The weather on Koh Tao after the first few days wasn’t the greatest, and beyond a 30 minute sunburn I got on the afternoon I arrived I hadn’t spent any time on the sand. Divers can dive when it’s drizzling, but vacationing backpackers have to wait it out. So I can’t say I felt particularly bad about being a contribution to the laziest place I’ve ever fucking been – besides sitting around and eating with Sal or napping, I took walks, got my nails painted, and tried to come up with ways to make the minute things I did sound more interesting for when I’d converse with divers later in the night. “You saw a SHARK on your dive? Oh, me? I investigated the insides of my eyelids while it rained.” Basically, I sounded really fucking boring on Koh Tao.
The evenings made up for the dreary days though as they were filled with a myriad of nightly hangs, ranging from rum and Red Bull on the front porch of our hostel, to beach parties where cheap drinks and good vibes flowed in equal parts. Lotus was a place about a 30 second walk from my hostel and seemed to be the center of all the haps on most nights, beginning early with flame-spinning shows and turning into balls-out dance parties on the sand with the baby-sized waves lapping at everyone’s feet. These are the kind of picturesque island parties I’d only seen in photographs or reruns of Full House when the Tanner family goes to Hawaii. To finally be there and hearing Daft Punk “Get Lucky” for the sixtieth time while staring out over the ocean felt like a dream. I really started to feel like I was on vacation afterall, and the broken-English note Sal received from an admirer had me belly-laughing far into the next few days. You look better in the photo, Sal.
Even when the nights seemed said and done, the pool bar across the pathway from Lotus was open late and cannonballs into the deep end at 4am were a surprising reality. I kept wondering when the camp counselors would appear and tell us to get to bed. We’d drag ourselves back to our sheets and coat them in kilos of sand. A bunch of big kids in adult bodies. A group of strangers turned friends.