I wasn’t showing it, but I was scared shitless. I had never ridden a motorbike before so I wasn’t confident that this would end well.
Arriving that morning in Koh Samui, Thailand, my buddy Steve and I had just checked in at our hotel. We had heard about the island’s Full Moon Parties so we wanted to go into town to look for some ganja. With motorbikes being a popular form of transportation here, Steve had the bright idea of renting scooters despite neither one of us having any experience riding. I knew it was a bad idea from the start but I didn’t want to look like a pussy so I just went along with it.
Hopping on those motorbikes with our matching red and blue helmets, we looked like Mario and Luigi going off on some stupid adventure. Clearly, we didn’t know what we were doing, so we thought we’d get some practice by going back and forth on the gravel path that took guests from the busy main road to our hotel.
On the third pass, disaster struck.
I don’t remember exactly how it happened but I lost control and went flying off my motorbike. I did a few tumbles on the rough gravel before coming to a stop and tearing up my knee in the process. To add insult to injury, I severely dented the basket on my brand new scooter so I had to pay for damages as well.
Hobbled by my injury, we didn’t make it to town that day but Steve didn’t seem to mind. In fact, he got a good laugh out of it. He wrote postcards to our friends later that night with the message:
“JB crashed his motorbike on the very first day. What a dumbass!”
Thanks buddy. Needless to say, that was the last time that either one of us rode a motorbike on this trip.
The next day, we hired a van to take us into town. We were still on the hunt for marijuana so we started asking the locals where we could find some. It’s funny, no matter where I am, I never have to try too hard to find weed. People selling the stuff usually just come up to me. It’s almost like a superpower.
Anyway, so this Thai dude selling clothes and souvenirs on the side of the road asked me if I wanted some. He only had two small packets on him so he asked us to wait while he hopped on his motorbike to get more. Across the road from his stand were a bunch of girlie bars. Most were bustling with tourists, but one was empty. We waited there.
Soon as we sat down, this Thai girl walked from across the bar and sat next to me. Wearing a grey tshirt, jeans, and full-on makeup, she was kinda cute, like a Sarah Geronimo (Filipina actress). Despite her dainty appearance though, something seemed amiss. Was it the size of her nose? The shape of her face? I couldn’t really put my finger on it, until she opened her mouth.
“Haaaaayy…wekkham to Koh Saahmoooey…weh yu fraaahm?” she asked in a thick Thai accent. Her voice was sweet and melodic, but deep.
Oh my god, she was a ladyboy. And this was a ladyboy bar. No wonder no one was sitting here.
I’m not into that sort of thing but I didn’t want to be rude either, so we just stayed and chatted it up while waiting for my guy. I don’t remember what we talked about but I do recall asking at one point if she had any weed. She said:
“Noooh, I dunt smohk daaat…but I layk to smohk samthing else…”
“What do you smoke?” I asked her.
“You haaave…”, she answered with a coy giggle. *wink wink*
Looking like he was ready to burst out laughing, I could see Steve mentally writing his second round of postcards when two of our ladyboy’s friends decided to join us. And unlike her, there was no doubting that these two made-up linebackers weren’t real women. They were bigger than Steve!
Thinking that all the misfortune would fall solely on me, it was at that moment that karma decided to even things out a bit. Without warning, the ugliest of the bunch — the big one with crooked buck teeth — sat on Steve’s lap and kissed him on the lips. It was just a quick smooch, a soft peck, but it was right on the kisser. I nearly died.
Steve’s an all-American guy who played football in college so to see this big, beefy, ugly Thai ladyboy sitting on his lap was the stuff of legend. There was no better payback.
“Whoa! I didn’t ask for that!” was all Steve could say. He’s a nice guy so he didn’t get mad or anything. He just let her sit on his lap the entire time, uncomfortable as it may have made him.
My guy arrived shortly after, so we said goodbye to our ladyboyfriends and went back to our hotel to smoke up. We couldn’t stop laughing the entire ride back.
“Mine was ugly but yours was cute!”, said Steve between chuckles. Considering what he was talking about, it sounded ridiculous to hear him say that. Ridiculous, but also true.
Later that night, it was my turn to write postcards. Confirming that yes, I indeed crashed my motorbike on the very first day, I told our friends just how much fun Steve and I were having in Thailand:
“Thailand is awesome dudes! We scored some weed tonight. Wish you guys were here. The beaches are incredible!
And oh yeah, Steve made out with some dude.”
You know what they say right? Karma’s a bitch. But in Koh Samui, it was a buck-toothed ladyboy.
JB and Renée are the Traveleaters behind Will Fly for Food, a travel blog for the gastronomically inclined. They enjoy experiencing food from different cultures so they’ve made it their mission to try every country’s national dish. Read more about them and their National Dish Quest here.