cambodia, it was back to Bangkok. the beaches down south were calling,
so we only spent one night there............at pat pong......the
legendary red light district of the city. we had to go. that's all i
have to say. the area actually reminded me a lot of the french quarter
in new orleans. we took in a bit of the atmosphere, but in no manner
explored to the depth that i fell i can back up all the stories and
legends of the area. that will have to come from someone else.
a loooooong overnight bus took us to krabi, and after a quick breakfast
we took a long boat to ko ton sai, a beach surrounded by jungle and huge
limestone cliffs. the beach is famous for its spectacular rock
climbing. the beach was nice, but the surrounding scenery was amazing.
the limestone cliffs were of all sorts of colors and shapes and were
especially dramatic in the evening, as the colors changed with the
setting sun. most of the other travelers were rock climbing, and most
of them extremely good at it. there were huge overhangs, which to my
amazement, they could climb up and over. i felt a bit like a weakling
in there presence.
our days were spent swimming, rock climbing (i'm not good) and traveling
to various other beaches to explore and snorkel. there were some
amazing fish and beautiful colored corals at some nearby islands. we
even saw a small shark. cool! the food at the bungalows was excellent
and night time was very relaxing.....a very nice few days. unfortunate
it had to end. we headed back to krabi so whitney could grab a bus to
kuala lumper, and eventually back to new orleans.
that night i was wondering around krabi. i hear all these drums, so
wander over to check it out. there are tents and stages set up in the
little plaza by the river, the stage covered in trophies and propaganda
and the stage full of food, alters and incense. in the courtyard is a
big swinging ladder with knife blades on the rungs and i catch a glimpse
of a big chair covered in sharp-point-up nails.
cool! i grab a menu and order a beer and some food and get ready for the
show. well, it took a while getting around to the action. lots of
chanting, head shaking, writing, burning, walking about, etc. must of
all meant something. i didn't have the answers.
well, things finally got going and men and women climbed up the
knife-ladder. some fast, some slow, some shaking their heads, some with
no expression. ok. kind of anticlimactic. out came the chair. some
sit on it, some sit on the others sitting on it and jump up and down.
ok. better. off to the side men start grabbing saws, knives, machetes,
you know....sharp stuff, and start hitting them selves and cutting their
tongues. finally......blood. cool. lots of it falling on their
the rain came. people ran for cover under the tents. the trophies
where getting wet. i couldn't imagine them giving trophies for self
mutilation. maybe. i was tired and headed for the hotel. passing a
group taking cover i caught a number of people all decked out in fancy
dresses, high heels, hair all done up....the works. i stayed.
when the rain cleared, well, slowed a bit, the m.c. for the evening came
out, said something, in thai, and then a 12-14 year old girl came out
and did a fancy little modern dance number. people cheered.
then.....out came the dressed up ones. the crowd went wild. the first
one out was not young, but certainly dressed up. that he was! as the
various well dressed transvestites took the stage the crowd laughed and
cheered for their favorite. jolly good show.
more was said in thai, they all took little cat-walk walks around the
stage. then people started to bring them big paper looped leis for
their favorite. after some sorting, the winner was announced and was
taken to the tent with the tongue cutters. they were extremely
pleased. he/she didn't cut anything. good!
it rained again. some took cover. some left. i stayed. about 11:30,
after the rain slowed, after three karaoke numbers - i hope those big
trophies aren't for them - i called it a night and went to bed.
i was having a hard time deciding where to head next, up north or down
south. i decided my indecisiveness would function best at the beach.
so.........back to the beach. i went to ko jum, which is a large
island, but has very little development. i arrived at the beach, of
course dropped of at the most touristy place, and set off down the
beach looking for my place. there where some awesome bungalows at some
place. some "tree houses" where 40-50 feet up in these huge trees
overlooking the beach....of course occupied. i walked about 2
kilometers to the end of the beach and knew that i had found my new
home. i took a bungalow that had a great balcony above the porch. it
was bad ass! the bungalows had just been there for four months, and
there was almost nobody there. there was a small village on one side
and some some huts occupied by local fishermen on the other. it was a
true tai setting. in the afternoon there were about a dozen local kids
fishing for squid and playing around in the water. what a place to grow
well, up until about 14. after that...what? in this case in meant
karaoke! each night a place down the beach cranked up it's generator,
turned on the tv and video machine, passed around the microphone and let
it all go. most nights it went until 3-4 in the morning, and until we
made a fuss every word was audible from my bungalow. other than this
minor problem, i spent 6 great days walking around the island, swimming,
checking out the fish around the huge lava rocks scattered around the
beach and water, and enjoying starry nights through the palm trees from
my balcony. not to bad.
i made a decision.........finally, and left the beach to begin my
journey south, first to malaysia and then across the mallacca straight