Wonderful wonderful Koh Phayam
Koh Phayam is definitely the best place we've been to thus far. It is really cheap (about $5 each a night), sunny, and beautiful, but most importantly it is relaxed and not excessively touristy. The island is really small, about 600 permanent residents, and isn't jam packed with sunburned whities. The locals are some of the most laid back people I've ever seen, and there seems to be strong reggae and hippy influences on the culture. A European man who now lives in Ranong told me that this area is what Thailand was like in the 80's... and that's just peachy. There are only sidewalks on Koh Phayam, and that means no cars or trucks, only motorcycles and tractors. So far we've been spending oodles of time on the beach boogie boarding, reading and so on. We rented motorcycles two days ago and spent the day motoring down every road on the island (there are about three) and up and down the beaches. Katie took a bit of a spill right off the bat, but the rest went smoothly and we remain intact.
The island is nearly perfect, there is only one drawback. Unfortunately something about the ocean surrounding the island attracts obscene amounts of plankton, and the little buggers sting every several seconds. It makes swimming in the ocean a little less pleasant, but hey, nothing in life is perfect. I'm not sure how long we are going to stay here, probably another week or so, and then who knows.
Todd, your pacifist working boy.