I got up early this morning to send this blogg as yesterday we wen to San Rioa National Park (South of where we are staying) and one of the things we did was climb up a mountain and then go down into a cave system. I sweated at least 2 litres of water out of me and my legs turned to rubber on the way down, so I thought I needn’t visit the gymn today, I’d have a rest and use the internet. It was lucky that we went into the cave as we found a group of students in there who were lost and had to ask us the way out. Jamie had taken his video camera to film the sytem and we found it very useful as its light was very bright and we could see where we were going (mostly), but usually where Jamie was going. Afterwards, Sarah and I had a swim on a beach next to a fishing village (we ignored the million jellyfish there as we were hot). Jamie managed to badger one of the local women into cooking him fried rice and pork (I don’t kow how he does it as she couldn’t speak English) and he sat down and ate that, watched by the local dogs. Sue did say later that he was trying to get her to make him an omelette, but to get anything was a bit cheeky, but then that is Jamie!
The day in the park is always good. The scenery is stunning, the beaches are deserted and the locals are so friendly. We ate at the ranger station which is at the far end of the park, which itself is in a huge ancient volcanic crater. We did our traditional walk throught the mangroves, throwing berries at each other. This year Jamie and Sarah are getting more accurate and they do sting when they hit you (but I don’t encourage them by flinching). Sarah and I did gang up on Jamie and cornered him underneath a watch tower and I am afraid he paid theprice for all those sneaky little throws at us earlier and surrendered only after being hit so many times he looked like a dalmation (dog). We fed the Macaques (monkeys), looked for the Dusky Langurs (monkeys) but couldn’t find them and then gave drinks to Sarah and Jamie (monkeys). Sue enjoyed herself using the binoculars and looking at the bird life, butterflies and mudskippers in the mangroves, and later chatted with the locals as Sarah and I went back to a previous beach, as she had left a flip flop there (mine of course) that she had been wearing.
The other day we did something we always said that we would do, and Sarah and I had been planning all year. We drove up to Kaen Kratchaen Dam. Its the largest body of water in Thailand and its up north from here, near the Burmese border. We have been there many times, it’s very beautiful and very remote, but we did (3 years ago) find a place called Paradise Boat resort. It is next to the lake, and down a very muddy cart track. It is paradise. The resort has boats built on the land in there own pools. The interiors are absolutely 6 star and the views are unbelievably stunning. We have just had lunch there in the past, and been the only guests. I ofetn wondered whether some Thai millionare had found this spot one day and decided that he would build a fabulous resort there because of the views. Well, I spoke to the owner this year. as she was there, and I was right! We stayed the night there in one of the boats, it was soooooo nice words won’t describe it, have a look at the photos (if they load). As soon as we checked in, a lot of people in uniform started to arrive. The General of the Thai armed forces had booked a party in the garden next to the lake there to celebrate his wife’s birthday. Sarah said that it was her 34th, but she looked 50 to me. Of course, you can guess that the ordinary ranks were waiting on the tables and the officers were doing the celebrating. They provided us with our evening entertainment, but I must admit that If I had paid to watch it I would have wanted my money back, the professional dancers were good, but the Thais do like to karaoke and they are dire at it. Quite a lot of the party goers must have decided to stay as we saw them at breakfast the following morning. We swam in the lake, canoed around it and had some bicycles and went for a an exhausting evening ride. And, Sue had a chat with the general, I must ask her what he said.
We decided to go further that we have ever been before after checking out of the resort. I filled the car up with petrol and we headed off further into the jungle along a dirt track towards Pran Buri falls. After quite a long time with a few stops for me to walk ahead to check the road surface we came to an encampment and were stopped by a barrier. There was lots of evidence of wild elephants and also leopards and we came across a huge monitor lizard as well as lots of colourful buterflies. The camp was deserted except for three rangers, who showed no interest in us. Sue, Sarah and Jamie went off fro a walk and I nosed around the campsite. I was glad when they returned when it started to drizzle as I was sure that if it rained heavily I wouldn’t have been able to get the car back up and over the mountains we had just come. We did get back and it didn’t rain heavily, and we regret that we left without exploring further. Sarah would really love to go back there one day and camp herself, and I think she probably will. We all enjoyed that little trip, what a brilliant day!
We went back to Lawana, it has abeautiful infinity pool over looking a fishing village, so picturesque. We had lunch and then a swim in the pool. Sarah and I walked up the river towards the sea as there was a police boat in the middle of the estuary stopping and searching fishhing boats returning from the sea. We had been watching the boat using binoculars, but couldnt see clearly what they were searching for, from the pool. Sarah and I spent a pleasant hour sitting on the bank observing the police at work. As the fishing boats were entering the estuary they were being watched by the police. If they did anything suspicious then they pulled them in for boarding and a search. They were looking for drugs. Sarah and I watched the panic on the fishing boats as thet spotted the police boat, and then dumped the packets of drugs overboard. We knew they were drugs, because they were floating onto the beach in front of us!!! When the boat was searched, of course there were non on board so the police let them go. The police watched them dump them overboard, but I suppose like the fishermen, they play the game as well, and they did get rid of the drugs, in a fashion. And, the fishermen do live to fish another day! The irony was, that at 5 o’clock the police boat steamed away into the harbour, the police got onto their mopeds and went home. Of course, there were still fishing boats entering estuary (without the panic). At around 5.15 a larger Navy boat came into the estuary and made his way down the river, I guess he had been out at sea hunting the larger boats that were servicing the smaller fishing boats. It was an interesting afternoon.
Well I have loads more to tell, but not the time to tell it….. must be off, they will be wondering where I am.