My computer is currently off being repaired so I had to steal myself some time on E's computer while she was at work and mess around with some pictures -- yes! More Thailand pictures!
Lonely Beach. Most of the beach is sandy but this end is where all the various debris from the sea gather. We experienced some very windy days where all kinds of neat stuff had washed up on the beach (and lots of not so neat stuff; plastic bottles, etc.) And yes, that's me down in the corner.
Spent the first few nights in this bungalow (after one night spent in Bangkok - terrible place!). We had to walk about 200 meters through trees and mud (and complete darkness at night) to get to it. The mud was very sticky; it was almost like walking through glue, and it stuck to everything. I'm sure I'll still find mud from those walks back and forth months from now!
It was at a farm somewhere in west Thailand (Shanti Farm). They produced most of the food they served themselves and it was absolutely delicious.
The trail and river was separated into levels where you could swim. This is the third level - the last one before the trail really began and there were no more food-stands, restrooms, etc. We went swimming there. The water wasn't that cold though definitely fresh. However, if you had trouble getting under the rocks were very slippery and there were these helpful fellows to help on along:
They eat dead skin. If you kept still for too long they'd come nibble at your feet.
Little fishes attacking my feet.
Most of the trail looked like this. Sometimes a lot steeper and definite climbing was involved. Occasionally a bit of running water to jump. Sometimes fallen tress to climb over, and lots and lots of tangled tree roots sticking out of the ground to traverse. It was raining none-stop from the time we left level three; we got soaked through and it was quite slippery to hike. I think the trail was about 1.5 km long but I'm not sure. It was advertised as less but there were sign posts along the way (as in "200 meters to level 5") and they added up to around there.
If the terrain was particularly uncooperative there were helpful stairs to walk up...
Wah! We made it!
Khlong Phlu waterfall
The river was very pretty. This waterfall is on Koh Chang, where we spent most of our time.
Most of that trail looked like this with only the rare rocky slope to navigate and was only a third of the length of Erawan. Piece of cake! Along this route there were neat sign posts that explained trees, soil, river conditions, jungle preservation, and so on. On many of the tress along the way was a little sign with the name of the kind of tree it was. Very neat!
At the bottom was a large pool with a gazillion people swimming in it. We went swimming there too. That was amazing! It was a hot day (note the sunshine!) and the water was clear and cool.
Also this sign. We did not take any rocks.
Lots of elephants are out of work in Thailand after being replaced by modern machinery. These have retired to carry tourists (like me) around. I'm always a bit icky about this kind of stuff but this place seemed okay - the elephants seemed quite happy and healthy. We did see some places where they didn't look so good. Our elephant is currently eating a small banana palm tree it had just ripped up (after being very dissatisfied by witnessing my brother in law’s elephant being given a banana palm tree to eat. There was instant envy, quite plain!)
Part of this elephant ride included a swim (and a cool off) with them. Elephants - even these small Thai ones - are really big up close! The water in this pool was the clearest water I have ever seen. It was beautiful!
Heh heh heh.
You can't tell but the butterflies were HUGE. When they flew they looked more like bats than butterflies; they had a lot of weight to carry around.
Thankfully this (dead) scorpion was the only one we saw.
Gecko (a bit blurry). These were everywhere on the walls eating insects. They weren't very big. At night they'd make the most bizarre sound. There were some brown lizards around too and these really big yellow-greenish ones, about a foot long.
There were four dogs at my brother's place. Two of his own and two belonging to his staff (there are dogs everywhere!) This is Mowgli. He was ill, had some skin infection and was wearing a cone for the first weeks we were there. He didn't smell very good. But he was adorable. He kind of adopted us because we were the only ones who didn't chase his smelly self away all the time and allowed him to sleep near us. He got better and better and it was delightful to witness him perk up and start playing again.
Boak (which apparently mean wood worm). A chihuahua. She was very cute. Quite the boss of the other dogs. She wasn't that yappity though she would go bark (or what you will) with the rest of them; especially passing scooters at night seemed to offend the dogs.
Svuptivup. She was a very sweet dog (always with the paw!) but very very stupid..
Crappy photo of Fido. He was a darling - when he wasn't chasing after the neighbour's dog who was in heat. There was about a week's worth of serious dog fights when all the male dogs in the neighbourhood wanted in on the action.
I didn't do much on my trip. Didn't go that many places. It was very calm and relaxing at my brother's place. Not many people around (though quite enough for me; I wouldn't want to go during the high season. Sounds like a nightmare.)
Most of my evenings were spent like this:
I did not drink that much; the bar was just the place to be in the evenings. We played a lot of pool and cards and dice, and listened to a lot of music. Spoke with my brother (on the left) who'd usually sit there at night and talk to whomever dropped by.
One good thing (among many!) is that Thailand got me reading again. Endless days lounging about will do that. I haven't read since - well, since I wrote here last winter complaining that I wasn't reading so it was really nice to get started again. Just finished my second book (since I got back) yesterday. I just started reading War and Peace - though I'm not sure if I'm overdoing this reading deal by trying that!