Rayong, Si Racha, and back

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July 16th 2015
Published: July 16th 2015
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Khao Chamao National ParkKhao Chamao National ParkKhao Chamao National Park

we made it to the top water fall!
We checked in at Classic Kameo, part of the Kantary group that Jamie uses when she travels in Thailand. They are nice hotels and very friendly. Jamie was able to arrange for a driver for our last day, taking us all over the area all day, from 7am until around 8pm. They joked about our planned full day; with Jamie, I am used to and always up for the ride as she hasn't steered me wrong yet (except when she missed taking my photo coming down the Super Slide! 😊 )

Anyway, for that night we decided to take it easy; i talked her out of the hike that afternoon as it would just be hot and it may get dark. So, instead we planned to go watch a movie; it was very difficult to figure out where the movie theater was. But we did and arranged transportation to the mall. I got yet another mode of Thai transportation here - motorbike. Ok, I freaked out a little; I've only ever ridden a vespa in the Tuscan countryside. Jamie got on the bike with the big guy behind my smaller guy. Then they all started to laugh as I had my legs sitting out and hugging the guy. Jamie directed me to put my legs on the little bars and to instead grab the bar around the seat behind me. We both agreed that my guy, in the lead, was a friggin maniac - was he deliberately trying to give me the full experience? We zipped in and out of traffic, passing on narrow roads, speeding around curves, until finally, thankfully, we arrived at the mall. We went straight to the movie theater and got our popcorn and proceeded to watch Terminator: Genisys. Loved it as well as the experience; I think you can tell a lot about a place by going to the movie. First of all, we did go see the only one playing in English - they had about 3 other Terminator movies at nearby times playing in Thai - so the place was empty with about 4 other people in the entire theater. It is also fun to see the commercials - some are so bad they're funny and some are so good they're funny. In Thailand, there is also an approximately 2-minute long tribute to the king that they request you stand for - kind
Khao Chamao National ParkKhao Chamao National ParkKhao Chamao National Park

much needed break
of like the national anthem in the US.

We weren't hungry at the time so we wandered around a little bit before talking some guys into taking us back to the hotel in their pimped out vans. They dropped us off at the wrong Kantary hotel, but it turns out they are connected so no biggie. We decided to walk over to the other hotel where we had seen the cafe and massage place along the street. We booked massages - I needed to try a Thai massage before I left - and went in search of food. It was nearly impossible as it was buffet night at the main hotel restaurant and we weren't that hungry and then in the other Asian themed restaurant, they didn't have the food Jamie wanted so she just sat while I ordered a BLT; she ate my fries. THe BLT was very good, by the way. Then she was too tired so went back to the room while I got my massage. It was a nice little spa, with beds all in one room upstairs and separated by curtains. They gave me the equivalent of scrubs before starting; of course, you should always get your feet washed before a proper massage. Then my little Thai lady went to work. I thought it was supposed to hurt, but it didn't; in fact, there were times when she was poking in to the sides of my legs when it tickled and I had to muffle my face and think about the Terminator to keep from laughing. Also, she will sit on the bed opposite you and push with her legs on your thighs to extend you; I'm very flexible so that didn't hurt either. It was very pleasant experience and about $12.

The next day, we got up early, got breakfast, and found our driver- another pimped out van. The young guy was not overly friendly and we decided later that he was probably hungover. First, he was 10 minutes late, then he had to stop at a gas station - he was not prepared for us. It was just over and hour to get to Khao Chameo National Park, where i had read the previous night that there were multiple water falls. We stopped at the park headquarters and started our hike. Jamie used my backpack as practice since she will be doing a 5-day trek later this summer. At first, I thought that since it had been so dry here lately that we would not see much water as the first two creek beds were dry as bone. Then we heard the rushing water and came upon our first of many waterfalls. We hiked for about a half hour before stopping for a much needed break. It was not a hard hike, nor was it particularly hot, but it was soooooo muggy. I've never felt anything like it; the closest I could describe it to was Bikram Yoga where the sweat literally just pours off of you. It was pretty gross; my shirt was soaked and sweat was falling into my eyes, my hair was so gross, but it was also exciting. No wonder Thai people are so tiny!

