While it is too hot to do much during the daytime, we feel obliged to take a few excursions, so an evening trip out to Bhoput, an alleged ‘fishing village’ seems manageable.
It is clear when we arrive that ‘fishing village’ is not such an accurate description for Bhoput, whose lanes are not only teeming with tourists but lined both sides of each and every street with stalls selling every kind of touristy object imaginable [plus many unimaginable items]. Amongst all of this rampant commerce there is little sign of the historic buildings and character we were promised, but we are not unhappy, since the broad sweep of bay is beautiful and the many restaurants offer a mouth-watering range of fish and seafood dishes, which is what we are after.
Towards the end of a food stall street, where stallholders are fanning their wares to ward off flies, an open air bar beckons. It’s flanked by a beautiful shrine adorned with shrubs and flowers.
Shrines are everywhere-and sometimes in the middle of nowhere. Along one country lane many of them have ladders leading up to the platform and I’m curious as to why. Perhaps it’s ease of access? They are also decked with offerings-drinks, objects, flowers and food items
Of course amongst the food stalls there are the customary deep-fried insects.
While this may well be the future of protein for world nutrition we’re not tempted to snack on crunchy crustacea right this moment. Instead we peruse the plethora of fish and seafood restaurants that overlook the bay and I remember that it is, in fact Valentine’s Day. So as we settle into a table with a view over the sea, tables are filling up along the beach, too.
We choose a seafood starter to share, the calamari soft and not at all chewy [as it mostly is] then grilled fish with salad and corn. The sky grows dark as a boat with red sails glides out to sea, lit up, a Valentine’s party perhaps?
We decide we’ve probably done Bhoput and go to meet our taxi.
A walk around the backstreets of our area takes us through more market stalls and then we stumble upon a large Tesco department store. We’ve seen plenty of ‘Tesco Lotus Express’ outlets but this is the first large store we’ve spotted. Intrigued, we go inside [we’re still after coffee-making equipment after all]. In the entrance there are smaller shops with gifts and a lurid play area.
The store is familiar and yet strange, but after an extensive search we find a coffee filter. It is disorientating to wander a supermarket that is so well-known to us at home and see the range of products so unfamiliar to us, like stepping into the bathtub and finding it full of Cherryade.
On the return we stop to look at the local temple, modestly situated on a corner at the top of town and a kind of oasis away from the teeming streets. We have yet to look at any more of Koh Samui but the weather feels too hot for traipsing around. There are, however a few days left before we return…