind of ambitious, and probably not very well thought through. One of the luxury bungalows was almost complete, and eventually there would be a private infinity pool attached to its deck. Right now, however, there wasn’t enough cash in the war chest to create this infinity pool, and so Guillaume had the idea of hanging a huge safety net from the deck, and attaching it to the surrounding trees to act as a gargantuan hammock-thing. He showed us the net, gave us some steel cable and fasteners, gave us a tyre (so the steel cable wouldn’t damage the trees), and then went to Bangkok for a week, leaving us to it.
No, we didn’t really know what we were doing. No, we didn’t really have proper equipment (you’d need a trained monkey to hang some of those cables – to operate the cherry picker). No, we have no idea what the safety regulations are in Thailand for this sort of thing.
The master plan.
Basically, it was a lot of trial and error (emphasis on ‘error’), and much time spent up trees. The problem of threading cable through tree forks too high to reach was solved by tying the cable end to a rope, and the rope to a rock, and chucking the rock through said forks, allowing the cable to be pulled up and over. Technical stuff like that.
But somehow, we kind of did it. Or we at least got it started. Now would probably be a good time to bring in the professionals.
Other than working, we mostly drove around finding amazing places to eat.
Our glorious steed. Carrier of pork manure. Deliverer of us to food and beaches.
Pizza at Mandolino, the finest on the island, we were told. The pizza topping contained real(!) mozzarella, blue cheese and homemade pork sausage. It was heavenly. The bruschetta that I’m stabbing was topped with tomato, olive oil and oregano.
Homemade Ferrero Rochers (much better than the original) and Raffaellos (much better than the original). Two places we frequented sold these, and we ate them as often as possible. We never tried the Bountys, mostly out of a lack of necessity.
Kuay teow tom yam. A sour pork broth, with minced pork and thick noodles, topped with a deep-fried wanton skin. As you can see, it’s also bursting with about 50 other kinds of goodness.
And when we weren’t eating or working or sleeping, we entertained Maja.
I finally got behind a drum kit again, during a jam night at a bar called ‘One Love’. That’s right. Hippies. Hippy beach jam. Filthy children running about. Poorly executed ‘funk-lite’ tunes that lasted far too long. Band members that didn’t make any eye contact with each other (with the exception of one balding guitarist). Admittedly, it was really fun while it lasted.
And lastly, when we weren’t really doing anything useful, we were gaping at the breathtaking scenery around the island.