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Published: January 4th 2013
Festival season, as it is known here, is in full swing and much to Dean's disgust we have had to book ahead. Lots of places are fully booked and we have found ourselves staying in a seafood restaurant on this island in the Trang archipelago. Upon arriving, we were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful scenery and clear waters. It's certainly no party island, although new year's eve provided Dean with an opportunity to have a bit of fun.
The weather forecast predicted rain and thunderstorms for this area during the four days. The first three days were pretty cloudy, wet and not ideal, although there were breaks where Dean and Eleanor went snorkelling and were able to see some tropical fish. The wind made the water quite choppy for most of our stay, so snorkelling opportunities were limited. Other wildlife to be spotted on this island are hornbills and crabs. Like Koh Jum, the little crabs scuttle about on the sand and disappear into their holes as we approach. I'm not sure if everybody out there knows, but I hate crabs. I don't like all their legs moving along clickety clackety, darting about sideways very quickly. On one morning stroll,
Dean and I spotted heaps of larger crabs peeping out of their holes or half in, half out. I was hyperventilating, basically. The idea that they could scuttle near me was enough to have me screeching down the beach (providing some entertainment for the waiters at a nearby restaurant). Dean wasn't impressed by my theatrics, so I had to soldier on, further into Crab World. At one point we watched a dog dig one out, chase it for a bit and then fling it carelessly away, apparently having enough fun for the morning. The dog trotted off and the crab remained upside down and quite still. Whether it was playing dead or was dead, I didn't stay to find out. I decided to cut the walk short and rapidly headed back, not wanting to see if the crab had any friends.
Because the weather wasn't so great, we spent a great deal of time playing cards. Chinese Dragon has been usurped by 'idiot'. Learning this game on Koh Jum has provided us with many an hour being passed happily. Windy conditions often meant some of the games were abandoned or were interrupted to chase after cards that had blown
Outside the bungalows
Wishful thinking - they looked much better than our accommodation in the bunker.
away. There's a nine of diamonds somewhere floating about out there which is sorely missed. After about a million games, Eleanor's amazing winning streak was broken.
We did venture out to a few of the neighbouring restaurants. The best food was at the camping ground where a BBQ corner served a variety of both European and Thai options. Unfortunately, it was a little disorganised, so we only ventured there once. We didn't mind the long wait but diners around us were threatening mutiny so it doesn't make for a pleasant dining experience, even though the setting was wonderful; tables and chairs on the beach as the sun set.
New Year's Eve was full of fireworks (mainly further down from us and across on the mainland), Thai dancing, a Thai band playing some interesting tunes and, for Eleanor and I, a little bit of snoozing. We cheated and went to bed at 9:30 and woke up again at 11:30. Dean stayed the distance, enjoying making new friends with Monica and George from Switzerland. Meeting them has piqued Dean's interest in travelling through Europe. Where once before he declared Europe to be 'too far, too expensive and too (insert excuse),
he has finally realised that maybe some places in Europe would be worth visiting. Even if it was just to visit his new friends. He lost his thongs sometime during the night and we were unable to locate them the next morning. Not great, considering I had just finished reading the section in Lonely Planet on all the diseases we could catch. Hookworm on Thai beaches is one of them!
Anyway, that's how Dean crossed the border into Malaysia barefoot. With potential hookworm. We had taken a speedboat from Koh Ngai to Koh Lipe and then another one onto Langkawi. Conditions weren't too bad but it was still fairly bumpy and the rain did get in at times. The worst part of the journey was from Lipe when the driver of the boat kept nodding off. Dean wasn't too concerned because we were in 'open sea', but that's not really a comforting thought. He appeared to be a little more conscious on the approach to Langkawi, but I couldn't wait to set foot on land. Memo to self - pack some Red Bull in future, just to give to sleepy boat drivers.
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