Drug Dens, Ghost Ships & Sand Flea Bites

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I’d heard stories about this place since arriving on the island.

The stories ranged from being told that inside the huge cruise ship, located close to the beach, drugs were cooked, card games played and tourists banned. Lives could be threatened if going in. Words were uttered about suicides – eerie visits and ghostly encounters.

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Needless to say, my interest was piqued. Curiosity reared its head. I wanted to explore this unfrequented resort – to feel for myself what was going on, to walk away scared out of my wits or succumbed to silence in fear.

The last time I had been intending on visiting, I’d badly cut my foot, whilst climbing out on rocks after an ocean swim. The desire to explore the secluded beach and sandy area, overtaken by a need to keep my foot clean and dry. This time though, I had decided that sunday-my last weekend on the island, would be a good day to explore.

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Passing Klong Koi beach at the bottom end of Koh Chang, the road climbed higher once again – the usual sweeps and curves appeared, as I had become accustomed to and respectful of, on our little island.

Finally we reached a security guard and barrier. Paid 100 baht and entered – driving past sculpted elephants. My initial thought that the place was deserted proved to be wrong but there were only a few others here.

I saw a member of staff walking in the reception area and realised we could get a drink if needed. A couple of westerners chatted, on the beach over to the side of the huge cruise ship and before the small villas. They seemed to like their lonesomeness.

I spied towels hanging over the rails of one of the small villa boats and wandered inside, peering through clean glass windows to perfectly ready, made up hotel rooms. People must be staying here – would have to be competent on a scooter, my thought. At the same time, it smelt musty and old – I felt nothing here, just alone. Well, maybe a little eerily alone but it soon passed as I walked back out into the sunny day again.

Although there was not a lot going on  – the toilets were usable at the pool. Although I could not be sure if the pool was kept chlorinated properly but everywhere seemed clean. My desire to take a dip in the blue tempting but the thought keeping me out of it.

Instead, I made my way to the huge stretch of bleached white sand, kissing the waters which surrounded the island – I decided to make the most of the sheltered swimming spot.

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It wasn’t pristine or perfect. Although I could easily have photographed it to get it looking so. It was the same as all the other beaches on Koh Chang. It showed the presence of human beings and nature. A fresh water shower was situated close to the path – the salt of the sea so clingy, I felt grimy at times on climbing out – it was good to know I could release my skin from its grasp after.

Saji, decided to sleep on a bench, under the palm trees on the grass whilst I swam. Catching his 40 winks.

I stepped into the clean, clear water, which was warm but not hot and laid on my back, confronting each thermocline as the ocean current swirled over me, as sea eagles soared ever higher. Skimming the breeze and looking for dinner.

Finally my sea urge satiated, I stepped out and sat at a bench beach side. Relishing in the warmth of the sun – reminding myself I would be back and again and thanking the universe for allowing me the opportunity to therap on this little island.

My mind felt tired from the intense environment my days had been spent in. Mental fatigue was upon me – I knew I needed a break. The sun penetrated my skin and warmed my face. I felt alive once again – embraced by nature.

Slap – the bite on my leg provided a knee jerk reaction. I looked down to see a spot of blood and a small insect, looking like a flea, lying dead from my sturdy swipe.

I thought nothing more about it. That evening I noticed a little welt appear and my skin began to itch. By the next morning I woke early, as my legs felt like they were on fire. Looking down, I saw I was covered in sand flea bites. They itched like buggery!

It’s been three weeks since I left the island. They still itch. Have caused me to eat ibuprofen tablets like they’re sweets, smother myself in antiseptic cream and chow down on anti-histamines. All to stop the itching. On the ferry back to the mainland, the language barrier between thai and english bridged, when a middle aged woman pointed to my legs, with a look of concern. I looked like I had a terminal case of the measles. I made a gesture to my skin as if I were a mosquito. Understanding seemed to pass between us.

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As I write this, there is a sick psychological part of me, the same part which was so pleased that I’d developed a tropical infection in Queensland, Australia. Felt pleased to be given these sand flea bites. Not that I would want them again but it is definitely a long lasting memory of my time on Koh Chang and what’s not to love about that!

 

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