|We are currently on a small Thai island in the middle of a monsoon. It is raining most of the time but every now and then the sun comes out for a few hours. Internet is scarce and unpredictable but we have a small window so thought we would jot down some thoughts, even though we haven’t left yet.
We’ve ticked off most of the touristy things; Elephant trekking, Thai boxing fights, temples, golden Buddha’s and James Bond esque islands.
Bangkok was hot and busy but we’re heading back there after the islands to get some more temple action and some knock off designer goodies from Patpong market!
Rip offs in Thailand are particularly prevalent – such as getting a seat on an overnight bus and turning up and finding that the recling seat you paid to get (in the wishful thinking you might at least get some kip) isn’t there and they want you to sit on the floor for 16 hours – the silly thing is it tells you all this in the guidebook so you go to the official ticket offices not the touts on the street think you’re okay and when you turn up in the evening and they screw you, you have 2 options; refuse to get on in which case you need to find some accommodation asap and bugger your itinerary and further bookings up, or swear at them and get on – this is what we and most people do because it’s still better then getting stranded somewhere for a day or more (note; for most things in life, while taking the moral high ground is virtuous and right it seldom leads to happiness or justice) until a decent bus turns up – the companies seem to know this and continue to do it and it is very annoying. Still, apart from that we are both just about done with long distance bus travel in the third world. Roughing it is the sort of thing that backpackers laugh about usually before they’ve done much of it, but once you go past the six month border you really start to think, bugger that.
The islands were cool on the Andamen coast. “The Beach” and “The Man with the Golden Gun” being just two beach exploitation movies filmed around here. Lots of limestone crags, caves on the beach, islands galore, white sand and green water (when the sun is out!) very tasty. We have been here in the monsoon, however. We knew this would be the case but had to choose between Asia monsoon or South America winter, and Patagonia would have been near impassable at the time we would have been there due to snow, so we figured rain is the easiest foe to deal with – it is most of the time, but it is a deadly enemy of sun worship!
Elephant trekking was fun but cheesy and we went to the funniest baby elephant show in the world where it played a harmonica and twirled a hula hoop round its trunk doing handstands etc...it was bizarre and we weren’t sure whether it was the ultimate in animal exploitation (though they looked healthy and well looked after...) or just a meeting of genius. We have it on video...
Thai boxing was amusing too. I was thinking Van Damme stuff, but nobody died so Hollywood got it wrong again. A few knock outs though, and Georgie was filming everything, either because she fancied the fighters or, in her words, it will make good physio training footage. Whatever!!!