หมายเลข 8: #TalesFromThailand

I walk into the hostel after a long day of tourist-ing and meet these 3 brits – 2 girls and a guy. They’re headed to Koh Phangan: one of Thailand’s many, beautiful islands and home of the infamous full moon party. I should could come by when I leave Bangkok, they suggest. I’m on vacation with an open schedule so, sure! Why not? 3 days later, after a train, a bus, a boat and a motorcycle ride, the 5 of us (they picked up another friend along the way) are seated on a beach sipping mojitos and Pina Coladas and watching one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever come across. #talesFromThailand

I’m standing in a bungalow with a couple dozen people I just met. Mix of Canadians and Aussies and the odd brit here and there. There’s a bucket of thai whiskey and coke in my hand and I’m holding a conversation about a topic I can’t recall with a pretty Canadian girl whose name escapes me. Suddenly, I feel a light wet brush across my elbow. I turn and one of the aussie girls is apologizing and scurrying back to the other side of the room where a circle of my new acquaintances seem to be playing a game of truth or dare. Apparently, someone had been dared to lick my elbow. Now I’m in the circle. There’ve been so many kisses  and strip teases to no music other than the jolly, off-tune renditions by drunken travellers but finally we head out to a night (and for many, a morning) of drunken debauchery on the beach, under the light of the full moon. We join tens of thousands of other travellers from all around the world who have converged on the island for what is said to be one of the greatest parties ever thrown – every month.  #talesFromThailand

I’m walking down the street at like 2 in the morning and some lady(?) walks up to me and says I should come with her. I ask “to where?” and she points in the direction I’m coming from and says “inside”. I ask why. She says “Boom Boom” and smiles at me. I politely decline. #talesFromThailand

Living right on top of a nightclub seemed like an excellent idea at the time. Now, it’s 4am, I’m lying in the top of an unstable bunk and and the floor is vibrating with the bass from one of the loudest clubs on Bangla, the party street of Phuket. My bed is rocking violently and I’m sure the entire thing is going to fall over at any moment. When sleep ultimately proves elusive, I have no choice but to go and join the party. #talesFromThailand

I’m standing in the middle of a Chiang Mai jungle on the sixth of what will be about a dozen platforms, this one is the highest and is also connected to what the owners claim is the longest single zip-line in Asia. I’m not sure I believe that claim but at a length of 800 meters, it doesn’t seem too farfetched.  Looking down, all I can see are trees. The ground isn’t visible and all I hear around me are the excited chattering of my fellow adrenaline junkies and the sound of gibbons jumping between the trees; perfectly comfortable in their natural habitat. Finally, its my turn. I climb up on to the raised platform and take a look down the line I’m about to zip across in an attempt to spot my destination. But this platform isn’t like all the others. For the first time, I cant’ actually see the next platform as the line seems to simply go for as far as I can see and the disappear into the trees. By now, my harness has been hooked on to the line and at this point there’s no turning back . So without a word, I walk up to the edge of the platform and I step off. #talesFromThailand

I’m sitting in an office in a part of the airport that only exists to people with the right keycards or who are in a bit of trouble. In front of me, an airline representative has been having a protracted exchange with 2 immigration officials in Thai. This has been going on for almost half an hour and they are passing my passport around like a blunt in a university dorm room. I obviously don’t understand the conversation so I’m obliviously watching the latest episode of black-ish on my laptop and waiting for them to reach a conclusion. Finally, I’m handed a document and the airline lady says to sign it. It’s written in both Thai and english and at first, I’m not sure what it is about but then I look to the top of the page and in large, bold, english text, it simply says “Expulsion Order”. #talesFromThailand

There are now only 4 days left of my 7 week thai adventure and I’m back where I started: In a hostel in Bangkok enjoying a beautiful view of the bustling city. Its been an amazing ride; from bottle beach on Koh Phangan to the Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai, it’s safe to say that this trip has had no shortage of excitement. I’ve met some amazing people and wriggled my way out of a number of sticky situations. It’s been a mixed experience but there is very little I would have done differently. So here I am. Sitting at my computer reading an email I just received. The Senate of Carleton University has granted me a degree

Bachelor of Computer Science Honours
With Distinction
Minor in Business

It’s no surprise but still, a number of emotions rush through my mind. Accomplishment and excitement with a tinge of nervous trepidation. The end of my trip and issuance of my degree symbolize the turning of a page; the beginning of a new chapter. But I don’t really feel ready. It’s almost surreal that just minutes ago, I was a student on vacation. Now, I’m not.  Back to reality. #talesFromThailand.


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