Koh Tao Aug 25

October 14, 2015 3:45PM JST

I was very nervous about the exam. The morning (8:30AM) started with Alex reviewing some materials we have done our homework on and from the classroom time days before. The exam was multiple choice. The questions were not difficult but can be tricky. My brain was not working right but I am also quite a careless minded person, so I did some silly mistakes on some very simple questions. Since the exam is designed for 12 years old, everyone should have no difficulty passing the exam. I got the lowest mark in my team – 90%; they got 94-96%. The passing mark is 80%. This was also one of the reasons I got scared of the exam and wondered how I should not be embarrassed if by chance I failed the exam.

After finishing the exam, Alex reviewed wrong answers with us and corrected our answers by explaining why our answers were incorrect. I felt embarrassed by silly mistakes I had chosen so I resisted to provide wrong answers, but Alex knew and insisted I said my wrong answers out loud so he can correct it and everyone can hear. I am sure if I liked this idea, but it went through anyway.

We were told to go back at 12AM. I was to be prepared to go pool training again. The family was told to get ready to go for first dives. Oh man, how I wished to go diving with them.

As usual, I grabbed sandwich at Seven Eleven. By 12AM, I went to the bench area and went through the same process as the day before. It was quicker, of course, since it was my second time. There were new students, of course. Since Koh Tao is a popular spot for scuba diving, Roctopus always gets (almost) maximum number of students everyday and there always seems to have room for everyone who ends up registering for course on the day of.

My newly assigned instructor was Caritha K. from Sweden, a super enthuasistic instructor. An expected 3-hour lesson turned into 6-hour lesson – from 12PM to 6PM, due to difficulty that I still had while training in the pool. I did not realize it took that long, but this showed how Caritha was patient, while it was also one-on-one lesson.

There was another group of three doing their SSI confined space training in the pool. Separately, there were two others – a Belgian couple I believe – partaking RAID training. They used technical methods – they were practicing their navigation skills with compasses.

Karitha and I have departed and I was told to meet at the same spot by 12PM.

That night, I was refreshed. No homework. Nothing. I relaxed and enjoyed my time with fellow travellers at the hostel. Since the class started very late next day, I was ready to have fun that night. I was also out of money since my card did not work in ATM machines. I was deciding whether I should go to the club that night or not since I needed to save money. One of the fellow hostel mates, a British girl, really wanted to see live music at the club called the Castle located near the pier (where the ferry was at), which ran from 9PM to 12PM. Like everyone else, she did not want to go that early. She wanted to drink a lot and go. The club Castle had advertisement posters posted at many locations on the islands, near places where non-local frequent by, of course, mostly near dive shops and hostels/hotels.

The representative, a British man working at Spicy Hostel, arranged taxi service for us. Two taxi trucks came to pick us up at around 11:30PM. When we heard that taxi charge each person 100 Baht one way to a club called the Castle, we were all shocked. The taxi did not have meter and charged a person instead of one trip. They just wanted to make money off us. Many of us were complaining and everyone tried to negotiate price with the Thai drivers. Negotiation did not work. The drivers said they would not drive us and told us to get off the taxi if we could not pay the standard fee 100 Baht per person. It also started to rain. Since we were travellers, we decided to stay on the truck. We went to Seven Eleven and some of us went into the store and bought alcohol. It was raining super hard at this time. Those who stayed in the trunk of the truck got off the vehicles and waited under the roof of restaurant (The Brother) across Seven Eleven. Once we got ready, we went back to the trunk and we were wet like animals. A lot of them did not even have rain jackets. Fortunately, I brought rain jacket with me since I anticipated there was raining season in Thailand.

The club looked quite exotic. It was nothing that I have imagined. It looked like a stone building or ruin in desert. Normally, partiers would be charged 200 Baht and 100 Baht if have taxi flyers. We went with our representative so we got in for free. We got free shots at the door and we were all excited. I was with two 20-year old German girls (they shared the room with me) all the time. Since it was raining, there were not many people there. Actually, I am not sure if there will be many people even if it was not raining.

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Everyone getting excited by the door
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Expensive menu

The two German girls who I was getting along very well with actually brought alcohol into the club. I was very surprised, so was another person whom we talked to. Compared to the cheap beer (it was actually very bad, according to them; it apparently tasted like apple cider and did not taste like beer at all), the price listed on the menu was quite expensive. ‘Bucket’ was actually a bucket, with straw popping in!

October 15, 2015 3:10PM JST

There were two stages for people to dance and socialize. The non-roof area was where there was a DJ playing music and people were dancing. The other was under roof where people could purchase alcohol. Since it was raining, there were no one in the open, except dance areas.

By about 12:15PM, music was turned off. We had to put earphones on for silent dance. This seemed to me that ‘live music’ was actually DJ music. The earphones were not free; they were 200 Baht. Such ‘liars’.

The girls and I have decided it was too expensive so we decided to go back to hostel. At the door, there were couple others who were also waiting to get away from the club due to the fee to be charged on earphones. At the same time, there were some people coming to the club. When they asked us why we had to go so early and we said that they should not go in due to paid silent music, they refused to believe us and were super excited to get into the club. I don’t blame me because I am sure I will be just like them if I were to go like that.

It took ages to find taxi drivers to actually drive us back home because we really wanted to try our best to lower the taxi cost down. The first try, the taxi drivers agreed to accept 70 Baht. But when we gave 70 Baht, they refused and insisted we must pay 100 Baht. Such liars too. This is how life goes in Koh Tao.

After several turns and other people took their taxis, it was finally our turn. We had others coming with us on the taxi as well; the others were dropped at their places. When we got to the hostel, the ‘lobby area’ was absolutely deserted. It was around 1AM. Around this time, the place is usually quite active with energetic travellers drinking and talking. After about 10-15 mins we got back to the hostel, we heard motorbikers and some other people also coming back because of the have-to-pay earphones. After talking for about 30 minutes, we went back to our room and slept.

~15:40PM JST


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