Rain, rain, come and play!

Trip Start Jun 26, 2013
Trip End Jul 24, 2013

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Flag of Thailand  , Surat Thani,
Saturday, July 13, 2013

It is a rainy day here in Thailand, one that Joe and I are thoroughly enjoying. I write from the covered deck of our treehouse bungalow, relaxing in the comfy chair as I listen to the music of the rain and the intermittent call of various birds and cicadas. It is the first rainy day we have had-- before this it rained some in the afternoons, but usually was brief. Joe is here too; he has his binoculars in hand, watching to see what happens by. We are set high enough on this steep drive to see the tops of the trees in front of us, getting the chance to see some birds we might not see from ground level.

We arrived here yesterday afternoon, following a scenic drive from the Sirat Thani airport in our rented car. We decided to take a break from buses and taxes, wanting the freedom a car provides. We are now in charge of our own destiny-- not dependent on a bus schedule or someone telling us when we have reached our stop. This is fabulous! Navigation has been pretty smooth so far-- the important signs have been in English and Thai so we are not totally clueless. As is our habit, we stopped frequently to take pictures and look for birds. The landscape is fantastic, with steep rocky peaks stabbing the sky in all directions. Add to that palm trees, dense bamboo forest, winding rivers and there is much of interest to look at.

Our temporary home here is called Las Orquideas and is among the nicest places we have stayed yet. There are lovely flowers everywhere and the room itself is tastefully done with stone tile and natural rocks in the bathroom and little touches here and there that take it a notch above ordinary.The owners, Sisco and Née are super nice and have offered wonderful advice about what we should do and not do during our time here. They are the perfect hosts.

This morning we got up at 5:30 and got to Khao Sok National Park before 6. Having spent several hours there yesterday getting familiar with it, we hoped to see some interesting animals, or at the very least, some of the fabulous birds we know live here. We saw some bats flitting around as we crossed the bridge and heard monkeys in the treetops. We spotted a GIANT spider in the biggest web I have ever seen-- the size of a small car. Seems like there might be the famous"bird eating" spiders i have heard about. It is easy to imagine that a bird might get caught in their sticky traps. Imagine accidentally walking into that! Would probably give someone a heart attack. Our walk was nice, but disappointing in our lack of great bird sightings. This jungle is dense with the trees reaching high into the sky, making looking at birds through binoculars very challenging. When we are lucky enough to see movement, we seldom have enough time to focus.

Though the park is huge and has many notable birds and animals, most of it is inaccessible, with no roads through it. We are in the western end, where there is one trail that goes into it for about 8 km. The other side of the park has a lake called Chiaw Lan. This was created in 1982 by an enormous dam. The lake is supposed to be very beautiful with many unique rock formations. We will try to go there tomorrow and hire a long boat to take us on a ride.

During our walk yesterday we watched a troop of monkeys for quite a while, first grooming each other and then playing on the bamboo. What fun it was to stand quietly, watching them go about their business. I am sure they knew I was there, but did not seem to alter their behavior in the slightest. Until the very end I was there alone as Joe had gone ahead searching for birds. Then a couple joined me in photographing them, as amused as I was when one of the monkeys broke a piece of bamboo and went crashing to the ground. Things ended badly for them though when the woman suddenly looked horrified and exclaimed she'd been pooped on! Joe and I learned of this tendency ( for some monkeys to seemingly try to poop on people beneath them!) when we were in Costa Rica. Thus, I was careful not to step beneath the monkeys at any time. Lucky for her, Joe showed up then and being the prepared boy scout, offered her some clean toilet paper to wipe off the smelly mess.

...the rain continues, harder now, a steady sound that is soothing. I like to watch the drops falling from the roof edges, two perfect rows of cascading water. Joe has donned his rain coat and disappeared into the forest, likely searching for birds, or wandering through the gardens, trying to find lovely things to photograph in the downpour. As for me, I am content to sit. It is wonderful to relax and enjoy the here and now. I am happy for the rain. I have a new book and no where to be. Perfect!
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Lisa on

Remarkable pictures and lots of diversity to show off! ;) I love the car you had for this part of the trip, too! Save those elephants, indeed. :)

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