Why will I never be scared of a Muslim just because they’re muslim?

When I landed in Indonesia in the beginning of May, I had absolutely no clue about what to expect of this country of thousand islands. I had no plan, I had no contacts, the only thing I knew was that I was gonna teach English for a bit and also that it has the largest Muslim population in the world. So why did I go for it just like that, wasn’t scared at all and actually were looking forward to it?

Just like a lot of people, I had visited a „muslim“ country before. Unlike them though, I didn’t choose to travel to such a country just because it is cheap, it’s always hot in there and because „the neighbours went there last summer so why shouldn’t I as well?“. I’m not one of those people who give zero fucks about the country’s culture and life in general, nope. I’m not such a hypocrite who would pay for a five star hotel to be served by the people who, the minute they cross Europe’s border, become „our enemies“.

Even though I visited Egypt more than a year before the whole I’MON da road idea, I didn’t want to get to know this country that way. And I didn’t. Thanks to my best friend who is Egyptian. Yes, he is a Muslim, yes, I even have his name proudly tattoeed on my leg and yes, he knows everything about me, including the fact I’m a lesbian. And guess what, he’s never, not even once, killed me. I spent two amazing weeks with him, somewhere in the middle of pretty much nowhere, totally surrounded by muslims and only muslims and I’m really glad for this experience because even back then, I could make my own opinion about all this.

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Now, this may be hard to take for some people but I think, they really are one of the kindest and most-hospitable people on Earth. And that was one of the reasons I was so happy to cross another muslim-country border and once again, I was proven right. I lived in a muslim family (that I didn’t know until I got there) for just over a week and then completely spontaneously, without any plan and company, decided to hitchhike all over the island of Java which took me about two weeks of my life and added another 1200 km or so on top of my hitch-score.

I didn’t see a white person for three weeks, almost no one spoke any English, communication was very exhausting on both sides, I very often didn’t know where I was gonna stay at night but guess what! Thanks to them, their hospitability and will to help, I got through all this by myself, as a solo girl with her super heavy backpack.

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It happened to me many times that I was just wandering around an unknown town after the sunset, a bit lost and very desperate to find a place to crash yet very dirty, smelly, easy to kidnap/rape but never did I have any experience in which a person wearing a hijab would want to blow themself and the ones around them up. Surprisingly, it was the complete opposite. They nearly killed each other when they were arguing about who’s gonna accommodate me. I know this sounds a bit weird but they kinda all wanted me to stay with them, to feed me, to play with their kids and on the other hand, they never wanted to let me go and stick my thumb up the next day because they were worried something could happen to me. Those are the true Muslims. Those are the Muslims who follow the Quran and are not affected by any stupid political situation caused by a third party. I have visited a few more so-called muslim countries including Malaysia, Borneo, Turkey and some Balkan countries and even though I was in really deep shit a few times, the thought of blaming Islam for it never even crossed my mind, no I always put myself into these shituations and I can only blame myself for my stupidity.

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I wish people started to use their own brains and finally realised that what happened for example in Paris, didn’t happen because someone was a Muslim but simply because there was something seriously wrong in their heads. Of course it is absolutely horrifying and unacceptable but look at the reaction of the world. We should all realise that we can’t fight violence with more violence. It’s like fucking for virginity.

Yes, I realise that those terrorists were Islamists but I know that a real Muslim could not do such an act as their belief wouldn’t allow them to do so. Not everyone who wears „muslim clothes“ is a killer and vice versa. I feel really sad about the fact that many people are so manipulated by all the media bullshit. The other day, I read an interview in my home-town newspaper with a local girl who decided to do a little research. She put on muslim clothes and a hijab and decided to walk around Czech towns to see people’s reactions. As predicted, they were priceless (add a bit more sarcasm into it and there you go). I was so ashamed to even read about the results. Do you really think that someone wearing a „scarf“ around their head is some sort of a threat to all of us?

