Winging it took us on a little goose chase around the inter webs and in a cab up island only to find ourselves back at ole D 12 at our “resort” Da Kanda. It’s ‘kanda’ nice as we have taken to saying. “Kanda” clean and “kanda” weird – the dance music starts pumping at 2 every afternoon. We investigated some other spots – beach bungalows all single rooms with no air conditioning, the other resorts were all similar to Da Kanda but many without a pool and those with pools were either way out of our budget or had no “family” rooms. There were some apartments available but not until the beginning of February and I don’t feel the need to extend our time on party island too long. There is a weird vibe here – it feels like we have been dropped right back into the nineties. Chris reminds me that we would have loved the party vibe back in the nineties when we used to party. It’s true – the only difference from when I was in University is that now you can’t swing a cat without hitting a heavily tattooed body. But the music, the smoking (so very much smoking?!!) and even the clothes are all the same – cutoffs, mid drift bearing tops, men in necklaces and lots of long hair. Although the man buns bring us right back to the present day.
Our search for a home landed us in a cab with driver, Tip, going up island to see a two bedroom. Sebastian met us outside the youth hostel on the main road. He led us up a dark dirt road with houses on one side and jungle on the other and tons of dogs barking and yapping and checking us out. We arrive at a small bungalow aglow with frigid LED lights. Inside we find a small black pleather couch in an otherwise empty room, similarly the bedrooms each contain a bed. The kitchen has a giant propane tank hooked up to a single burner, a small fridge and sink – the bathroom is off the kitchen with a shower over the toilet – a classic guest house configuration. The entire place smells of body odour. Sebastian is affable in a distinctly German way, fairly expressionless leaning toward stern. He explains that he is going to Cambodia to work at his friends bar for six months. He says it’s not for the money since he makes his money buying and trading in crypto currency. He lost a lot when he first started but has come up with a system that works for him. So now he lives in Asia and does what he likes. We thank him for showing us the place and wish him luck in Cambodia and we head back down the dirt road past the barking dogs to the hostel to call Tip. Immediately after we hit the main road Anderson says – I am NOT living there. Pretty much what he said when we first got to good ole D 12 at Da Kanda which at this point is bathed in a whole new light. Back at the “resort” we manage to work out a deal – which involves getting rid of our “cot” (single mattress on the floor) this cuts the nightly fee by a third. Crazy! We buy an air mattress and settle into what will be our home for the next two weeks.
Our new friends Roland, Annamai, Noah and Isla are our first guests and we spend the afternoon at the pool. They are from Devon – Annamai is a jewellery maker and Roland is a carpenter. It’s so nice to see the kids joyfully playing and there isn’t a single argument all afternoon. Anderson cuts out for his first kite surfing lesson and rejoins super excited and filled with kite fever. I can see how the next few weeks will unfold. The next day we pool time and kite time but without our new friends who have gone to a day rave with their kids – I’m a little curious but not enough to actually go. As it turns out there is a small three man rave on our beach that afternoon, as usual the house music starts at two pm. The normally desolate tiki bar now has three men happily grooving to the house beats being spun by a woman my age. As it turns out Sabine also LOVES the house music and dances along occasionally adding in her ballet influenced points and hops.
We have been making nightly trips to the night market – it’s the best food for the best price and its super fast. Plus I get to pretend that I’m going to make the kids eat chicken feet or a whole duck. We were all set to rent a scooter – our new best friends Annamai and Roland rent one and manage to get all four on board. Plus everyone is on a scooter and it’s not nearly as crazy as I remember Vietnam to be – there does seem to be some semblance of people following the rules of the road. Although the nightly jaunt down to the market has opened our eyes to the more dangerous drivers – there also seems to be quite a few ambulances about and more and more we notice people with bright white bandages. I don’t say anything at first because I’m always that gal – verging on paranoia and catastrophe – plus it’s just too easy – of course people get hurt on scooters – my specialty is seeing how we can get hurt gathering sea shells or doing yoga on the beach. So I suck it up and Chris marches off to find a rental. He returns without a scooter – saying they didn’t have any big enough ones so we’ll try an other place a little further away in the afternoon. Then he has a few conversations with some people at the kite surfing school and he speaks to an other man who rents scooters and they all say – don’t bother – in fact the older guy who runs a rental shop says – you don’t want to leave with a Phangan tattoo……. then we find out that Roland had a bad accident on his scooter the last time they were here and his wound got septic – he had the red line going up is leg and everything. Of course no one needs to convince me – but we decide to save the scootering for a less “party” zone and make a plan to rent a car. Although today dawned with wind and so it seems the wind has arrived for the season which means I think it will be Sabine and I solo for a bit. Off to explore beaches and villages.
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