Broken Bridges and Daily Downpours

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May 30th 2016
Published: May 31st 2016
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Back at it again with these white vans! Seth and I are on the road to Hua Hin. By the time you read this, we will have already arrived. But for now, we are sitting in a van on a 5 hour road trip. We just returned from lunch, which came free with our tickets. Lunch consisted of fried pork ears, sour chicken soup, yellow curry, a plate of limp veggies, another plate of veggies that I couldn't identify, a plate of steamed veggies, watermelon slices, and of course white rice. It was served on a lazy susan and was surprisingly good. While I've never been a particularly picky vegetarian, Thailand has certainly bent those boundaries further. Most broths, including those of vegetable soups, are chicken or pork based. Many foods are simply unidentifiable pastes. And occasionally I order a curry from the vegetarian portion of the menu and find bits of chicken floating in it. Or eggplant, which is a completely separate battle.

Since we last posted, Seth and I have traveled quite a bit. We left Koh Lanta behind, arriving in Ao Nang where we stayed for 4 nights. From there we traveled to Khao Sok National Park and stayed in a beautiful hillside resort for 3 nights. Today we caught a van to Surat Tani, and in a last minute change of plans decided not to stay there but to instead snag an air-con bus up to Hua Hin. Which is where we are now. So I guess I'll back-track and tell you about Ao Nang.

Ao Nang is a beautiful beach destination, known for its limestone cliffs, literally the best rock climbing in the world, temples, hot springs, and as one of the primary filming sites for Mortal Kombat (the original movie). So we were very excited to fully explore the limestone beaches and hidden caverns. Unfortunately, Mother Nature had other ideas in mind. It rained every day we were there. And not a little drizzle that passes by in an hour or so. No, this rain poured every 30 minutes for about 29 minutes at a time. So those plans were shot, and as we already had 4 nights reserved we were stuck there, each day hoping that the next would be nice enough to at least go check out the world famous top-10 beaches-in-the-world Railay beach. But to no avail. We spent the time locked up in our room. I finished a scratchboard I'd been working on for some time (Boy Snake Handler and the Sea Krait), continued to work on a drawing I've been working on since we got to Thailand (which I only just finished last night), and started another addition to my fantasy animal collection, a Tumbling Tokay Assassin (will post when done). Seth has begun writing another story, and with Kelsey's pestering he has agreed to turn it into a web serial! Seth will be posting the first 3 chapters of his story in about a month. He will have to make a wordpress to host it, and will have 3 extra chapters ready to go as a backlog before he starts. But once it is up, Seth will post a chapter once a week. This is the new age way for authors to be established on the web. Ever hear of a little book/movie called The Martian? That was written as a web serial. And last but certainly not least, Seth and I have begun to get serious with looking for housing at Hopkins. We've emailed around 20 different potential roommates. There are a few we are dying to hear from (mostly because they have dogs). Seth has also begun his online job search.. So we'll see if anything comes of our efforts and keep you posted!