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The worst thing about all this though is the fact that the most critical and negative people are those who only leave the comfort of their house once a year to go on summer vacation and spend the rest of the year in front of their telly getting more and more brainwashed. Do you know the little phrase – don’t judge a book by its cover? People, please wake up and start to respect and treat each other how every one of us deserves to be respected and treated and stop judging people by their religion, clothes, sexuality, etc. I don’t see a reason why we should treat someone bad without any particular reason, just because they’re „different“. I was very different to everyone many times and no one has ever turned their back at me…

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10 LESSONS I LEARNT WHILE BACKPACKING AROUND SE ASIA

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Unfortunately, my days in SE Asia have come to an end but I bet there are many of you, fellow backpackers, who are about to hit the road towards this amazing part of the world. To enjoy your time spent over there a bit more, read about the lessons I learnt during my three month stay and don’t make the same mistakes as me 🙂

1) If a local says: „Be careful, it’s spicy“, immediately leave everything behind and get the hell outta there. Seriously, I’m a chef so I always wanna taste everything and I hardly ever listen to any advice so many times I put myself in a very hot and spicy situation that I ended up regreting for a few hours afterwards. Especially don’t enter a 10m radius around a chilli pepper smaller than 1 cm. Unless you’re into masochism, then it’s fine.

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2) Always carry some toilet paper or tissues with you. Even though you are in a nice city and that toilet you’re heading to doesn’t look bad at all, you will be guaranteed not to find a piece of anything to wipe the most precious parts of your body with.

3) Don’t think too much about all the „drive safely“ videos you watched back home while you‘re on a bus in SE Asia. Just make yourself comfortable, close your eyes and imagine the driver has some magical powers that will always prevent him from crashing. Yes, sometimes it is really and I mean REALLY bad. I caught myself thinking about getting off the bus in a few situations too. But nah, I had to overcome that fear and in the end it just felt like a very cheap ride on one of the craziest attractions in Thorpe Park. See, I’m still alive!

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4) You’re used to eating in nice restaurants with beautiful looking food and good service? Yeah, so was I. It was really difficult for me to watch the cooks follow not a single hygienic regulation. Yup, that raw chicken has been casually chilling there on straight sunshine for the whole day. But trust me, go for it. I don’t know how they do it but the cheaper the food is, the better it tastes. Just make sure you follow number 2.

5) You can talk to anyone about anything and no one judges you.  This was a tough one for me as I came to SE Asia completely fucked in my head with many secrets that I could only talk about to like 2 people back in London. Even though you only just met that cool guy in the hostel 20 minutes ago, the casual conversation about which countries you’ve visited will soon become boring and people crave hearing different stories as well as they want to talk about their problems to a complete stranger. People will give you various opinions that’ll help you get through difficult times. In the end, the chance you will ever see them again is very small.

6) Everyone has a shit story. And I don’t mean a very bad story, I mean it literally. Everytime I drank with fellow travellers, our conversation led to shit stories. A backpacker I met in Thailand told me: „You ain’t a proper traveller until you have your own shit story.“ This is also very often connected with point 2 and 4 but some people have the craziest stories ever. Once I met a girl that had just hiked Mt. Bromo in Indonesia and badly needed to take a dump while having breakfast at a local’s place. There was no toilet in the „bathroom“ and she didn’t know what to do with the product once she relieved herself to the bathroom floor (which the locals normally do) so she ended up wrapping it in a ton of TP, put it in her pocket and carried it away with her. I know, disgusting right? But imagine yourself completely drunk and listening to the whole story. Unforgettable. Luckily, she followed rule number 2 🙂

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7) Oh, you lost a T-Shirt or a pair of boxers while it was being washed in the laundry? I’ll be honest with you, you will never see it again. But wait, the good karma comes around and soon you’ll end up having someone else’s underwear in your surprise-bag of clothes you pick up from the laundry.

