We are into the seventh week of our trip. It actually took me a few minutes to figure this out. We are so deep into this adventure that time has lost its urgency and perspective has been shifting. We haven’t tuned into the news even once!This is our fourth day sailing. We sailed from Kho Yao Yai (Kho means island, Yai means South) to Kho Puk through the Straits of Malacca (famous for fierce Naval battles during WWII), in the Andaman Sea which is part of the Indian Ocean. Very quiet sea during the day, starting in the afternoon the ocean gets choppy until almost midnight. We stayed over night in Koh Puk.
What I find strange is that unlike sailing the Caribbeans or the North East there are no gulls or pelicans, no dolphins or sea turtles, not even sea lions or sea otters in the marinas. The only thing we saw is huge jelly fish floating on the surface.
Here are some pictures
Ori in the galley figuring out where to put everything
From Kho Puk we had a short day of sailing to west Koh Lanta which is on the east side of the Gulf of Thailand. We stayed there for night number three. A bit more populated mostly with Muslims – no little shrines or temples to be found here. It is a famous touristy destination but more of the hippy kind. We had lunch on the beach in a restaurant called Friendly then we took the dinghy around the corner to the near by village. What we thought would be a short excursion turned out to be a vigorous adventure. Low tide is a BIG deal here. We ended up trying to cross a two kilometers of mud flat of low tide. We left the dinghy “anchored” and walked the last 500 meters to town that greeted us on silts. Very funky place with funky looking tourists. We managed to buy sunscreen and aloe vera and hurried back to the dinghy which we had to wheel a hundred meters across the sand. Then Oz had to push me sitting inside, another a couple of hundred meters barely floating the dinghy. I think that since the building of the pyramids no one worked so hard. Pharoh was chuckling! and, the wind picked up to 14 knots on our long dinghy ride back. We arrived at our Happy Eva soaking wet and not so happy.
Happy Eva-our home for the next week.
Today, on our fourth day, we are sailing west to the famous Kho Phi Phi islands. It’s us and the sea. Only one or two passing sailing boats or fishing boast. It’s a wide and open ocean and if we, by any chance, miss the islands we will get to India! Sailing at once makes you feel young and also reminds you of your age limitations. Moving around the boat really exercises our flexibility and balance. Raising the main sail is hard and requires muscles. This is when Oz is short-handed. It keeps you alert because often it happens that you have to move from zero to a hundred. For example, this morning when we started our sailing, while I was on the front deck doing yoga, Oz heard an unusual noise and it turned out that one of the dinghy oars fell into the water. We had to turn the boat around, Oz jumped into the water and recovered it. This was an easy alert case.
Today, we checked out of our luxury home base, Mai Khao Palm Beach Resort. We did some elaborate work provisioning yesterday, and we have lots of really yummy European food, “Farang Food Paradise”. Farang means non-Asian foreigners. It doesn’t feel derogative like “Gringo” in Mexico.
Now a taxi ride to Yachthaven Marina, with all our fear and supplies. Green, our taxi driver is a Muslim. Honest, patient, kind and helpful. He showed us where to shop and waited around while we were trying to figure out what is what and how things work. Surprisingly good English.
In CheapMarket we shopped for food bags (no ziplock) and the proper produce, here it means pineapple, papaya, bananas – lots of them, limes, mango and mangustin .
At the Elite office in the Marina, Ulrich is ready to give us the chart talk. Sweat dripping as we load all our luggage and supplies on Happy Eva and receive guidance. The hot season has began and in the middle of the day there is very little escape unless you are in an air conditioned room. The Marina though is one of the nicest we have been in, beautiful, clean, nice deck, modern facilities and an expensive restaurant. Last lunch on land and off we sail.
Sad very sad. But we’ll be back. Just enough bustle. Just enough hip. We do raise the average age of every room we enter.
We spent a lot of fun time with the Two Roses. Very fun and thoughtful girls. Red Rose is on our bus back to Chiang Mai. She flys home to Australia really soon. Too sad. We had a lovely good bye dinner together in which we shared dare travel stories. Rose Lily from Birmingham, UK stayed for a couple more days for more adventure. We will meet again for her good bye dinner in Chiang Mai’s falafel restaurant down the street from our hotel.
Our train arrived forty-five minutes late. Quick two-row ride (small pickup truck with two facing rows of seats, covered) to Arbol’s place, “honestly”, owned by a newly-expat Chinese. Not ideal. We’ll see.
Sunset on the train 10 hour ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Our Chinese host gave us a ride to a down home Thai restaurant. A very late dinner, Thai all the way, good and cheap.
Breakfast hunt found Japanese-Mexican (whatever this means) style, Suzu Cafe, open with good coffee and omelettes. The “Tacos baguette” has no tortilla, but beans, rice, cheese on a toasted baguette slice.
To my huge surprise, I really like Bangkok. Why why?
It’s vibrant and real. Lots of levels, from tides of Asian tourists in modern fancy hotels to very poor streets.
That mall, centalwOrld. I actually wanted to shop there. And we did. uniqlo. And an optometrist shop fixed my venerable Serengeti sunglasses for nothing.
Our long-day tour guide, “Om”, was a Buddhist monk for a year, a while back. He looked exactly like a monk should look. In fact, exactly like Buddha. Including smile. And Buddha’s we saw — in all sizes, positions, glorious temples and Grand Palace.
I had a great meal at a building-top restaurant, “Chyna”. Ori was ill, so I owe her a night out in Bangkok. I walked home, through the streets by the station. Pretty grim, but felt safe.
We checked out, smoothly. Tuk-tuk to the station, found our platform. On schedule – we don’t want to miss the train – a long scenic ride to Chiang Mai. I’m looking forward to it. I love trains.
Traveling heavy. We didn’t do laundry in the hotel. In Chaing Mai it will be much cheaper.
On our way to Chiang Mai. Picking up passengers as we leave Bangkok.
On the train, second class, there is complimentary service of buns (filled with bean paste) and drinks.
Our speed is better than most Amtrak trains.
Bird-watching from the train. Herons, ducks, osprey and other raptors.
Ori bought a cute girly backpack/purse with elephants. The first one self-destructed under the use of a mature outdoors-woman. So, she exchanged it — under criticism “not so heavy”.
The husband was asked to step in an fortify the girly backpack. This resulted in a sewing task. The travel kit supplied the big needle and the very heavy waxed string for thread.
One of the most important aspects of this little story, is that the paper spool with the waxed thread and heavy needle was made by my father, Michael DiGennaro, sometime in the previous millennium. I can tell by the way the spool is taped. Oh my, this is sooo wonderful for me.