As the East coast of the United States gets ready to hear the words, “Live from New York, It’s Saturday Night!” I’m sitting at gate three at the Krabi, Thailand airport next to Andy and across from Ken. A good deal of the rest of our party is here minus Andrea, Meghan, Miller, Lauren and Rosario. This is more or less ends the group relaxation portion of our vacation. It’s the point of dispersion where a few of us will split up into smaller groups or carry on as individuals into new unexplored arenas for adventure…but first that road goes back through Bangkok.
In spite of us going our separate ways, we haven’t been led to do so by conflict or unpleasantness, merely by previous planning. In actuality, the last few days after New Year‘s have been both delightful and relaxing.
The entirety of the 2nd (friday) bore an almost uncanny resemblance to the previous day in that it didn’t consist of much feverish activity. The only main difference being that I wasn’t hung over. It also made my outlook much sunnier. I was also surrounded by more friendly faces, unlike the previous day as no one was on a snorkeling trip. We all sat in the covered boat lounger by the beach bar at Relax Bay for a good deal of the morning.
Lounging By The Ocean
For lunch, myself, Kavalyn, Jason, Morwin and Andy went to the road to continue our never-ending tour of authentic Thai food. The place we went to was across the street from the Relax Bay entrance and had a rickety bamboo plank at the entrance. The spot, though appearing somewhat unsanitary and being entirely fly-ridden was one of the best culinary finds on the trip so far. My Phad Gai Praow was extremely spicy and Kayvalyn ordered a soup that ended up being too spicy even for her Thai tongue.
That's One Spicy Soup!
When our taste bud adventure ended we headed towards the Seven-Eleven to hit the ATM and while standing outside we happened upon a motorcycle with a rabbit in its basket. The rabbit had demonic eyes that would seem to suggest that it might have once guarded the Holy Grail and attempted to protect it from Arthur, King of The Britons or Graham Chapman and John Cleese.
The Demon Rabbit On The Motorcycle
Once our wallets were filled we walked back towards Relax Bay but were intercepted by Jason’s parents who had just returned from a kayaking-cave exploring adventure. Agreeing that this sounded like a fun activity, we discussed booking a similar tour with a company down the road. After going over our options with the manager we were more or less had our hearts set on this soft adventure , but when we returned to the beach it turned out Andrea had already booked a different kayak trip.
That got straightened out rather quickly out of the reach of my less than watchful eyes. The rest of the day was spent lounging around until dinnertime…when it unceremoniously began to rain.
Andrea Shows Off An Impressive Array of Shells
Ken and I ran back to our room to take quick showers and were followed by a black beach dog we had encountered earlier in the day after the canine’s conflict with three other beach dogs spilled into our shady space. Andy gave said dog the uncomplicated moniker of “happy dog”, whereas for the duration of the time I referred to the other dogs involved as “Mean Dog” or by varying number’s (i.e., Beach Dog #12, Beach Dog #38).
Miller Amidst His Dog Friends
When we left our room after the showers, Happy dog was still waiting outside our door and followed us back to the beach bar where we were meeting up for dinner.
The original plan was to all get dinner together, but it began to rain harder and several of us soured on the idea of leaving the premises, especially if a lengthy wet walk was involved.
Lauren and Rosario sat down to eat at the resort restaurant; Ken Judy, Justin, Ruthie, and I followed suit at our own table, and from there the newlyweds chose to have their own private dinner at the very same restaurant, while the rest chose to eat at a creatively named restaurant on the road called simply “Thai Cuisine.”
Despite not venturing out for dinner I went for my own form of culinary adventure. I ordered the Hawaiian pizza. I know Thailand isn’t the place to experiment with such a distinctly New York delicacy, but I had never really understood the combination of Ham and Pineapple on pizza before. However, since I’d been enjoying the two ingredients separately during most breakfasts on this trip, I figured it made sense to combine them…on a pizza. And you know what? It was delicious. For dessert our group split 2 flambéd Bananas Foster with Vanilla Ice cream that was absolutely delicious.
From there Ken and I went back to Ruthie’s cabana to drink a few beers on the balcony until everyone got home. Then we took in one more brew on the beach before bedtime. It was only 11pm, but getting drunk would’ve been a bad idea with an entire day of kayaking and soft adventure (as the brochure referred to it) ahead of us.
The next morning I awoke at 7:30am ready to take on the high seas with some dual sided oar action. I really enjoy kayaking, but I had not been since July of 2001, when I paddled along the Coast of Corfu. Jason, Kayvalyn, Andy, Jeff, Ken, Eric, Morwin, Mena, Justin, Meghan, Andrea, and I all hopped in the back of a truck and were transported to the dock for our day activity. Along the way we saw a few elephants and Jeff lost his hat as we sped down the road.
Once we made it to the location we crossed over a rickety bridge that reminded me of Indiana Jones and The Temple of Doom, despite not involving any rope. The dock to the longboat we took was on a steep incline and also seemed none too stable.
