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  • Writer's picturePeter Antonucci

Ko Samui, Thailand

Thursday | December 11, 2014

When we pulled into port this morning, we opened our curtains to the sight of

a German cruise ship and several Thai naval vessels. But we were in a place we'd never yet experienced, and we were keen to see what Ko Samui held in store!


We boarded the tender on our way to Chaweng Beach in Ko Samui.


The ride was fairly uneventful as we passed through a series of small towns that were similar to what we had seen in Cambodia and Vietnam (minus the garbage ditches, and minus the sea of motorbikes).


Small merchants peddled their wares from street side shops along dusty roads where motorbikes and cars jostled with the pedestrians.

Along side the road were fishing boats, festooned with folded crab and fish traps.


When we arrived at Chaweng Beach, we were dropped off at a fairly modern mall that contains roughly the same stores as can be found in an American mall.

Then we set off to walking the streets of Ko Samui. On the surface, it is a typical beach town, the same as could be found in North America or the Caribbean, with a much greater level of poverty as one travels back from the beach. Also, for a tourist destination, the lack of English speakers was somewhat surprising.

But man, this place stinks!  I mean it smells like raw sewage.

After making our way to a few shops, we finally found an entrance to the beach. It was nice enough, but after about seven minutes, my ankles were totally swollen with sand fly bites, so we decided to leave.


Then, we hit a few shops.

We started gently with some typical beachy tourist shops where I bought some pants and a shirt. I bought some stylin’ kicks!


But then, we hit a serious store, actually called “High End”. Although they are obviously knock-offs, they're good knock offs, so I bought three bags as gifts. And yes, two are Celines and one is a Louis Vuitton. (Hey, it's not American and I am not familiar with the intellectual property laws of Ko Samui - if there are any!)


For lunch, we wandered into the Page restaurant inside the Library Hotel. It was reminiscent of the Delano in Miami Beach, with a long outdoor courtyard leading to the an infinity pool, and guest cottages along each side. But the pool was beautifully unique as the architect had decided to line it entirely with red mosaic tiles, giving the pool a neat glowing appearance.


It was not just the beachside atmosphere that was beautiful.

The food was also delicious and creatively served. Take, for example, these two appetizers.


The colorfully dressed beach peddlers also contributed to the island ambiance.


After lunch, we grabbed a taxi to the Fishermen’s Village where we grabbed some last things before heading out. (Again, this is a nice little island for locals, but I’d take any of the Caribbean islands first, let alone Hawaii.)

We took the bus back to the tender. Thankfully, the sign on the side of the bus warned of what we were, and were not, allowed to do on the bus.


After a shower and quick change, we proceeded to the Colosseo, the ship's theater, for the annual residents’ meeting. The meeting, which lasted 90 minutes, was chaired by the ship’s Board of Directors. Also present were members of the ship’s senior management team from Florida. There was nothing terribly noteworthy about the meeting, except the 5.4% increase in our maintenance fees next year. But hey, floating around the world to amazing places and seeing amazing things doesn't come cheap. Some of us were expecting a 10% increase, so we were relieved.

After the meeting, the ship held a cocktail party honoring the outgoing CEO. While mingling among the board and senior management, I think I found my first cause on the ship – to increase the percentage of residents who contribute to the crew’s enrichment fund.  First, I'll run for the board and then try to change the shape of things - to get more money into the hands of those who really do the heavy lifting necessary to make the ship so wonderful - the illustrious crew. I already have a few ideas, so stay tuned!


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