Ozzie

Ozzie

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Day 26 - Around Khao Lac - Thurs 21 Mar

Day 26 - Around Khao Lac - Thurs 21 Mar
Visiting the Overlanders vehicles for a “show and tell”... fascinating people. Hubert (psychologist) and AnnaLouise (Germans) have been here since November, Lorenz and Gisela (Swiss) 4-5 weeks (only planning to leave Thailand coz visa running out), and Peter and Suzannah (Swiss) a week. Lorenz says often "you don't wake the sleeping dogs, eh?" we’re sure will become one of those enduring sayings, like "and so it begins..."











Khao Lac was one of the worst places to be hit by the Boxing Day tsunami of 2004 - we visited the museum and memorial, quite sobering, dispelled myth of giant waves, more like repetitive surges. Pictures of cleanup, including bodies under rubble and at sea, was horrendous – we didn't take the afternoon swim quite as much for granted as previous day.






Thoroughly enjoyed Thai massage in late afternoon. The girl Or, zeroed in on our tender spots – we couldn't believe the relief afterwards. She was a Laos girl, divorced, whose sister brought up her children - wants no new man, earns own money and loves 'be independent'. She was impressed by our truck and lifestyle: “you have own hospital, own supermarket, you are free!” Back to same beach bar for dinner, couldn't pass up good quality cheap food, or chance for another coconut shake. Paper lanterns were lit and when full of enough hot air rose slowly into night sky very high before finally extinguishing.

Day 25 - To Khao Lac - Wed 20 Mar

Day 25 - To Khao Lac - Wed 20 Mar
BoyRob recovered enough to go for a walk to see longboats at estuary, then we took a motorised tuk-tuk to see offshore limestone kaasts at other end of beach. Tried unsuccessfully to resolve some Aussie bank issues ...bought fridge magnet "Remember Krabi Thailand"...
The Bee and Ozzie left after lunch, headed north on pretty roads through more limestone country, and personal shrines at the entrance to houses. Since they had been hacked/ scammed (“Help, I've been mugged and stranded in Philippines
 - send money”) MnM stayed behind to sort out a new email address/system, and to retrieve their contacts.  














Found a perfect place to camp at Khao Lac, and met up with more Overlanders - Hubert and AnnaLouise in an armoured tank camper, Lorenz and Gisela in a container cum truck, and Peter and Suzannah in a Swiss-army version of Guy's truck. The first two couples had a motorised scooter and the latter bicycles each to get around. Turned out they had met up with Jon and Jude two nights ago (before a concert rearranged their sites). Had a wonderfully refreshing swim in the ocean (watching out for whale sharks known to frequent these waters at this time of year!) - so pleasant to have cool undercurrents in the water. Ate at the beach bar, a tasty meal with real chicken, and real vegetables, and started an addiction with coconut shakes made from real coconut milk and shavings. 





Day 24 – same Noppharatthara Beach - Tues 19 Mar

Day 24 – same Noppharatthara Beach - Tues 19 Mar
The man sat three days on the dunny
His insides turned everything runny
Through the hot days he slept
Not a morsel he kept
His wife said this trip's not so funny...


You could make your own verse here:
There was an old man with Thai Belly

OR

Hi Ho the Derry Oh
A Campin' We will Go

Day 23 – Noppharatthara Beach, Krabi - Mon 18 Mar

Day 23 – Noppharatthara Beach, Krabi - Mon 18 Mar
Heaps of tents up when we arrived in caravan park at beach with long name. BoyRob was sick through the night with Traveller’s Diarrhoea and fever - treated as per Dr Deb’s book from medical kit. He slept most of day, so GirlRob caught up on washing, home business and blogging in between scratching itchy and spotty sea lice. Miles and Marina found us, and the two couples went off to seafood restaurant whilst GirlRob provided soup and sustenance to the patient. Dealing with illness whilst in a camper truck, might go in another section of the blog too!


Two busloads of kids descended on camp which was then transformed into a noisy village. Excited chatter and running around in dark, toilets and showers always full. A group of girls introduced themselves to GirlRob and kept each other entertained trying to speak either the Thai or English words for the animals on the powerpoint/laptop... hysterical laughter, clapping and cries of "velly good" every time the Thai words came out right! Karaoke style singing from the seniors and leaders until all hours, then smallest ones awake before dark. I love kids….


Day 22 – Penang to Krabi - Sun 17 Mar

Day 22 – Penang to Krabi - Sun 17 Mar
St Patrick's Day (should have washed my one and only green shirt). Bulls being walked (to show off? to paddock?) shiny and clean, horns polished, bright necklets. Rice being hand harvested; drying on strips of tarp along road. Not much you can't do from the back of a bike, carry poles (tricky round corners), hold canisters, sell goods (5 is maximum passengers seen so far on single bike). Found a bull fight, locking horns to see which one twists to ground first (so that’s where they were walking them!)






