By Tata to Paradise


I have never owned a Tata, but I have experienced an “extended” trip in/on one, but the bottom two ratios only.

Having been in the (then) new Tata extended cab pick-up for the drive from north Koh Samet, to Paradee Resort on the southernmost tip, I can assure you it was impossible to get fast enough to get into third gear. Not even if your name is Sebastian Loeb, the ex-world rally champion.

However, rather than being driven around in a Tata on a tropical island, I was actually supposed to be driving around the freezing north of Scotland in a rental car, but Iceland put paid to that idea, when a volcano that nobody can spell and even fewer people can pronounce, decided to spew thousands of tons of ash into the air which threw thousands of planes back onto the ground. Mine included.

Now if you really want a point to ponder upon, next time you are down the pub with a couple of mates try this for size, is it morally correct that an inanimate object like an insurance company can refuse payout of an insurance policy because of an “Act of God”, when the person taking out the insurance is an Atheist, so does not hold with the very existence of a god to start with? Let me know your answer sometime.

I have to admit that I dislike air travel. It goes against the laws of nature, as far as I am concerned. This aluminium skinned device is supposed to fly, weighing 442,000 kg. All other flying devices are covered in feathers, with the heaviest being the male Zimbabwean bustard which takes off from the runway Number 2 at 19 kg. I am sure you are delighted to know this. That sure is one heavy bustard. However, there I was, mentally gearing up for 24 hours at 30,000 feet, and suddenly there I wasn’t.

This is where Koh Samet comes in. It only took one call to my old friend Hans Spoerri (now retired) of the Samed Island group, and the family was booked into the Paradee Resort. Not only does one not have to get there in a heavier than air flying machine, but it is also only a little over one hour from my house in the Dark Side (the smarter end of Pattaya). Well, not quite. The jumping off the mainland point is the hour and 10 minutes away, but you do then have to find a way to Koh Samet itself.

The Paradee people gave me the option of a speedboat ride from Ban Phe harbour, the recommended way, or the slow ferry to the northern end and then the Tata from there. I chose Tata.

This was not a misplaced trust in Mr. Tata’s pick-up, but rather came from the fact that speedboats have a habit of throwing people overboard. They do, believe me. Try taking out an insurance policy against being thrown overboard as a speedboat passenger and then sliced and diced by the props, and there will be guffaws all round from the friendly insurance people, who are only too happy to take your money, but not so swift in giving you some money.