8) Be patient. I used to be probably one of the most impatient people on the planet until I travelled around Indonesia and found out that time doesn’t matter. Did uncle Google tell you that that 100km long journey should take about 1 and a half hour? Always multiply it by three. The bus driver will need to stop a few times to have a cigarette (if he doesn’t smoke on the bus), use the toilet (hope he doesn’t do that on the bus too), get something to eat, get more fuel, talk to his fellow bus drivers, etc. You will get to your destination eventually. Just be patient. And when he hits the road, make sure you follow number 3 🙂

9) Don’t be afraid to go off the beaten track. That’s where the true tresure is, that’s why you travel. People are normally very willing to help you, sometimes even invite you for lunch or let you stay at their place overnight, especially if you travel solo. When I was in Indonesia, I didn’t see a white person for 18 days and I can honestly say that it was my best backpacking experience so far. Even though three times I saw a guy masturbating when I walked past them in a random town (I know, can’t really blame them, hard to resist haha), it never put me off. Weirdos are everywhere in the world, just make sure you don’t make an eye contact with them.

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10) You will master the art of improvising. This especially applies, if you follow number 9. Once I nearly got raped (yeah, still didn’t convince me to act like a tourist though, yuck) and ended up walking in the middle of nowhere for 7 km with no water, no food and no cigarettes until it got better and made plan A. I know, people normally make B plans in such situations but since I normally have no plan at all, a very simple plan was needed. You will become very creative if you’re about to miss your flight or don’t have any clean clothes left too. Just do not panic. Everything has a solution. Unless you didn’t follow number 2.

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HITCH…what around Thailand?

You can’t even imagine how many times this famous quote from my high school (can’t really translate it properly but it’s something like „even though it’ll take longer, the journey will be very bad“)  crossed my mind during those 36 hours I spent travelling around places that not only did I not know, I wasn’t even able to pronounce them properly.

Even though Mario was a little bit limited by time as he had to get his ass back to Bangkok the next day to pick up his Indian visa and even though the only thing I managed to Google about hitchhiking in Thailand was that Thai language doesn’t even have a word for hitchhiking, we decided to do it anyway and left Koh Lanta for Trang (which is about an hour away) very early in the morning in the most packed minivan ever. We were brought into Thai reality once again, when we forgot to multiply the given time information by three so we were glad that we got dropped off at the Trang bus station at noon. We’d been on da road for four hours only but even walking from one end of the town to the other in the 40 degrees heat with backpacks heavier than what we were physically able to carry was a real challenge for us.

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Luckily, we became Trang’s biggest attraction and a random driver stopped and offered us a ride for a few miles. We found the cleanest restaurant we’d both seen in this part of the world, quickly ate a 1 dollar lunch because we weren’t sure when (and if) this opportunity comes again and started walking towards what looked like the highway to the north. We found the perfect hitching spot after only a few minutes so we dropped our backpacks on the ground, raised our thumbs and after about an hour of waiting while hundreds of passing cars were honking at us, waving at us or taking pictures of us, a guy from a shop nearby approached us and offered us a ride to the bus or train station.

„Oh thank you but we don’t wanna go to the station.“

„Taxi?“

„We don’t have a lot of money, we are trying to get a free ride.“

„I give you money, train from Trang to Bangkok?“

„Awww, thank you but we don’t want your money, we just want a free ride, we do this because we enjoy it. We’ll wait, someone will stop sooner or later, thank you.“

„Trang station? Bus? Train? Money for you!“

Oh fuck, this was gonna be harder than we‘d thought. After about half an hour of trying to explain what we were doing there and what we wanted, he came back with a very useful information that his cousin and nephew could take us for a bit with them as they were about to head to the north too. „For a bit“ is also very underrated in Thailand so after about 100 miles, when we got closer to a town we knew from the map, we asked him to just drop us off on the motorway as he was determined to take us to the train station which was somewhere we didn’t want to end up at.

