Revenge of the McThai and other strangeness.....
1 Dec 2007
|It's been a few days since our last post and we've been keeping busy. The Ton Sai tummy came back to haunt Paul for a couple of days so I put him on a course of cipiro and he's doing much better now. That set our plans back a bit but as we've learned things work out the way they are supposed to.
We spent 2 days just hanging out as Paul recovered and on the third day he was feeling more like himself and pretty restless so we ventured out to the crag. We were going to head back to Railay but decided to check out some of the afternoon options on Ton Sai instead (it's so hot here that you have to time your climbs according to which crag is going to be in the shade). We decided to try to find the "melting wall" (very aptly named as you fell as if you are melting the entire hike up to the wall) which you have to pass by Fire wall (don't you just love these names???), the HUGE spider that was trying to build it's web to block trail access, and the ridiculous climb to the climb up the hillside, on your way to melting wall. Fire wall was pretty busy so we were a little unsure of what the crowd at melting wall was going to be like, but once we arrived we were pleasantly surprised to see that we were the only ones there - and the view was amazing! After playing around on a few routes we heard some rusting and around the corner popped two other folks. We ended up striking up a conversation and discovered Jerry and Lisa were from Tahoe. Paul took a bunch of pics of Jerry and after getting worked on this one really cool but very powerful climb we decided it was time to call it and head down for beers. We went to our favorite spot on the beach for dinner and had a great time getting to know Jerry and Lisa. We also found out that they are newly engaged!! Jerry popped the question on Loy Kratong as they were putting their kratong (the flower floats we told you about in the last post) into the water (VERY romantic - way to go Jerry!!). Lisa told us they were going diving the next day and encouraged us to come along. Lisa is already PADI certified but Jerry is not and neither are Paul and I. We wanted to do the cert before we came here but time and money did not allow - but this was the perfect opportunity to see if we were even cut out for scuba!
That night we went to the computer lab to make a cd (our memory card was finally full) and email the pics we had taken at the crag to Jerry & Lisa. We handed the memory crag to the computer lab man (who we see talking to his internet girlfriend everyday - it's pretty comical!!) and let him burn the CD. Not a good option. As he was trying to move the pictures over he inadvertently EARASED 5 days worth of pics, all random days throughout the trip mostly of the middle part of the trip but also all the pictures we had taken that day! I thought Paul was going to have a coronary and either kill the computer guy or throw a monitor at him! He doesn't get mad often but you DO NOT mess with his pictures. It took a lot of convincing to get him out of the lab but thankfully we have this site and all of the pictures we have already posted.
Paul went with her to check it out and after some confusion in the shop (the poor fellow was new and I think toked a little too hard on his last doobie) we managed to talk the guy into letting us go along (we were booking this at the VERY last minute) and to let us pay for the trip the next morning (there's no ATM on Ton Sai). So we were set for the "Discovery Dive" which was two dives going down to 12 meters (39 feet), all equipment and of course basic instruction on how to use everything. We were both pretty nervous but REALLY excited. We headed out the next morning by long tail boat and went out to a really small island about 30-45 minutes away from Ton Sai and while it was a beautiful blue bird day the waves were kicking up and made for an exciting boat ride! When we finally arrived we went over all the safety precautions, hand signals and the guide laid out the plan for us. We were going to get suited up, get into the water, descend 3 meters and practice our skills! We slightly freaked out as we thought we'd practice our skills closer to the surface not 10 feet under the water!! But we totally trusted our fearless leader "Till" so we suited up, in the water we went and we began our decent! He brought us together about 10 feet below the surface and we kneeled on the bottom of the ocean. One by one he went through clearing our masks, clearing our regulators (our breathing devices), buddy breathing, throwing away and retrieving our regulators, and hand signals. After we all passed our skills test, we were off! We descended further and began checking out the world around us! He kept us close together and pointed out different fish, corals and anemones. I was struggling with my buoyancy, I tend to float more than sink (hey fat floats - what can I say?!?!?) and at one point I found myself being sucked up to the surface!! I tried to stay down but nothing worked and I popped up to the top. The visibility here wasn't great so when I tried to go back down couldn't find the rest of the group. I figured someone would see that I was missing and pop up and find me. Luckily I was right! After a few minutes (poor Paul was FREAKING out under water) Till came to the surface and helped me back to the rest of the group. After that Paul held my hand and wouldn't let go! We came back to the boat and moved on to our next dive site. For our first dive we were underwater for 1 hour and 10 minutes!! It really felt like 10 minutes! Off to the next site. The guides changed out our tanks so we'd have another full tank of air, and back in the water we went. The visibility was way better here and we saw, lots of anemones, nemo type fish (we FOUND nemo!!), 9 lion fish all together (these guys have poisonous spikes so we didn't get close), 2 eels (one was like 2 meters long!!), razor fish, puffer fish, angel fish, tons of tetras, and so much more. It was absolutely incredible! Definitely one of the BEST experiences thus far on the trip. We stayed down the second time about 90 minutes and none of us wanted to leave! But the boat had to be back for the sunset snorkel trip (the one we had done before) so back we went. We had a great lunch too of fried rice and chicken. Lots of fresh pineapple too! Needless to say we got pretty hooked and are looking at doing our PADI certs here before we take off!