Alright, moving on. Wait, before I continue, I just saw a man drive by a motorcycle with 3 gibbons and a toddler. What a world. Okay, so we left Ao Nang in a white van filled to the brim with tourists. A dispute between two angry Germans and a Frenchman resulted in there being no A/C in the back of the bus where I was sitting covered in luggage and seated between two German couples who were also fighting. Passing through gorgeous gorges on a bumpy and windy road (the German woman to my right shouted each time we hit a hole and flew up into the air). It was a long drive. Eventually the van came to a stop in Khao Sok town and we were all told to get out. The bridge over the roaring whitewater river was out, dividing the main road to the national park. If we wanted to get the the national park or stay at one of the hotels near it, we would have to take a bamboo ferry/raft across the river with all our luggage (which by the way is reeaaalllly heavy and we way overpacked). We decided against it and instead stayed at the beautiful Royal Cliffs Resort about 2km away. The place is under construction and new management so the rates were the lowest we could find at 1,200 Baht a night, about 3 times the price of the other places we've been staying. But, wow, was it beautiful. Even as the rain clouds drifted over the mountain tops, and the sky grew gray and dark, it was something to write home about. Our first morning there, our plans of hiking through the park, finding birds and big cats and elephants didn't go so well. So I did some painting, Seth did some writing, and we searched for apartments. Oh ya, and we went whitewater tubing. With all the rain the river was swift, and the jungle was green and loud with a chorus of birds. We had planned to leave the next morning because the weather reports showed no sign of the weather clearing up. But that morning when we woke up the skies were blue and the sun was shining. So, we decided to reschedule our van and go see the park. For the first time in weeks the sun was out and hot, the mosquitos were out and biting like crazy, and we went for a walk without getting soaking wet. At least, not until we got to the visitor center, got our tickets, and walked 200ft into the park. Then it started to pour. But fuck it, we went to see the waterfall anyways. We didn't see any wildlife, because who would be crazy enough to be out and about in that kind of weather. But we did see bamboo hundreds of years old, and vines that looked very much like snakes through our wet glasses... or was it snakes that looked like vines? On our way back we stopped to watch the construction of a temporary bridge. It seemed as though everyone in the town turned out to watch as two dozen men worked in an unorganized swarm. We were glad for the welded together structure, though. Otherwise we would have had to caulk the wagon and float it.

Anyways, thats our story. We are now 5 ½ hours into our 5 hour bus ride. My stomach is really starting to cramp from that lunch we had. Spicy food and hidden portions of meat got my guts growling and stomach reeling. Getting used to that feeling though. Wondering if I should risk trying to use the toilet on the bus. From the smell of it, which drifts up the staircase to our seats, I should probably just wait. And on that note, till next time my loves!

11:03 pm

We arrived in Hua Hin around 6:30 (an hour and a half after I finished writing). We are in a cheap hotel watching a movie starring Jeff Bridges, Kevin Bacon, and that guy who played Deadpool in a Men in Black wannabe movie with the undead with Thai dubbing. We haven't seen much of the city yet, but what we've seen we like, namely food stalls and this one crazy wizard woman who was smoking the biggest joint I've ever seen and holding a frog. It was a pretty good night. The food is about 1/6th the price of Khao Sok, the lobsters are immense and the deepest shade of blue, and the commercials are just unbelievable racist. I mean, there was a commercial for laundry detergent where a hot woman seduced a black repairman, stuffed him into a laundry machine, and he came out Korean. That's how well the laundry detergent cleans. I mean, really. Gosh. Golly. Wow.


We were bored and tried to come up with alliterations for our time in Ao Nang and Koh Sok. Any suggestions for the missing ones?

Angry Ants, Broken Bridges, Bat's Bug Buffet, Crazy-good Curries, Curious Concrete Constructs, Daily Downpours, Elusive Elephants, Friendly Farangs, Gorgeous Gorges, Greedy Gibbons, Happy Hippies, Insistent Insects, Jungle Juices, Kissing Kendall, LL, MM, NN, OO, PP, QQ, Roaming Ripmans, SS, Torrential Tubing, Unwieldy Umbella, VV, WW, XX, YY, ZZ

Additional photos below
Photos: 16, Displayed: 16


Giant Bug! Giant Bug!
Giant Bug!

My camera was still fogged up from the night in A/c, so the picture isn't very clear
National ParkNational Park
National Park

This is as far as we got before the rain hit

1st June 2016

Have rain? Make sun.
You guys are bringing us along on your adventure. Thank you! Love the photo of the guys watching the bridge construction! And love the artwork your Dad's been sharing, especially the more free-form illustrations. Kendall, are you getting enough to eat?? Good luck finding an apartment and roommates in Baltimore!
1st June 2016

I tried looking up that actor guy, no luck. WOW, racist ads indeed...! Was it Korean detergent or something? Making me wonder what's the major trade in/out of Thailand, allies, influences, etc? SO looking forward to the serial! Thanks for the pestering, Kel. Good to know, about The Martian! Best of luck to you on it, Seffy. Started Serial Stuck Scratchboarding Weather watching For the X words:
3rd June 2016

Loving these entries!
Keep them coming, because this is such a great way for us to be there with you. Thanks for the details - and your bests and worsts from the days.

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