Friday, March 18, 2011

Lost near Krabi

Within the last two days a few fans have wondered if we're still alive or maybe too busy for me to report on our activities though I find it touching some are missing my blather but I have to confess...busy is not an item in my prognosis as for the reason of my lack of blog. My day begins with a simple poolside breakfast provided by the hotel as part of our nightly fee and as we enjoy noshing on a bit of fresh fruit, yogurt, and croissant washing it down with some coffee, a decision is made as what we plan to do for the day and even that may change once we get back to our room to dress for the action. The following is a brief run down on some of our activities. Now mind you it has been searingly hot and humid here half way down the peninsula of southern Thailand so mid afternoon is "X'd" out for napping. That's a daily given.

Sharon relaxing after long boat ride, but she didn't get sick!
Three days ago we jumped aboard a 30' speedboat with friends from Korea, Japan, China, Canada, Russia, France, and Germany. We were representing the good ol' USA.  Catherine #8, our boat, left the harbor about 9AM to visit three islands all in the vicinity of Phi Phi island. You may not recall that name but in 2004 Phi Phi received the same treatment northern Japan has recently suffered. Our captain, Johnny Depp, said 1400 people lost their lives in that vicious tsunami. Seven years later you wouldn't know the town was totally wiped from the face of the rock. Bars, hotels, shops, dive shops, shops, shops now permeate the small cove that a couple thousand Thai islanders call home.

Before pulling into Phi Phi our captain had us explore a small spot of tropical land where the government didn't permit any building of any kind except the bambo fisherman huts all clumped together on one end. Sharon and I hiked down to the end of the smooth sandy beach past the fishing huts and found a nice spot to swim and take some photos. The captain warned us to be back at the boat by 10:30AM. We carefully took note of the time and dutifully returned and came aboard with five minutes to spare along with everyone else except a couple who was late showing up at the original cast off. Fifteen minutes went by and the captain, tour leader, and first mate exhausted their patience and energy looking for them (mind you there are 6 to 10 other boats pulling in and out and our leaders didn't quite remember what the couple looked like so when the clock said 10:50AM, the captain fired up the engines and pulled away from shore leaving the couple to fend for themselves. Everyone in the boat jaws dropped in disbelief these people were being left behind when only minutes  earlier the UN team of boatmates wanted them chastised but leaving them was a reality check none of us believed would actually happen. I was kind of digging this scene, but hoping nothing was really wrong with them other than being arrogantly stupid.
Stopping for lunch after scooter exploring...Cockles local fav

As the boat pulled around the reef the captain spied a man running waving swim fins in the air. The boat reversed into the sandy beach and the man seemed like he was smugly grinning as he walked near the boat's twin 225 HP Johnson Outboards tilted half up so as not to dig into the sand. Mr and Mrs Lateski walked up within 8' of the rear swim ladder when the captain rev'd both engines sending up a tsunami  6' high wall of water to welcome the Russian couple back on board. The UN committee cheered with approval, the ruskies sufficiently shamed, sat down, the engines dropped, trimmed and off we went to Phi Phi. (the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo diCapprio  was filmed here)

After a dismal lunch in a school cafeteria setting provided by the boat tour, our captain took us to a couple coves to snorkel and to my surprise the reef had decent color and a variety of small fish so I assume the diving is pretty decent around the area as well. Sharon doesn't dive and I don't think I'd like to dive not knowing any of the dive crew or fellow divers so that will have to be another trip.

Once everyone was back in the boat, this time with the Rusky couple, we darted back to port and docked about 4PM, took a nap, caught some dinner and off to dreamland.

Our Honda 125cc expedition scooter
The next day after our breakfast, it was decided to rent a scooter (I was dying to get some motorized two wheel action) and look for the real Thailand. The rental place (actually a hotel we stayed the first night in Krabi) provided us a map, we packed a backpack of survival gear, and off we zoomed through the jungle and beach lands towards sites as depicted by miniature photos inset into the map. Beaches, waterfalls, and crystal pools peppered our route. It didn't take long before we discovered the map names and the lack of highway markers made finding these sweet spots hopeless so we settled on the ride and what we could find without the useless map. Discovery is easy, getting back was another story. I've never done a complete loop three times not on purpose. It was unnerving and a bit embarrassing because both of us were really serious about getting back and the roads from the air must look like bed springs. Eventually we found our way back but not without having major sun on my hands from an all day cycle event. But it was much so we did it again today and the same thing happened going another way but this time the discovery was fantastic and not finding our way home directly was understood so we calmly ignored all real common sense and went soulfully on instinct. It worked like a charm.

Accidental discovery can be good for the mind..check out the tree growing in the middle of the photo.
After these long days I'm ready for a swim and a nap. Tomorrow we return to Bangkok and within two days after that we board Dharma Air and fly to Kathmandu to trek the Himalayas. So it's goodbye Southeast Asia and hello K2.

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