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Awesome, the sign by the motorway said that it was only 100 miles to Surat Thani – a town where Mario was gonna take a train to Bangkok from. It was only quater past four and the sun was still out so no problemo at all. As soon as we said it though, it started to piss it down so heavily that we had to hide in a very random furniture shop. We were soaking wet but at least we were more motivated to make another move. We bought some food, water and cigarettes in the garage, wrote Surat Thani on a piece of paper, raised our thumbs and for the next half an hour posed for all the passing cars taking pictures of us like we were some monkeys in the zoo 🙂

We didn’t even notice that a massive truck stopped behind us. I started to run towards it when the driver shouted at me. After a few phone calls with his friend who could speak a bit better English and trying to show him on the map where we needed to get to, he agreed to take us as he was going the same way. Just when we thought that everything’s cool and we were really going to make it to Surat Thani before night time, the driver took advantage of a gap in the concrete blocks placed on the motorway between norhern and southern way, took a U-turn and we had no idea about what was going on. Mario and I didn’t say a word, we only exchanged a few where-the-fuck-are-we-going looks and hoped for the best. The highlight was when the driver found an „English for beginners“ book and tried to find the perfect phrase to break the ice while driving through the mountains on a very narrow road. While the driver was studying English very hard, he also managed to roll and smoke three cigarettes, drink two energy drinks, make two phone calls, play tetris on his phone and spread tiger balm all over his back to finally point to the sentence that was guaranteed to make a fluent conversation.

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„Is this your first visit in Thailand?“, I read out loud for him and Mario and I nodded. That was the end of it as it got dark and none of us was able to read that magical book anymore. We still weren’t quite sure where we were going to but luckily straight after we’d seen the sea (!!!), the gps on my phone woke up. Even though it wasn’t the plan (not that we had one anyway), we managed to get from the West coast (Koh Lanta) to the East coast in one day, yay! 🙂

The driver stopped at the petrol station after about three hours of driving and told us it wasn’t too far to Surat Thani but he was heading a different way. 70 fucking miles!!! That was the number we saw on the sign nearby! It was dark everywhere and there were hardly any cars around. The situation didn’t look great as we already knew how difficult it is to hitchhike in Thailand. I still can’t believe it but before we even stuck our thumbs up, a random car spotted our Surat Thani paper and we got offered (by almost fluent English) to be driven all the way up to Surat Thani!

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We got to Surat Thani train station in about an hour, thanked the driver and Mario went to check what time the train to Bangkok was leaving. I sat down on the pavement, lit up a cigarette, guarded our backpacks and patiently waited. I knew I didn’t wanna go to Bangkok just yet, my plan was to stay in the town for a night and hit the road early in the morning to hitchhike to Chumphon which was about 190 miles away. From there I wanted to get an overnight train to Bangkok. Simple plan, huh? 🙂

„The train is leaving in four minutes, Mon,“ said Mario when he got back and when I saw a piece of paper in his hand that really looked like a train ticked, I knew he wasn’t joking and I thought I was gonna cry. So this is how it ends after all the adventures we’ve been through together? Do you expect me to just say good bye and hope that one day we’ll meet again? I could barely say a word, I only hugged him, wished him good luck on his two month adventure in India and that was it. I was shocked. He really did take that train, he was gone and I was standing there with no clue where to go. I started to wander through the unknown streets, tried to ignore all the barking dogs that were following me and stopped at a building which promised at least a bed and shower. Queen hotel, that was the name of the place where I, at that point completely exhausted, put 250 Baht (7 dollars) on the reception desk, got a room key and tried not to faint while walking up to the third floor where I was supposed to spend the night. I didn’t even put my backpack down though and I knew I was definitely not going to stay in that filthy room. Even though I was wearing hiking boots, as soon as I walked into the room, all kinds of bugs started crawling up my legs and the floor was literally covered by cockroaches, ants, spiders and geckos. Completely frightened, I shut the door and walked back downstairs to ask for a different room or a refund. „No refunds and all other rooms are full.“ Bullshit! It doesn’t happen very often that I don’t win an argument but after a few minutes I realised that even though my reasons to argue were great, I’m not going to get anywhere with his shitty English anyway so I gave up and left the fucking queen hotel.

I had no idea where to go, all the streets were empty (apart from a bunch of barking dogs on every corner) and I hadn’t seen a white person since Mario left me so I decided to go back to the train station. I lied down on the floor with my head leaning on my backpack and just burst into tears. I had a bit of an emotional moment over there, I just had to let it go. I took a little nap but I was woken up when unknown liquid splashed all over my legs (I’d rather not know what it was). I needed to move somewhere. According to the map, I wasn’t far from the airport, judging by looking at the empty dark streets though it was impossible to get there by foot. With the tears still in my eyes, I managed to negotiate the price of a taxi to minimum and I was off to a much safer and comfortable place. Safety and comfort were the two things that the train station in Surat Thani was missing.

