Tightly nestled among the happy snaps and hilarious anecdotes lie the problems you’re bound to run into while on the road. For the sake of saving your relatives a heart attack it’s probably for the greater good that these are reserved for the likes of memories and private journal entries, but I’ll share a great one of mine with you. I suppose my only real regret is that my evening after getting my drink spiked was unfortunately nothing like The Hangover.
So there I was on the beauty that is Koh Phi Phi in Thailand: I was sat with an arm around my girlfriend Hannah (with whom I’d been recently reunited after two months apart) and a frosty beer in my other hand, gazing up a blissful night sky from a sandy white beach thinking life simply couldn’t get any better. Little did I know that my blissful illusion was about to be shattered. Thankfully my life philosophy is ‘shit happens’ so I wasn’t too disgruntled.
Hannah is famous for (amongst other things) her inability to withstand long nights out, so part of the recipe for disaster was her deciding to leave me on my lonesome for the evening while she tucked in early (or ran off with a Thai man: who knows?). No big deal, right? I’d been travelling solo for months so was more than acquainted with the tiresome process of befriending total strangers and so on. And this party island was full of people looking for good times, so off I set to the nearest beach bar.
Thankfully I had an accomplice by my side who I’d bumped into en-route, so we sat on some bean bags and ordered some shisha with a couple of beers while the DJ cracked out some good old Radiohead: after being flabbergasted with nothing but Akon and the Black Eyed Peas the previous evening this was quite refreshing. Almost as refreshing as the beer in hand, which was my first of the night. Now, I’m no heavyweight, but I don’t think I’ve ever felt so off my face from half a bottle of beer in all my life. > By the time I made it to the bathroom I knew that something was rotten in Denmark and proceeded to stuff my bank card into my pants
Sensing that something was up, I haphazardly staggered to the stinky men’s room to examine myself in the mirror. That seemingly simple task was skewed by my seized up legs and the excessive light show commemorating the half moon (any excuse to celebrate, right?). By the time I made it to the bathroom I knew that something was rotten in Denmark and proceeded to stuff my bank card into my pants (classy), leaving but a few tuppence in my dusty wallet to detract potential thieves.
As the paranoia gripped I decided that the most discreet mode of exit from the bar would be via the Hollywood walkway that was the back alley. I suppose the logic in my twisted head was that nobody would follow me and that I could get back quickly and get help. I escaped onto the main street with some minor injuries and a light coating of mystery sludge on my shins.
I’d been on Koh Phi Phi for about five days before this hilarious incident: I’m not a moron when it comes to directions and besides, the island has one main street and another branching from it, where my hostel was located. The fact is that I knew my way around with ease, yet in this stupor it was all a blur.
I started being recklessly illogical with my subsequent decisions on the way home: I was sort of in control but compelled to do ridiculous things. At every hotel I passed I demanded that “it’s an emergency!” and that the security guards give me all of their pens, which I proceeded to run away with. Cluster of pens in hand and staggering like Frankenstein’s beast I approached a gang of Thai youths on motorbikes and in true lad fashion demanded “let’s have a go on yer bike son” and was lucky to be sent on my merry way by a push of hands rather than a torrent of fists.
By this point my stomach had started to disagree with whatever it was that was slowly taking me over and I proceeded to ‘chunder everywah’ in true ‘gap yah’ fashion. Ironically this was the only time on my trip where I threw up, or so I remember. When you’re walking through a party district leaving a Hansel and Gretel trail of vomit behind you, you’re hardly greeted with grins. You’ve obviously had one (or ten) too many, are making a fool of yourself, and are unworthy of any help.
Through bile coated teeth I managed to dribble the name of my guesthouse to my new best friend who was apparently a walking Lonely Planet
I thought that good Samaritans only existed in works of fiction but eventually one came to my aid. Through bile coated teeth I managed to dribble the name of my guesthouse to my new best friend who was apparently a walking Lonely Planet – he knew the location of my guesthouse and was eager to get me tucked up in bed. I could sense something wasn’t quite right as he pulled me closer to darkness and out of town, so quickly latched myself onto an elderly Thai lady, waving some money in her face, just begging to be taken home.
After two hours of wandering the same 50 metre stretch of road, sicky and sobbing, it turns out I’d been approximately outside of my hostel the entire time. She led me the few paces to my door and sent me on my merry way, and refused to take my money. Meanwhile, a certain someone in the land of nod was about to be woken by a pleasant surprise.
Any movement or attempted sipping of water induced nausea, and my knight (nurse) in shining armour (nightie) ensured that I didn’t die overnight. Eventually I made it to the bed and slept solidly for a good few hours and when I eventually awoke I was severely disorientated and achy. For the few days that followed I struggled to navigate the streets that were so obvious the previous day, and often had problems keeping up with conversation – my short term memory had been totally shot.
Koh Phi Phi is still one of my favourite Thai islands and this didn’t detract from the fun times at all. I’d heard tales of people having everything robbed, being held at gunpoint and being spiked by evidently much worse chemicals like petrol (which stopped a girl from taking her flight home), so by comparison I felt like I’d got off quite lightly – considering the circumstances I could have came out of that situation much worse off.
God knows what was in the drink, or who was responsible, or what would have happened had I consumed the entire thing. I guess I should have taken the ‘watch all of your drinks being opened’ advice I’d had rammed down my throat, but you live and learn. Quite an interesting experience while it was happening and perhaps a tad funny in retrospect. At least my bank card and anal virginity were kept intact.