We continued on all the way to the top, which was a bit further than the signs indicated. The rocks were very slippery here and I fell, expectedly, on my butt but got some good photos. In the little pools are huge fish, hundreds of them - so I did not feel the urge to swim here. But the cool water on our feet was lovely. We made our way back down as quick as feasible, and were about 20 minutes late back to the van. Only to see our driver sleeping on the bench we had set our stuff on with his shirt off; he actually took my purse from the floor and used it as a pillow. So, no A/C, a sleepy driver, sweaty purse… and then he puts water in the radiator, and then the van wouldn't start. WTF. He got it started and we made our way down out of the park. Slowly. We both were trying to get him to drive faster as we had to still check out of our hotel… He friggin pulls over to the side of the road and turns the car that would not start earlier off and then nods his head in understanding. Only now, the car would not start!!! At all. So he has to call other people but is communicating nothing to us. We are, no joke, in the middle of nowhere. Jamie is trying to get the hotel to send someone since they set up this driver, telling the driver to talk to them and explain the
Tiger ZooTiger ZooTiger Zoo

biggest pig I've ever seen
situation. Finally he stops a car and I can only assume they called a local guy willing to drive us back.

It was a much better drive back and we determined the reason he drove so slow was that he didn't want to overheat the van; basically, he came to drive us for a full day with a crap car that may breakdown and did. Unbelievable. Then, we get back to the hotel fine and the staff were like "Oh we heard about your accident! So sorry - when do you want to check out?" So he had told the hotel we had an accident. Super unbelievable. We were under the impression we would have the same driver but with a different car once we checked out. We went upstairs, ordered room service (another BLT thank you), took much needed showers, quickly packed and ate and were out by 2pm.

Fortunately, it was not the same driver and we had by far the friendliest driver of the whole trip to shuttle us in a camry. Oh yeah. We really liked our hike, but determined that Rayong was not very tourist friendly. Next stop was Si Racha Tiger Zoo,
Tiger ZooTiger ZooTiger Zoo

pig racing contestants
very touristy. This was another attraction Jamie wanted to see; I don't think she got too far on their website though. She saw "Tiger. Zoo." and assumed it was a zoo-like setting. Whereas I read about the pig racing and sows feeding tiger cubs and weird sh*t like that so I had a better idea what to expect. It was 450 baht to enter the park (?!?!?!) and we went straight to the Tiger Show. Again, not sure what she expected, but it had poor tigers being smacked and trained to perform strange tricks for scraps of food. Very sad. Then we went and saw the Tiger Feeding attraction, with dozens of cubs in little cages - weird. Then we went to the Crocodile Show where a guy and girl "performed" with the crocodiles. So weird. We walked by the pig racing attraction, where I saw the biggest pig I have ever seen, but we didn't stick around for the actual race. After less than an hour, we were done.

Next stop was Ko Loi, a small island off the coast of Si Racha, accessible via pier for cars. So our guy parked and we wandered and quickly found a cute little cafe where each got an ice mocha and enjoyed the view. Our guy found us there and told us to make sure we saw the turtles before we left; he had never been there was exploring himself - much better than the hungover bum, right? So, after about 40 minutes of chilling and chatting, we saw the turtles, giant turtles in a pond, also begging for food. They were huuuuge! Then we left.

Last stop: Novotel at the Bangkok airport. Our guy dropped us off and we checked our baggage with the concierge. Then we headed to the spa! Our flight was not until 2:40am and it was about 7:30pm at this point, so we had plenty of time to kill. We got two hour long massages - I got a 30 minute body scrub (rice aroma) and a 90 minute hot oil massage. It was expensive, but omg was it heaven; I even got to take another quick shower. Then we went down for dinner. We each ordered a delicious salad (mine was blue cheese, pear, walnut) followed by a thin crust margarita pizza. Yum. Then it was time to check in. We'd been hoping
Business ClassBusiness ClassBusiness Class

Emirates 777
for the last 24 hours to get bumped to Business Class as we were both silver members and Jamie usually gets bumped on this flight, but that is usually on a weekend. So we checked in and the guy told us that the flight was full, but there were still some aisle seats left. Bummer. But oh wait a minute… Why is he taking so long. Jamie asked, "What's going on back there?" in a friendly voice and he said he managed to get us both upgraded. Yes!!! We both wanted to hug him!!!

So we waited for our flight, watching the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders shows I had downloaded and then happily took our seats, next to each other no less. Jamie fell immediately to sleep. I ordered a glass of wine just after take off, but was out before it came. lol. I woke up for a continental breakfast and saved Jamie a yogurt and we were in Dubai before we knew it. Then it was time to say goodbye. It's like the end of an era. We have been on many trips together, but I was always in Dubai at some point. But now, I'm leaving and she is too. It will probably be November before I see her again, but we know we travel well together so I'm sure there will be many more trips to come. Until then...

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