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To my even bigger shock than the filthy room, the fucking airport was shut. Until then, I didn’t know that airports ever get shut but Thailand proved me wrong once again. So now I’m properly fucked. My phone died, I didn’t know where to go and I also didn’t know how safe it was to wander around a shut airport so I grabbed my twenty kilo life and followed the road leading from the airport. The road was very narrow and surrounded by a jungle from both sides and yeah, I admit it, I was a bit scared. After a while I noticed a little light in the distance. I got closer to it and saw a hut full of guns. Soon I realised though that there was nothing to be scared of. The security guards spoke a little English, they let me charge my phone over there, fed me rice and curry and once they wrote Chumphon – the name of my destination in Thai on a big piece of paper, they walked me all the way up to the highway 🙂

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It only took like two minutes and a big truck totally packed with people stopped. They said they’d take me all the way up to Chumphon if I didn’t mind sitting in the trunk. I was so tired that I really didn’t give a shit about spending the next 200 miles stuffed between boxes full of god knows what. I tried to fall asleep but the strong wind wouldn’t let me and for the first time in this part of the world, I even had to dig deep into my backpack to pull out a jumper. When I finally started to feel a little comfortable, the truck suddenly stopped and I got the chance to get a very intimate contact with the content of the mystery boxes. Of course, I was unlucky enough to have the one with fish inside spilt all over me. All my clothes, including my backpack, were soaking wet and I was sitting there in a puddle of fishy water. I really didn’t know whether I should laugh or cry so I decided to just ignore the situation because there wasn’t much I could do once the truck hit 100mph again 🙂

The family dropped me off at the train station in Chumphon and I finally heard good news. The train for Bangkok leaves in 35 minutes! I sat down on a bench, patiently awaiting my train and trying not to think about what I smell or look like. I was really looking forward to getting some sleep on the train. I had no fucking idea what the hell was going on when the timetable suddenly showed a 6 hour delay for my train. When this information turned out to be right, I really thought I was gonna pass out. I managed to kill some time talking to a guy who’d been waiting for that train for three hours already. In the end, the overnight train turned itself into an overday one and after 9 hours of waiting at the station, I finally left Chumphon at 9.35am.

I got to Bangkok eleven hours later after travelling in the third class on the train full of Thai people leaning on each other, on the train where air con was a rude word and of course I sat down next to a window that wouldn’t open, on the train on which for the first time in my life I wished I was a boy so I could pee into an empty bottle and not come anywhere near to what was supposed to be a toilet and on the train where I realised that smoking really can kill when I almost fell under the train while standing behind two carriages 🙂

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KOH LANTA, paradise on Earth

Even though Mario and I travelled down south during the water festival (Songkran) which is the busiest period in Thailand, we were lucky enough to get a ticket for an overnight bus leaving the same day as we left the farm. The fourteen hours long journey wasn’t bad at all except when I woke up totally soaking wet at 3am.

„Oh my god, I pissed myself,“ was my first thought because I’d been trying to avoid using the bus toilet for as long as possible and I’d really drunk a lot of water so it wouldn’t surprise me at all (not that it happens to me all the time haha). „Luckily“, I was wrong because when I looked out from the window, I saw it was pissing it down and the hole in the roof explained everything 🙂 The steward moved me to another seat and gave me a dry blanket so I could keep dreaming about finally getting into our destination – Krabi.

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A few people told us about two beaches we should definitely check out – Railay and Ton Sai – so we decided to go there first. There is no road connection between Krabi and Railay but it only took us about 15 minutes to get there by long tail boat and another 15 minutes to figure out it’s way off our really low budget to stay there so we moved to Ton Sai straight away.

