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Published: February 16th 2007
So at a dark 6am we walked through Khao San Road to meet Ahnon and get the minibus to the village. Although its relatively quiet at that time, there were still groups of people sat drinking from the night before...either that or they were having a bleery eyed bottle of Chang beer for breakfast. We met Ahnon and the driver (who might be called Jai) and Ahnon's friend Kop (who is an artist and does amazing pictures of the langurs) and all piled into the minibus down to Baan Khung Thanod village, in Prachup Khiri Khan province, just South of Hua Hin (look at your maps).
We got to the village at about midday and had a look around the place were we will eventually spend all of our time. Ahnon has set up the Dusky Langur Conservation Community Centre in the village, with lots of support from the local community. There are noticeboards telling people about the langurs at the centre and around the village. We had thought that to see the langurs we would have to go out of the village, to the National Park or something, but as we walked around the village we
heard a russling in the trees. Ahnon pointed upwards at some bushes running up a rock face, and there were some langurs! We were litterally 20 meters from the centre. It doesnt seem properly advertised that you can see langurs at such close range in the village - there's something we will have to change when we start work.
The village is two roads between two rocky outcrops in the bay, one road running along the seafront and the other parallel behind it. At the far end is the entrance to Sai cave up a 280m track. There are lots of fishing boats in the bay and people picking shrimp and crabs out of nets on the front. There are two restaurants and a couple of small shops.
We spent the weekend down at the village and stayed in one of the local guesthouses. It must have recently been built because there was still plastic on the mattress and the plug sockets! They have done a lovely job, we had a little room that looked onto a platformed area with a kitchen and fridge and tv, and a bathroom with western style toilet and shower.
Thailand Super Chef
is Mr Jai!"
On the Friday night we met one of Ahnon's friends in the village, Mr Jai. He is a young shrimp farmer with long hair who only knows a few words of English but strangly we seemed to be able to understand. He calls himself "Thailand's Super Chef" and just to prove it, cooked us a huge meal. As this is a fishing village there was a big seafood element to the meal. He fried up some shrimp, but they eat them whole, shells and all, its abit like a big crisp. Its not surprising really I guess since they happily eat whole insects as well. He also cooked little tiny crabs the same way, to eat whole. They were surprisingly nice, so long as the legs didnt get stuck in your teeth. He also bbq'd pieces of squid and made Thai omelette and a variety of other dishes that we washed down with plenty of Chang beer, sat on a picnic bench on the seafront, watching the sunset. Its a life we think we might get used to! Kris:
It was slightly surreal at one point. Mr Jai had brought along his DVD player and hooked
up some speakers outside so we could have music. After being innundated with Thai love ballads most of the evening I eventually felt it wouldn't be rude to get my CDs out. So there we were, sat on the seafront of a remote Thai fishing village where no one speaks English, listening to Eagles Of Death Metal blasting out of Mr. Jai's sound system. He did some odd dancing so I guess he liked it. In fact, at the end of the evening, he packed up his DVD player and ran off back to his shrimp farm before I remembered to take the CD out. So now he is the proud owner of an Eagles of Death Metal CD. I like to imagine him now, farming shrimp in the middle of nowhere with music blasting out of his stereo....
Getting the next generation involved Kate:
Part of the reason for visiting the village this weekend, apart from introducing me and Kris to it, was to meet some students who want to raise money for the project. Students from Patana International School in Bangkok were visiting the area doing their Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award hike, and left from the
village on Saturday morning. They had brought one of the silver Duke of Edinburgh groups with them who wanted to do fundraising for the dusky langur conservation community centre as the service part of their award. Caroline, Anis, Trevor and Kin came to talk to us about their ideas on Saturday morning. They had met Ahnon during their bronze expedition and he had inspired them to help with the project. On Sunday we took them out to Ko Lammuk airbase to see some langurs close up. At Ko Lammuk visitors have been feeding the langurs for years and they are very habituated to humans. It was cool to see them so close and we got some great pictures.
After feeding the langurs we went to the resort the students were staying in to meet some of the other students and teachers and, most importantly, eat some of the birthday cake that was on offer due to three students birthdays being over the weekend. After this is was time to pile back in the minibus and drive back to Pattaya. We had to go back there to do some work we need the internet and computers for, and to prepare
Kris trying to learn the tricks
its alot hearder than it looks, he kept hitting himself in painful places.
for our longer stay in the village. When we go next Ahnon has to stay in Pattaya and work for Ecoexplorer so we will be on our own. Kop is coming with us to do the Thai speaking, so that should make it alittle easier, but we need to make sure we have everything we need before we start working in the village for real.
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