Birthday in paradise

The old man himself

My 29th birthday was spent relaxing in paradise. We woke up and scootered into town for a delicious, huge english breakfast at Zest Café. Mmmmmmmm…delicious eggs, bacon, toast, beans, tomato, sausage and hashbrowns. It may sound run-of-the-mill to those of you who can get that any day of the week, but it’s a pretty rare thing to find a good Western-style breakfast in this part of the world. What you often get is white bread, hotdog posing as sausage, and weak, thin strips of bacon. Not at Zest Café! A brilliant way to start a birthday.

We hopped on our scooter, armed with rented snorkels and masks, and went to explore a couple of the more remote bays and beaches on the island. The scootering was an adventure in itself. As soon as you leave the main roads on Koh Tao, the pavement ends and the hills begin. It was part scootering, part mountain biking. We first went to Tanote bay. Only 15 feet from the beach, the water reached depths of about 20 feet, and coral formations grew up in all shapes and sizes. We saw so many colourful fish, and practiced diving down below the surface as deep as we could. We followed this up with some sun bathing on the white sand beach. Next we headed to Aow Leuk bay, and had a pad thai and Tiger beer lunch. The beer was probably the coldest we’ve had on the island. Unfortunately the surf was too big there to snorkel any more, but it was still fun to splash around in the waves. A little more sun and relaxing, and we were back on the scooter again.

Playing in the surf

After an afternoon siesta, we drove to town and stopped to pick up a couple of small birthday items on the way. I got a new t-shirt (much needed, as my only remaining Icebreaker t-shirt is starting to fall apart) and a tiny, expandable speaker for playing music from the iPhone. Now we can have lovely music in our beach-side bungalow.

As evening approached, a huge tropical storm started creeping up on us. We hid from it at an all-you-can-eat-BBQ-at-your-table restaurant. Unfortunately, having a hot BBQ at your table when it’s 30 degrees outside is a little uncomfortable, but we had fun anyways. We were treated to an incredible display of rain and lightning outside, that would be on-and-off all night. Listening to heavy rain beat down on our bungalow roof was pretty cool.

So now I’m 29 — and many people have told me that “it’s the end of youth”. We’ll see about that! I think I’m just coming into the prime of life, and I can’t wait for all of the adventures that the next year will bring. Thanks to everyone for all of the birthday wishes from back home and abroad. They really helped to make an incredible day even more memorable.

Aow Leuk Bay


    Age 29 was the beginning of some of the best years of my life. Keep thinking forward to new dreams. I am producing a very special concert for my upcoming birthday in May. Wish you could be at it :)

    I’m quite late, but happy birthday Mark!!

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