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The minute we got there, I started to regret that I’d left all my climbing gear back in the UK because it was a climbing paradise! We managed to get a really cheap bungalow but we knew we wouldn’t wanna stay for longer than one night because apart from climbing and getting high in a little jungle village, there was absolutely nothing to do.

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We had a few beers in the evening though, met a lot of travellers and played pool on a table that was as straight as me. First thing in the morning, we said hi to our changover and off to the most beautiful island Koh Lanta (that’s what they say) we went. And yep, it was exactly the place we were dreaming of. Beautiful white sandy beaches, almost no backpackers and a lot of pretty girls. After about an hour of searching for the perfect place to stay, we were almost at the point of giving up when we saw the most amazing resort ever.

„800 Baht (16 pounds) per night,“ told us this lovely Thai woman and we knew that if we get into the right negotiating mode, we’ll get there.

„600?“, we were trying.

„No, 800 Baht,“ she wouldn’t give up.

„500 with no air con?“, asked the smartest guy on the planet – Mario.

„Alright, deal,“ yeaaaah, we got it!!!

Yeah, we managed to get a really spacious bungalow with a nice clean bathroom, fridge, safe, terrace (and free coffee and water) for only 10pounds a night. And what’s more, it was only a 20 second walk to the most beautiful beach in Koh Lanta from there.

Of course we had to check out all the bars and bar girls on our first night. Pia (our fellow volunteer from the farm) was staying on Koh Lanta too so  she came down to see us and yep, as predicted, Mon got so drunk that she even decided to get high (I know, call me a retardo). Yeaaah, I knew the consequences but sitting there in a hammock in the rooftop bar overlooking the sea and stars so close to me I could almost touch them just seemed like a perfect opportunity to do something stupid. At least I had a chance to catch up with my blogging the next day which I spent all in the bed complaining about dying of changover 🙂

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The sunsets on Koh Lanta were absolutely stunning. I realised that I’d actually never watched the sun set over the sea until then and it felt just awesome. When the darkness covered the sky, the sea turned into something you can’t just describe by simple words. That night I spent good three hours just sitting on the shore watching the waves. Every single one of them left a trace of shining blue lining all over the beach when it brought thousands pieces of little plankton. Unfortunately, this perfect moment was ruined by a cat (yeah, again) choking on a live chicken that she’d eaten so I called it a night 😀

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It was about time to overcome my fear of motorbikes too so Mario and I rented two of them and went off to explore the beautiful island. Believe it or not, I didn’t even scratch it 🙂 We drove down to the most southern point of Koh Lanta – into its national park. Mario, the much more experienced and excited photographer, was blown away by the first lighthouse he’d ever seen, however I managed to convince him (he only lives once) to go for a 2km long hike through the jungle with me which I soon regreted.

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We were going about half a metre tall stairs up a very steep hill, met a few monkeys that tried to get hold of anything that wasn’t tied to us and thanks to Mario’s fear of snakes, I (as a proper adventurer) offered to go first when he saw one casually crossing his path and because of that I had the chance to see a fucking dragon! Yeah, I was one of the lucky people to have seen a very rare flying lizard so from now on I only expect you to call me Khaleesi 🙂

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Before we left Koh Lanta (after having spent 6 days there), I managed to rip both of my feet open because walking bare foot became my favourite activity (Thai way) and it is also much better to hit the road like that 🙂 I’m quite glad Mario realises he only lives once so he decided to join me for  what appeared to be the most epic road trip ever – hitchhiking in Thailand 🙂

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i MON da farm, part two

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Seven days on da farm flew by so quickly that I almost didn’t notice the high level of blood in my alcohol. The hangover from my leaving party in England was almost gone so it was about time to hit the booze again. And after such a long time, it was expected to be big and full of amazing memories!