The next day we had agreed to meet Jerry & Lisa again for coffee and climbing. We headed out to Wee's Present wall and did some really cool routes there. The rock was a bit sharp in spots but the movement on these routes was much more technical than powerful so I was pretty happy! After that we headed up the Thaiwand wall which also has an incredible view and climbed some more there. A pretty mellow day and just a lot of fun hanging out with our new friends. After a full day Paul and I said goodbye to our climbing buddies (they left for home today...bummer!!) and headed back to TonSai for dinner and a relaxing evening.
So that pretty much brings you up to today. We are in Ao Nang sorting out our accommodations for the 9th & 10th of this month and our flight from Krabi to Bangkok. It's hard to believe we are coming on to the final leg of our trip. It has been quite the adventure. Oh a few funny side notes I forgot to add. Our month anniversary (only 599 more to go until our 50th as Paul says!!) was the 27th of course and we celebrated by treating ourselves to Thai massages (the best 15 bucks we've spent this trip!!) and at the end you sit up and put your hands behind your back and the lady comes behind you and stretches your back while cracking you at the same time. Now imagine Paul sitting there and his masseuse how is about 5 feet tall and 90 pounds soaking wet trying to wrangle herself around his arms and shoulders. I thought she was going to get tossed across the room! It was pretty funny but I guess you really had to be there to appreciate it. Onto today - so we're in Ao Nang, cruising the town and we come up on this strip mall which hold a starbucks, 7-11, and a mc donald's of all things. We both had to use the toilet so we figured McD's would have one so off we went - and Paul ordered food for a laugh (Paul ordered the pork samurai burger I was not nearly as adventurous), I went in search of the toilet. I found it was outside - no big deal right?? It was not just outside but around the corner, though a construction zone with power tools and wires all around, and at the back of a long alley. I entered only to see urinals out in the open to my left at the door and I thought I was in the wrong restroom but no - there were all these women with small children in there, one of whom was bathing her child in the sink.... Yup so I finally found an open stall which DID have a western toilet (yay - squat toilets scare me as my balance is not so good...) but there was neither toilet seat nor toilet paper. So I lost that battle - score one for the toilet, zero for me. So after our fine lunch of ground dog, cat or what ever goes into a McThai burger we headed to starbucks. Normally neither of us would be caught dead in a starbucks at home but when duty calls you must answer. So in search of a toilet I go again as Paul tries to figure out the menu - written in Thai.... I did find one and really is was way more lovely and clean than our current accommodations on TonSai so I might just move in, but mission accomplished score one for me and a newfound respect for Starbucks.
Oh yeah our plans - in case you haven't figured out we're staying in TonSai until the 9th (the lure of the sun, sand and climbing was just too strong...) then to Ao Nang for two days, catch a flight back to Bangkok on the 11th and then Bangkok until we fly out on the 14th (Jenny I hope you're still picking us up....) . Hard to believe it's almost over.
Off for more fun and adventures....
Till next time -
Ps. we're still trying to figure out how to load videos but we are working on it!