“Don’t ride through Thong Sala,” suggested my couch surfing host. “The people from the bike shop are looking for you.”
Ah, nothing like being a marked man to complete your travels. And by who? A bunch of wannabe street thugs who have watched one Guy Ritchi film too many?
And for what? For crashing a scooter which – unhappy as I was about the situation – I was going to pay for the damages. Only they decided that extorting an exurbanite amount of money is the way to make a living on Koh Phangan.
They wanted 15,000 Baht ($500 AUD) for damages worth not more than 3,000 Baht ($100 AUD) – five at the most. And since they only suspected that it was a falang riding the bike at the time of the accident, they ‘heavily’ discounted from the 22,000 ($740 AUD) that they would have demanded.
“How much to fix this?” I asked at a shop on the north side of the island, well away from the south-west side where Thong Sala and the above mentioned bike shop were located.
The owner looked the bike over and saw the name of the shop it came from on the side mirror – Sandee.
“No touch this bike. People no good. Too scared,” he said.
What? “You can’t even give me a price?” I asked. “I just want to know how much the damage is really worth. Please?” I pleaded.
“No. Bad people. You go now,” he shooed me off.
I rode further up the road and stopped in at another bike repair shop.
“How much to fix this?” I asked the owner who stepped out with a smile.
His smile dropped and his face turned into a sheet of white fear as he saw the name of the shop it came from on the side mirror – Sandee.
“No touch this bike. Bad people. You go now,” he shooed me off.
It was the same for the next three shops I visited.
Waiting around for the phone to ring for some gigs wasn’t going to pay off the bike in time for my boat ride to Africa from Phuket. I needed cash and I needed it fast. But it wasn’t going to happen on Koh Phangan where it rained almost every day for the two weeks I was there.
After some emails and messages to the good people I had met on Koh Samui, a job came through at Vikasa Yoga Retreat. After explaining my situation they happily agreed to help me out and cover the entire 15,000 Baht bill in exchange for some online work and doing the voice overs for 18 yoga videos (I had taken part in a voiceover course back home and was offered a two-year contract but going nomadic became priority and I left it behind. It paid off now).
They also generously provided accommodation, two incredibly delicious and healthy meals a day and yoga classes with the students studying to be yoga teachers through the yoga teaching program on offer.
It was good to be back on Samui. The energy on this island is the best I have experienced since Alor, Indonesia.
And it stopped raining. It was sunny with blue skies daily. My injuries sustained from the crash were healing nicely but still kept me out of the water. I was hoping that by the time I hit Phuket, I’d be able to go in. Phuket had the only surf in Thailand and I was hoping there’d be time (and waves) to go in – if I could find a surfboard.
I began my voice recordings in the evenings, after 23:00, as it was too noisy to do it any time before that. My recording studio was a microphone filter and the voice memo app on my iPhone in the retreat’s office.
The morning after my first session of five recordings I received an email from the skipper of the San Miguel, the sailing yacht I’m too meet in Phuket to join as crew to Africa. They had arrived earlier than expected and asked me to arrive before the 10th of November – the original meeting date.
So I pumped out the final 13 recordings over two nights. Not an easy process. I sat with Kosta (founder of Vikasa) to get the script down. Then I had to time it to the video, rehearse it, then record it. Each video averaged 4-7 minutes. The ‘Warm Up’ video was the longest at 15 minutes.
Luckily, being the one-take wonder that I am (when it comes to entertainment), I accomplished 15 videos in one-take with only 3 that had to be recorded in two takes.
My host from Koh Phangan arrived to collect the money and I asked her to pass on a message to the bike shop:
“Tell them they are assholes and that Karma will get them big time for this.”
Karma and I are pretty tight. And although she can be a real bitch sometimes, she’s only a bitch to those that deserve it.
And this fuckin’ shop deserved it.
If you’re ever in Koh Phangan, don’t rent a scooter from a bike shop in Thong Sala called ‘Sandee’.
Huge thanks to all the staff at Vikasa Yoga Retreat, Koh Samui and too Kosta Miachin, Vadim Gur and Betti Maul. Much love. Om Shanti.