Found Hot Springs at base of limestone monolith from mud map drawn by local; must be therapeutic, hospital with beds and wheelchairs next door, healers/ masseuse, man bathing his arm with steel brace in bucket of waters - way too hot to immerse whole self (but GirlRob’s feet felt wonderful after dancing in and out of water). Catfish in pool, monkeys with babies abound.














Much harder to understand signs as we drive by, pictures not related to subject, unfamiliar alphabet - no English underneath as in many of Malay signs. No water on tap in service stations so far - will water be more difficult to obtain here? Bought sim card with data – like the pay as you go system. Good secondary roads, including one between Trang and Krabi. Reading out excerpts from Lonely Planet over CB radio to Guy and Cheryl re activities in Krabi, Phuket and Similan Island National Park. Passed an elephant hospital with a large patient in front yard. Houses a mix of old shacks and large modern ones made from new materials, bright floor tiles, stainless steel gates and patio fences. Temples more prolific than Malaysia with traditional steep roof and gilt/red motifs eg dragons, snakes.
Arrived Krabi, drove along beaches, magnificent limestone kaasts rising straight out of sea. Stopped at Noppharatthara Beach for swim, shallow for miles out (how can the ocean be this warm??) Brochure says " hoi chak tin - world’s biggest house of a feet pulling shell"(??)  Found our first caravan park. Mozzies were annoying at dusk, but soon forgotten with a Mai Tai, followed by charcoal grilled prawns with garlic and pepper at seafood restaurant on beach. They had pictures of town being wiped out in 2004 tsunami. We had an awful karaoke singer, but the boys tipped him anyway.



Day 21 - Pulau Pinang to Jitra/border crossing and Lake Thale Liang - Sat 16 Mar

Day 21 - Pulau Pinang to Jitra/border crossing and Lake Thale Liang - Sat 16 Mar
Woke to sight of bats circling endlessly at low level round tree outside bedroom window in semi dark (screeching noise of yesterday morning?) heaps of lycra-ed cyclists on road... one copped spillage from Guys grey water hose! Today we’ll enter our third country! Yesterday checked all paperwork for border - hope the double shuffle of passports doesn't cause problems. Original one listed on carnet for Malaysian officials, but Thailand visa is on concurrent passport (evidence of entry and exit may be asked at both places). Cleared city, and smoke and smog haze, more open country, rice paddies appearing. Plenty of investment in infrastructure obvious. Roads, bridges, Rail gangs. Ninja gardeners prune highway verges; robots control stop- go flags. Malaysia has been good to us, good food, no reactions/ illness from foods/ hygiene, water readily available. 














Crossing the border took about two hours - I will figure out how to put the info into the blog elsewhere (including issues with concurrent Australian passports!) A drab and dirty town met us, crowded with stalls and rubbish; a light rain started which didn't improve matters. Thick, multitudinous electrical wires obliterated the views on both sides. Luckily we found a Tesco down the road and stopped to exchange money, withdraw cash and eat. Refreshed we ventured forth to find the rain stopped and an increasing clean and open countryside appearing. There is definitely a middle layer of industry in Thailand compared to Malaysia, factories and light industry. Each small to medium enterprise has its own compound, with a small temple or prayer house in the grounds – there seems a thriving business in sparkling spires and religious statuary. 












Went looking for hot springs but found Lake Thale Liang instead, and the kind of campsite we'd dreamed of before leaving home - open space, cool breeze, water views, lapping waves, no insect pests, a drink watching the sun go down, stars and planets in the sky, planning the next day... The celebration that grew around us was an unexpected bonus. We ended up on tarps on the ground watching a shadow puppet play with the local community, being showered with rice dishes, watermelons, and drinks. Because of a picture on top of stage, Guy thought it may have been in aid of a local boy who was ill. So very friendly - we gave them our coins; Guy had glow sticks and dried fruit in return. 







Day 20 – Exploring Georgetown - Fri 15 Mar

Day 20 – Exploring Georgetown - Fri 15 Mar
Truly this country never sleeps, during night disturbed by bikes and cars, families on beach (a toddler playing in total dark after midnight!); windstorm rattling shanty tin relentlessly, and some squeaky something before dawn that sounded like a tribe of banshee birds. We can say truthfully that Paradise LOOKS good.....














Spent the day exploring Georgetown - Fort Cornwallis and story of Captain Francis Light; Queen Victoria Memorial Clock Tower (60ft, one for every year of reign); walked through Little India and its exotic spices and fabrics; saw Sin Temple; then Khoo Kongsi clan temple. 


Sushi lunch, and picked up Garmin SD card holding rest of digi maps we’ll need for this trip. Went up 830mt Penang Hill in a funicular train (amazingly steep). Drove past Kek Lok Si temple, largest Buddist temple in SEA - 7 story pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, 30mt bronze Kuan Yin statue. Supplied-up ready for border crossing into Thailand tomorrow - vehicle's full as a goog!