‘Mai Pen Rai’ can be interpreted in a variety of ways. Common translations include: ‘It doesn’t matter!’ ‘No problem.’ and ‘quite frankly we don’t give a shit.’
We should have predicted disaster from the onset, booking accommodation with a name like that.
“The little liars!” exclaimed Kristin “They said they’d be here in an hour”
“Tell me about it.” I moaned.
After a ridiculous 9-hour journey to get to Koh Phangan, we were not in the best of moods. Especially since we figured we would have probably had an easier time reaching Australia! Our luck had got progressively worse over the course of the day: We missed the first boat. Only the men’s squat toilets had been open at the port. And to top it off we had been waiting for Sinead, Becky and Francis for almost 2 hours. Sitting at the side of the road in complete darkness, it would take all of our efforts not to attack our friends now that they had arrived.
As four of us hauled ourselves, along with our luggage into the back of the truck that had come to collect us, Sinead cheekily hopped into the front. Naturally, the raindrops began to fall. Faster and faster. The monsoon had arrived right on schedule. In a desperate attempt to protect ourselves, out came the umbrellas. (Which turned out to be completely useless against the torrential downpour). Francis decided to drop Kristin’s umbrella into the road. Not that that did much good either.
Soon, we were being bumped around like crazy in the back of the Jeep as it climbed up cliff tops and down dangerously muddy rivers. Darkness surrounded us, so we could never be quite sure when we would be hit in the face by a tree branch or attacked by whatever other horrors lay out there. My knuckles turned white as I frantically clung on to my seat…which didn’t really seem to be that effective since the seat was bumping up and down as well. I then realised it was not even attached to the floor.
“Oh for gods sake…I cant even drink my Chang,” moaned Kristin, “It’s bumping into my teeth!”
“ There’s always a way” assured Becky (the hardcore drinker of the bunch!)
She expertly held her bottle at such an angle that it didn’t smash into her face as we went over the bumps. Much.
One terrifying hour later…and long after the road had stopped being a road…we saw the dreaded sign: ‘Mai Pen Rai Bungalows’.
“At least we know why it’s called that now!” laughed Francis
“Unless there’s worse to come.” I suggested
“There probably is” agreed Becky
“There always is” muttered Sinead
It turned out that there was worse to come. As if the gruelling hour jungle drive through the mountainous terrain in a monsoon was not enough to go through in one day, we now had an obstacle course to complete. Our bungalow was on the top of a cliff. With no lights to guide the way. A cave to crawl through. Stone steps and rope bridges to cross. Gigantic waves to avoid. And a wild pig on the loose, just to mix things up a bit.
“Why do things like this always have to happen to us?” asked Kristin
“I have absolutely no idea” I replied.
She was right though. It always did happen to us. We set off on the trek up the cliff, with Sinead storming on ahead as usual. Everything was going relatively well until…
“Aaaaarggghhhhh!!!” cried Sinead.
We all rushed forward to see what the problem was. What happened next was one of the funniest things I have ever seen in my life. A huge wave crept up over the rocks, nearly sweeping poor Sinead off her feet, and absolutely soaking her from head to toe.
Naturally we all burst out laughing!
“Serves you right for staying dry whilst we were out stuck in the monsoon earlier!” Becky giggled.
Sinead being Sinead couldn’t stop laughing either, and it was in good spirits that we all trudged the final few meters to our lovely accommodation. As soon as we stepped inside, we flopped down onto the beds, absolutely exhausted.
“Thank god we don’t have anything else to worry about today,” said Francis
“Just one problem guys” I pointed out
“What?” asked Becky
“How the hell is Antonia going to manage to get here on her own tomorrow?”
To be continued…