We’re officially open water scuba certified! Our last two dives were at the blandly named green rock and white rock, respectively. The locations themselves were anything but bland. At green rock, I took off my whole mask at 18 meters, put it back on, got all the water out and felt like a boss. Our time below was slightly curtailed by our archenemies the triggerfish, but our swim back to the boat right alongside a giant shelf was out of this world. At white rock, we saw a giant rock fish camouflaged in a trench, and amazing orange ray hiding in the sand under a crevice. I’ve never had the opportunity to look at a ray straight in the eye. It’s intelligence was immediately apparent and astonishing. Highly recommend.

We took care of the necessary paperwork and got everything in order for our trek up north. This time, hoping to avoid the previous drug bus shenanigans from Phuket, I booked a package deal that included ferry to Chumpon and a direct transfer to Bangkok. We said our goodbyes and dragged our exhausted bodies onto the boat for a 2:30 departure. The transfer in Chumpon was incredibly smooth and, eight hours later, we were dropped off in the middle of Bangkok… at 1:30 am on a Saturday night.

Walking down Khaosan Road at that hour–completely sober–was an experience I’ll never forget. It was like the Pike/Pine corridor on Capitol Hill times five thousand and throw in a Seahawks game and a little bit of bumbershoot. I gingerly stepped over and around and directly on top of multiple piles of vomit. When our phone data expired, I got us through the madness to our hostel with a screenshot of a map and felt like a boss for the second time in twenty-four hours. It appears that after forty days, I’m getting this whole traveling thing down.

Tomorrow will bring new challenges that include finding a place to store our giant backpacks for two weeks while we travel in Mandalay and Chiangmai.