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March 4, 2004

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After a clean medical check up in Bangkok, we were ready for a beachin' time. We headed south by bus, an all night journey, then to the wharf at Surat Thani for a 2 1/2 hour ride by express boat to one of Thailand's famous offshore islands: Ko Samui.

Lying off southeastern Thailand, Ko Samui has been overrun by coconut plantations and suntanned tourists. Coconuts get transported to Bangkok, over 2 million per month, while several thousand tourists transport themselves to one of the many beaches. We try Hat Lamai. "Hat" means beach in Thai, maybe because everyone needs one for protection against a searing, relentless sun.

Most of the beaches offer thatched-roofed bungalows, always pick one with a hammock that's far away from a coconut-bombing tree. Beach hoppers use songthaews, pickup trucks with two rows in the flatbed: picnic bench seating.