Why not to mess with 10 year old Thai kids
2 Dec 2007
|Yesterday was a pretty full day. As you've already read (or maybe you haven't yet..) we
were in Ao Nang organizing the details of our time after TonSai and that's where I did the post covering the last five days, perhaps a bit prematurely. But since the internet is cheaper in Ao Nang we decided to do it anyway. I realized that for all of our time here we really didn't have that many posts. I felt pretty bad about it as we've done so much here that I'm not sure we've done the best job passing that on to all at home. So for the rest of our time here we will try to post as often as time, money and our patience with 3rd world technologies allow. :)
We really felt the need to post again as we were lucky enough last night to partake (as spectators) in one Thailand's most revered spots - Muay Thai Boxing. After leaving Ao Nang we hopped a long tail boat to Railay (the neighboring beach) and had dinner at the flame tree restaraunt on the beach. From there we set out to find our way to the Jungle Tree bar (our course after partaking in the ritual after dinner thai pancake) where we hoped to see some real thai boxing. Now while Railay is not that big of a place, we got lost. Okay not really lost we just walked from one end of the beachthe whole way around to the other, and never found the bar. We had to ask for directions and silly us thinking the bar was on the beach like everything else around here, should have taken note of the name "Jungle Tree" and maybe that would have given us a clue. Basically we had o hike up, and not just up but literally to the top of Railay in the dark... We got lost a few more times, luckily there was always a random restaraunt or bungalow owner mulling about to point us in the right direction. We FIANLLY made it to the bar about 60-70 minutes after we started, only to discover that you needed tickets or tikkets as the sign at the door said! Again lucky for us, there was a lovely local fellow how was willing to sell us tickets for $500 baht each. Now that's about $15 US, which is not a lot but most things don't cost that here so we were a bit taken aback - $1000 bhat for this?? We thought it over, especailly since we can catch it in Bangkok, but decided to not be cheapskates and we DID walk all that way so we paid the man (his prodding please, please, please come in also may have swayed us...) and went in.
Now we were no joke the ONLY whiteys in the place and getting serious looks as to why were we there so we were a bit freaked. We headed straight to the bar to collect our 1 free beer with paid admission (and we got a free beer coozie - score!!) and took some seriously touristy pictures. The ring was set up so we meandered over and found some seats, far away from the crowd. There was also a BBQ with paid admission and we wanted our moneys worth so after much discussion Paul was nominated to brave the BBQ line, while I kept our seats. I had to defend our seats from a local 6 year old who kept trying to take the empty one and when I told her I needed it she tried to take our backpack instead - fair trade right?!?!?!
So after I regained control of our posessions, an older man came over and tried to take
Paul's seat and again I had to a bit more sternly this time let them know that seat was for my husband (who's big, bad and will kick your ass, so stop messing with me!!). Meanwhile Paul was having his own issues in the BBQ line. He was trying to be nice and wait his turn which only left him getting pushed further and further away. He had some help from the nice man with the crazy dreadlocks who pushed his way in so whitey could get some grub! :)
We decided to move to ringside seats, hey go big or go home and ended up chatting with one of the referees who was very helpful. If you don't know anything about Muay thai, it's a bit like kickboxing where there are a lot of kicks and stikes and you can also punch and throw elbows but you get the most points from your kicks or strikes with knees. There are many rituals that occur at the beginning of each fight, one which includes a dance performed for good luck and as a thank you to their trainers. Each fighter is blassed and a headband is placed on top of the head before they enter the ring. Oh and each fight is accompanied by live thai music consisting of a drum and an oboe type insturment.
The first fight consisted of two little kids. We had a discussion about how old we thought they were and I wasn't sure if I could watch 2 little boys go at it. We found out that each was a ripe 10 years old and had already been training for 5 years. In thailand muay thai boxing is the equavilent of say football or baseball back home. Kids start early and in the hopes of becoming a great legend one day.
These kids were incredible. I really can't even begin to describe the atheleticism each one had. They were so quick and so skilled, it was pretty amazing. There were 7 fights total that night and one included girls! The girls were really impressive and did not hold back one bit. As the night wore on you could tell that the fighters were better and had been training longer. It was mesmerizing to see. The crowd was totally into it and I cought myself staring at them as they cheered the fighters on. Only one fight ended in a knockout, which amazed us as we could not begin to fathom the beating their bodies took but yet they kept going, faster, harder and stronger as time wore on. IT was something we both wanted to see and to be able to see it in such a small arena that close up was really a great experience. The festivities went on until about 6am but we bailed out after the fights ended around midnight as we needed to try to wrangle a boat back to TonSai.
We slept pretty late today as we were up WAY past our bedtime so not much to report on today. We finalized our flights back to Bangkok on the 11th and are looking into "visa runs" as our visa for Thailand expires on the 9th but our flight home isn't until the 14th. We know you can pay per day for an extended visa if you stay over but we don't want to get into any trouble and not be able to leave! So there are these things called visa runs and basically you go to Malaysia for a few hours and cross back into Thailand giving you another 30 day visa. It seems cool but it takes the whole day so we're trying to decide what we want to do there. As always we'll keep you posted!
Tomorrow we're back climbing and trying to tick off as many climbs on our to do list as we can. We'll post more in a day or two - once we have more pictures to share!
Take care and happy trails!
p.s. - As I've said before, we're running into technological issues with picture posting especially video. We have lots of video to share but there is a size limit on the site for what you can upload. We only have one video so far (taken with the little camera - we can't get any computers around here to read the DVR's from the video camera and we're too afraid of them getting reformatted and losing everything to push it too far) but now that we're aware of the size thing we can try to shoot with that in mind. If that doesn't work then we'll just have to have a picture and video party when we get back!!