05 November 2010


After an 8-hour bus ride and a 6-hour layover starting at 2 am at the ferry dock, other travelers and I finally boarded the world's jankiest ferry to Ko Tao, Thailand, where the endless harassment continued. This time, the Thais solicited PADI open water dive licenses, dive/bungalow packages, and a free! scooter/taxi ride to the dive shop! Finally, I sucked it up and picked one with a particularly attractive fun dive/accommodation deal, just to get them off my back. I found out he earned a paltry 100 baht bonus (about $3) for every tourist he brought to Big Bubble (and who later agreed to the 3,000 baht PADI license course or an 800-baht fun dive or ten), which I probably should have just handed him myself when the dive instructor insisted on a refresher course; I hadn't been diving in a year. She claimed that every shop on the island would say the same, which, had I been semi-functional after 36 hours of traveling and approximately 3 combined hours of sleep, would have been the first clue that these people just wanted my money... a cue to turn on my heel and find a bed immediately. My refresher course cost 166% more than a single fun dive, and wasted both my time and the time of the dive master guiding the course. After being personally PADI Advanced Open Water trained, one-on-one, by JP, at Lumbadive, and then accompanied by he or Clair on 16 dives, a year doesn't seem long. And they have set an unattainable standard, which will leave me disappointed and unfulfilled on every subsequent dive I make anywhere else. Thailand is bad. Dive shops in which JP & Clair are not involved are worse. Therefore, diving in Thailand can go right to hell.

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