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Published: July 26th 2006
No spell check on this computer, and no time to check-
I forgot to mention in my last blog, and the one before that, that the light switch on the front of the little bungalow I stayed at for a week would shock the hell out of me every time I touched it. I even tried pushing it with my rubber shoe, but the electricity still found a connection. The only way to turn it on or off was to jump off the ground and try to hit it in mid-flight. It took a lot of coordination. Sometimes too much, and plenty of times I would just forget and then recieve a painful reminder. And the computers... even here in Krabi, every computer can shock you. It's these USB ports. I think I've probably been shocked about 40 times so far. I'm building up a tolerance. Anyways...
I'm now in Krabi town, on the other side (western) of Thailand's isthmus. After my last entry, I finally turned around and bought a ticket out of Koh Tao (did I mention the beaches were topless haha). So after a boat to Koh Phangan, boat to Ko Samui, boat to Suratthani, and
bus to Krabi, I finally made it here at about 9 at night. The twelve hour journey cost about $17 😊
I picked a guest house out of the guide book, and was not dissapointed. After a week in my tiny hut with no sink or flush toilet that was literally the length of my matress and only several feed wider, I've been in luxury the last two nights. No bugs. Oh and I bought a comb this morning and combed my hair for the first time in over a month, so that was nice. Most people from my bus here didn't even stay the night in this town- they just got rides out to the surrounding beaches or islands. I decided to give it a chance, and I'm glad I did. I almost don't want to admit it to myself, but I think I enjoy these random towns more than the beaches. It's one of the friendliest places I've been. I've a lot of great local people. Rainy season is just starting on this side of Southern Thailand, but I've seen a lot of sun. There was one short-lived cloud burst yesterday. My hotel is right next to what
I presume is a Thai elementary school. The kids seem to spend most of the day out in the physical education yard. It's closed off, so I can't quite see what's going on, but there is a constant live drum beat to which hundreds of kids chant in unison, and it's all apparantly directed by some guy using an insanely loud PA system. If I didn't know any better, I'd say it sounds like they are raising an army.
I looked up this town in the guide book and it mentioned a jungle wat in the area. Rather than try to take tuk tuks and taxis, I decided to rent another motorbike. This is really the way to go. And this one was only $4 for 24 hours. I stared at the rough map for a few minutes and drove off. I went in the right direction for a while, but eventually became very lost. Finally I saw a little group of monks on motorbikes and, sure enough, followed them right to the wat. This ended up being the best place I've seen this entire trip. This province of Thailand is dominated by massive jungle-covered limestone cliffs. Many of
them are thousands of feet tall. The scenery is much more dramatic and interesting than on the Gulf side, where Koh Tao and Koh Phangan are located. This grounds of this wat are really big; it's practically a small village. The main temple is built into huge caves at the base of a limestone cliff. It's packed full of gold statues of all kinds. There is a big troop (troupe?) of monkeys that roam the area. Joanna would have loved all of the babie monkeys and pigs and turtles and puppies and kittens. On a little side note, the guide book mentioned heading to the back of the wat area to find two staircases. The first one is 1237 steps long, and leads to a shrine at the very top of one of the tallest cliffs in the area. I bought a bottle of water, and began the effort. It was only about 9 am at this point, but still, that is literally the most I have ever sweated in my life. This isn't your typical domestic staircase. In some places, it's literally like a concrete ladder. I was trying to make it up in good time. I had to
take a break every couple hundred stairs. By the time I got to the top, I was drooling and heaving and stumbling. As I hastily took pictures of myself to capture this glorious moment, I heard clapping. There was a German couple already up there that was recovering in the shade. They asked how long it took me. It was about 27 minutes. I didn't know if that was impressive or not, but it took them 80 minutes. But, then were about 40, so I don't know. Luckily, it was definitely worth the effort. I was expecting just a few little statues or something, but there was a huge sitting buddah and 3 other major scupltures. And the views of the ocean and cliffs were great. I spent about an hour up there and then cruised back down the stairs, glancing at all of the poor souls who were struggling to make it up.
I decided to check out the second stairway. It ended up leading on a circular path that went fairly deep into the jungle. The rainforest here really reminded me of Belize, with the massive trees dominating the area. According to the information at the wat, many
of these trees were older than Christianity. Imply what you might. It was a very enjoyable jungle walk filled with the noises of thousands of bugs buzzing and monkeys crashing through the canopy. And huge spider webs positioned perfectly to catch a tourist's face.
This morning I think I will go find a boat to the Railey Beach area, and probably stay there for a few nights. After that, maybe it will be Koh Phi Phi, and then possibly further south to much less-visited areas... we'll see!
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