May 1 – 9 (or so), 2012

So, bidding a fond see ya later to Ko Phanghan (because I’ll never be able to say goodbye forever to bottle beach) we headed down to Krabi, an early morning ferry and then a bus ride which I slept through most of (typical for me). Arrived in Krabi in the early afternoon, had some lunch and then I headed off to find a Doctor as those bites were not looking good. I found the clinic right next to a small Buddhist temple so I signed up for an appointment and then wandered through the temple area while I waited.

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Got in to see the Doctor and he promptly informed me that I’d probably had an allergic reaction and that the bites were infected but “don’t worry, don‘t worry” he’d seen it before (probably sand flies/fleas) and I’d be fixed up in no time. He prescribed me a cream to help with the itchiness and a  course of antibiotics (five (five!) pills twice a day for five days). God knows what they were but it did actually work and I am fine now with only a very small scar where the worst bite was which I am sure will fade fairly quickly. I spent the rest of that day wandering around the town (central food market, big park etc.) and then met up with the others back at our hotel in time to head out for dinner.

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We went down to the waterfront for a street food extravaganza. Massive selection of yummy things to eat and we all pigged out. The highlight for me was a crepe made fresh in front of me and sprinkled with lime and sugar, so delicate and delicious I wanted 10 more but keep myself under control and savored just the one. I liked Krabi, it was the furthest south I had been so far in Thailand and I started to see the first signs of Muslim culture, some women in headscarves, and a few mosques. This is the land of fantastic limestone karsts and cliffs, some rising straight up out of the water, stalagmites and stalactites, really stunning scenery which for some reason I neglected to photograph. 😦

The guys were getting itchy to climb so the next morning we left Krabi for the short longtail boat ride to Railay and then on to neighboring Ton Sai Beach. The boys found a way to climb a (treacherous) path over the headland between the beaches but I wasn’t even going to attempt it with my pack on and bad knees so I decided to pay for a longtail to take me around, Brit and Kyla decided to join me. We hummed and hawed about the price for a bit and then made the decision to go just as a downpour hit. For the 10 minutes it took us to get around the headland in wave tossed seas it continued to dump down, we arrived on the beach pretty wet and ran for shelter, only to have the rain stop about 2 minutes later. We found accommodation (pretty slim choices) and then headed onto the beach for some bouldering in an overhanging area that had remained dry. I went along to watch and was fascinated by a Thai guy who climbed in his bare feet! He was really good, and offered good beta (advice) to the boys. I wasn’t feeling super keen about the area, there was lots of rain in the forecast, tons of mosquitoes, I couldn’t have drinks because of the antibiotics and I didn’t really have much that I could do there as it was so climbing focused, so the next day I headed off to a nearby town, Ao Nang. Turned out to be VERY touristy so I didn’t do too much there except wander around, internet and read. No mosquitoes though and a lovely clean bathroom. It’s good to have a little “luxury” down time now and again, especially when traveling with a bunch of other people.

The next day everyone turned up again and we decided to head up to Khao Sok National Park the day after. It was kind of a backwards step in geography going north but an opportunity to potentially do some trekking and see some rivers and waterfalls. In my honest opinion I think it was a waste of time and money. The river was somewhat pretty but the waterfalls were mere bumps in the river, more like rapids really, and the hike itself was leech infested. My first experience with leeches and not something I would care to repeat without proper boots and pants on. We walked about a kilometer before we noticed them, from then on it was constant vigilance and I could no longer enjoy the hike. We got about 2-1/2 kms in and turned off towards a river, I didn’t want to sit and rest as I could see the ground literally crawling with leeches, I couldn’t even stand still and decided I’d had enough, I wasn’t enjoying this at all. I left everyone there and headed back. Honestly I went as fast as I could, running at points, on tip toe up hills, basically doing my best to never let my feet touch the ground for more than a split second. I imagined my shoes to be full of leeches, and constantly checked my legs, so miserable. I finally made it off the trail, in very speedy time I might add, and back at the park headquarters I stripped of my shoes and socks and was surprised to discover….nothing. It was all in my head, I felt kind of stupid then but at the same time so very relived! I scooted home for a very thorough shower and my involuntary shivers of disgust finally stopped.

On a personal note, I’m finding traveling with this group a little difficult as there’s not a lot of communication going on about what’s planned next, we don’t seem to work as a team very well. In the past when I have traveled in groups everyone is very courteous of the others, if someone needs to stop for a pee everyone waits or attempts to find a bathroom for the person in need, everyone tries to eat at the same time so they can be together and at the same place usually by mutual agreements. Basically we keep track of each other and pace ourselves as one unit, there is an effort made to keep the others in sight in a crowded area, if ones person stops to look at something the others notice and either stop or slow their pace to keep the others included. When finding a hotel everyone works together to get the best price and then makes the decision together about whether they think it’s a good place to stay. Maybe it’s because they are 2 couples but I’m feeling really left out much of the time. Often it’s as if I don’t really even exist as part of the planning and decision making process, and quite frankly it’s becoming hurtful. I know from past experience I am not difficult to travel with, I can go with the flow very easily but in this case I feel uncomfortable, uneasy and unheard. I’m not really sure how to go about addressing this issue except that it’s likely I will head off on my own soon. I’m saddened by this as I had thought it would be great traveling with these guys, with people from home, but it hasn’t really been so great for me I am sorry to say. We’re all headed in the same direction so I’m sure we’ll run into each other again, I hope that when that happens a little more consideration for others will be shown.

Headed back in a southerly direction next, the plan is to move onwards to Trang the next morning……

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