Rock and roll

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Flag of Thailand  ,
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Trang was a nice little Thai town, but there was nothing to do, so I went ahead and caught a bus to Krabi that same morning I got in on the train. To get to the bus, though, I had to find the station and, tired of wandering about, I overcame my distaste for the motorcycles that dart everywhere and hired one to get there. While not as crazy as riding one in Bangkok, there was still plenty of swerving and weaving in and out of traffic. It was actually pretty fun, and quick and cheap to boot. The bus ride was uneventful, and after rolling into Krabi, I checked into a guesthouse, finally mailed the gifts I had bought (I shipped by sea; they're going to take three months to get there), traded in a couple books at a bookstore for another and ate dinner. I went to bed and woke up to the best day of my trip so far.

Krabi doesn't really have anything great to speak of itself, but it's a good jumping-off point for several places that do, so I took a boat to Railay, a place with good beaches and, what I was interested in, excellent rock climbing. The boat ride itself was eventful. I met a girl on the boat (I believe her name was Elise Norton; I could hardly hear over the engine and the surf) who was actually from Little Rock, Arkansas, USA. She was the first American I've met on this trip, and what do you know: we were from the same place. She was living in New Zealand now after a one-year trip there turned permanent, and she knew several people from my high school and college that I knew at least by name. The ride turned even more interesting when the boat's steering wheel broke. Yep. The guy driving had to hang off the back of the boat and steer by turning the motor by hand. We made it all right, however.

I set off with Matt, a guy from Leeds in the UK I met on the boat who was interested in climbing as well, and we quickly found a suitable climbing establishment. It was only 700 baht for four hours of climbing, which included all the gear, a guide and water. Not too shabby. We had a great time scaling some limestone cliffs, and the guide was helpful and funny, giving us tips on grips we hadn't seen or shouting encouragement like, "Do it for humanity!". By the end, I was dead tired and had two nasty callouses that had already rubbed off on my right hand. We decided to wander toward the beach suitable for swimming at West Hat Rai Leh while waiting for the next boat back to Krabi (the one ships came too at East Hat Rai Leh was dirty and brown), and on the way saw a sign showing the direction for a lagoon that seemed to point directly at a wall in the mountain. Intrigued, we looked closer and saw a rope leading up a climbable path sort of thing. We had to go, of course, and set off onward and upward. It was a mistake, but an enjoyable one.

The climb was almost torturous since I was literally at the end of my strength from the rock climbing, but we finally made it to the "lagoon". It left something to be desired: there was no water. It was sort of cool anyway. When we got back down, we sat down to rest in a little shack thing nearby and struck up a conversation with a couple of Australians, who told us about their travels. I had a sort of global moment then: I was sitting pretty much in a jungle next to a mountain near a beach in Thailand talking with two Australians and a Brit. It was enjoyable, but we eventually had to leave to catch the boat back to Krabi.

The boat people said that because it was low tide and windy, they couldn't take us all the way to Krabi, but they could take us to a pier for 60 baht where we could catch a taxi for another 60, and we foolishly believed them. We sat off with a group of people down the muddy concrete walkway across the beach to where the tide had receded and we then had to wade about 10 feet to get to the boat. To top it off, we saw a jellyfish between us and the boat that sank out of sight right when we began to wade. It made us nervous, but everyone made it to the boat without being stung, and we sat off.

 The ride was fine, but when we got near the pier they stopped the boat, seemingly in mid-ocean, and told us to get out. It turned out it was shallow (too shallow for the boat, apparently), but we had to wade at least 100 meters to get to the pier. We climbed out of the ocean up slimy steps to be met by grinning taxi drivers who wanted to charge us 400 baht to get to Krabi. We just walked away in disgust and hiked into the town, which was in the middle of no where half-way between Railay and Krabi. We asked in town about a taxi and were told a bus would be coming by where we were in 10 minutes that would take us to Krabi for 50 baht. The "bus" turned out to be a mini pickup truck with seats down the sides in the covered bed, which was fine with me. It actually took us the opposite direction for a while, picking up and dropping off Thais all the way to Ao Nang, a beach town farther away than Railay, before turning for Krabi. It worked out, though, because it dropped me literally in front of my guesthouse for 60 baht. It was about 6 p.m., and Matt and I wents to clean up and rest before meeting at 8 to eat.

We went with Marcus, a guy from Germany Matt had met the other day, to a street restaurant that served authentic Thai curry. I had some but didn't really like it, though I ate it. Afterwards we sat around talking for a while before parting ways and going to sleep.
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