Andy from England and Seb (his real name is Laurent actually but Sebastien seems to fit him more) from France had decided to leave our farmily and hit the road again so it was a great reason to have „a few drinks“. I’m not sure if it was because of the heat and tiredness of all of us after such an „exhausting“ day at work or because of the six-and-half-percent golden beverage but somehow our little party turned into a massive piss up. I’m not surprised that Arnon chickened out and sent his brother and nephew to drink with us instead 🙂

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When I beat everyone at this cool card game Yuniv, we started to play different games. Drinking games, yaaay! 9pm, the thermometer still stuck at number 30, millions of mosquitos trying to suck up the last traces of blood left in our alcohol system, seven people sitting around a table with an endless number of empty beer bottles. That was the atmosphere which led us up to „never have I ever“. Everyone knows that after a few rounds, this game always turns into something crazy and dirty. But Arnon’s nephew literally killed it.

„Never have I ever shot anyone in their back and killed them,“ said with a poker face and took a sip of his drink. We were really having a lot of fun, people were dancing, singing and laughing but the moment he said it, everyone went completely quiet. When he told us that he did it because someone had stolen a bottle of water from his shop, we considered to be best to just go to our bamboo huts and pretend we’re not there. Everyone wished they had a gun on them just like Andy who’d found one casually chilling in the corner of his room.

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When we found out the same person was going to drive us to Myanmar border to see a refugee camp, we became a bit worried. Actually, it wouldn’t have been that bad if Arnon hadn’t told us that they cut each other’s throats on almost daily basis but „we don’t have to be afraid because they have a lot of guns“. When our truck took a right turn from the main road on to something that looked like the road of death, the looks on our faces were priceless. No one said a single word and we weren’t quite sure what to expect.

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 It looked very lively in the camp though! Most of the people were refugees from Korea who didn’t speak any Thai (damn, just when I just learnt my first Thai words) and the way of their life was very simple. Little bamboo huts, no hygiene whatsoever, they used the water from the river nearby and the closest source of electricity was miles away. It was really sad to see something like that but it made me think about (and maybe change a bit) the way I live. In the end, I’m actually happy for this experience and if it wasn’t for Arnon, I’d have never get an opportunity to go to a place like this.

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And there’s more just-because-of-da-farm stories. I don’t think there’s many people lucky enough to have spent the celebration of the Thai New year (Songkran) with a Thai family in a rural area. We drove the truck to one of the cleanest lakes (still very dirty though) in the village and stole hundreds litres of water that we carried back in literally everything we found on the farm that was holeless (and if it wasn’t, tissues or auntie Sellotape fixed it). We kept on splashing the water for hours not only on the farmily but mostly on cars going past the farm on the road nearby. We finished the day in style when we drove „to see Arnon’s friend living just down the road“ and after two hours of driving (!!!) while being completely soaking wet, we got to this little river on Myanmar border to find out that Arnon’s friend probably doesn’t exist because he was nowhere to be seen and Arnon never mentioned him again 🙂 At least we got a chance to build a sand castle in the most malaria area in Thailand without having a mosquito spray on us (and being bitten like thousands of times). Also, like a proper retard, I managed to accidentally drink quite a lot of that dirty water that was being splashed literally everywhere and had to spend the next 24 hours near the toilet 😀

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I was really not feeling great at all, the only thing I wanted to do was sleep. Two volunteers had moved to my room the day before though and unfortunately there was probably something very special about cat-allergic Maggie when a pregnant cat decided to successfully keep breaking into our room until 3am because obviously it was the coolest place on the farm to give birth. It turned out that Mario was the most responsible and caring of all of us though. Uncle Google turned him into a proper vet in just a few hours. However, around 5 am he decided to take a break from cat-gyneocology and sleep for a few minutes before the first rooster starts singing the lovely song. As predicted, in the morning, we found the exhausted cat lying next to her four kittens nextdoor. Arnon was very happy about it as it’s meant to bring luck to the farm because they were born on New Year’s 🙂

I really don’t understand where all ten days on the farm had gone but it was time to say good bye. Mario and I had a lot in common so we decided to travel to the south together, saying good bye to Arnon became very emotional, little Pao even had tears in his eyes and Maggie left the farm like a proper American cowgirl when she found out it’s not the best idea to stand between two fighting horses because there is no other escape from there than taking an unvoluntary and fast two metres long flight with a very hard landing. Luckily, nothing serious happened to her apart from having a few rainbowy bruises on her freckly legs 🙂 Good bye, farmily!!!

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