Thursday, 22 January 2009

Mike and Manuel had worked hard preparing the bar, and it looked pretty good. All in white, with some blue neon inside to light up the white-clad crowd. I wore black, but explained to Manuel that it had white stripes on it. Got them on a technicality. Not that I’d have been barred, not that much of a dress code on a Thai island.

I spent most of the evening outside, as Mike had built a huge bonfire. There were lanterns in the sand surrounding it, and it lit up the beach beautifully. We sat around drinking the deadly punch with the girls from Yorkshire and a nice Brazilian named Cecy. She’d come travelling after splitting with her husband, and that she wasn’t interested in men here…but was disappointed no-one hit on her yet. I had to laugh. Us blokes just can’t win, can we?
Ay and Boy turned up from Joker, and we ended up inside. The DJ was playing some pretty good House, so we got on the floor. Ay told me Song was in Ranong and would be back tomorrow morning. I said I was disappointed I couldn’t say Goodbye, so gave Ay a hug and told him to pass that on instead. Mike and Manuel appeared from the beach, and the party was in full swing. So when you’re having a good night on Phayam, it’s only a matter of time before Captain Raincloud shows up. As none of us particularly liked him, we pretended he wasn’t there. The girl Cocknor had come with started dancing with Mike. Red rag to a bull. Him and Mike started having a dance-off; Mike just having a laugh; Cocknor trying to audition for Strictly Come Dancing by the looks of it. His grim-set expression was a picture. As if beating Mike was Life Or Death. Manuel and myself were in stitches.

After Mike lost interest and waltzed off, I moved to the bar. Beer in hand, I carried on dancing. Cocknor made an elaborate move in my general direction, and while still holding his girl’s hands leaned backwards. Over his shoulder he hissed “Stay outta my way” and turned back. “With pleasure, dear boy.” I replied, quite amused by his macho posturing.

All in all, a jolly good send-off. Time to head for Ko Lipeh, which had been No 1 on my list of islands to visit after discussing dive locations with my BSAC instructor in London, Ian. Not that I can dive at the moment, but if I like the place and the shop, I can go back and do my Divemaster course in the New Year. And then I can start working my way around when I get to South America’s northern coastline.

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