The Rickety Bridge
The lot of us split up on two longboats and raced out to meet another that was towing our kayaks, but before doing so we stopped to feed some monkeys in the Mangrove Forest.
Normally, I’m not for feeding monkeys in the wild. I don’t like giving handouts for mother nature’s needy, but I was having a great time tossing them bits of pineapple as I did my best Eli Manning impression yelling at my simian receivers to run button hooks, post patterns or simply go long. They would have to fight hard for the pineapple if you didn’t hit them directly, so I tried to be as accurate as possible. I had one of the monkeys wide open behind all his other primate buddies on higher ground and whipped that sweet fruit in his direction hitting him right in the numbers. Unfortunately, he dropped it. Other than that, I was very precise in my passes.
After the monkey meal our boat took us out to a beautiful island of limestone cliffs for us to kayak around. Morwin and I paired up in a boat. I sat in the back to steer and generally take charge because he had never ridden a kayak before and I was more than enthusiastic to do so. Kayaks had always been my favorite vessel for water-based transportation in my time at summer camp. Morwin on the other hand had brought a New Yorker with him to read during the ride, though he only stopped to read it when prompted to do so for photo opportunities. Morwin indulging in the New Yorker has been his modus operandi throughout the entire trip. There is a collection of photos of him at sea or in the sea reading. It was kind of amusing and could make for a fun photo essay.
Morwin At Sea
Kayaking felt like a great workout, but after our first stretch we took a breather, stopping for a swim at an awe inspiring inlet surrounded by lush mountains and steep precipices. From there it was more rowing around the island including one incident where my semi-errant steering almost slammed Morwin into some rocks up front, but in my defense, he was rowing so sporadically that sometimes my steering would be brought slightly off-course when he decided to dip his paddle into the water.
All in all there wasn’t as much kayaking as i had hoped for but it was still great fun. We pulled into a cavern and i posed in front of a big stalagtite (mite) and our final leg took us to part of the island where we ditched the kayaks for our longboats, but not before seeing a mass of bats in flight in the sky high above our heads.
Me In A Cave
The longboats then steered us to beautiful Bu Bu Island for a traditional Thai lunch, which I think was Pad Thai, a curry dish and some fresh fruit.
Welcome to Bu Bu Island!
We hung around the Island another hour or so exploring the wilderness to a small extent and peeing in the sea since the bathroom on land would have cost money and most of us had not brought any with us.
Kayvalyn Takes In The Sights on Bu Bu Island
At around 2:10 pm we hopped back in our longboats making back for the docks where our journey began. The view was beautiful, but the ocean spray tasted nothing like the combination Cranberry and Grape juice.
We made one last unplanned stop in the Mangrove Forest as our driver and the boy in front wearing a shirt that read “Maleeehuanna” saw some monkeys congregating and pulled the boat right up in front of them.
The monkeys, eager to be fed approached the boat with curiosity. We only had one watermelon or two that we had been given upon our arrival. One more than aggressive fellow actually jumped on the boat. This may have been cute with any of the other chimps, but this particular one was sporting an open wound with flies feasting on it.
There he sat probably two feet from myself, Andrea, Meghan, Lauren and Rosario in essence demanding some food while the majority of us cowered in fear of our evolutionary ancestor. Andrea held firm trying to instruct him to get off the boat but to no avail. I wasn’t about to get involved. I’ve seen the movie Outbreak. Therefore I know that’s how global pandemics get started. It only takes one infected monkey to spread an ebola-like virus and only Dustin Hoffman faced with Rene Russo on her deathbed is capable of finding that antidote.
Luckily we tossed the remaining watermelon up to the driver and he cracked it open to satisfy the population of ravenous mammals. A few of the animals scooped up and fought over the hastily halved fruit, but the diseased specimen didn’t quite get enough and spent some more time trying to appeal to the more charitable side of our boat’s patrons with no success.
After a prolonged encounter our driver saw fit to push off from land and get rid of our afflicted furry friend. Moments later we found ourselves at a dock near the one from which we had launched, only it wasn’t the incline that was daunting this time. On this occasion the walkway was not connected to the dock and in order to get to it you had to balance yourself on a thin beam suspended over a mud pit. I was a little nervous seeing as I was wearing flip-flops, but with a little assistance I was golden.
Following the kayak trip we all returned to the hotel and resolved to have one last dinner before everyone took off for different destinations today. We went back to Thai Cuisine, where the majority of people went the evening before. This time we were lacking Judy, Jen, and Justin.
Authentic "Thai Cuisine"
Kayvalyn arranged the entire menu after a brief conversation with the chef and we ate like kings and queens of Koh Lanta for one last evening. When the dinner was over some folks went out on Long Beach while others called it a night. With travel being a certainty early the next morning, I went back to the resort and had ice cream with Ken and Eric and the lights went down on our tropical fun. On to Siem Reap!