Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Catchup!

Sorry for the silence over the last couple of days.  We have been in Khao Sok National Park for the past three days staying in river huts for two nights and then a treehouse last night so obviously no internet available there!  It was absolutely dreamy, sticky, dirty, buggy, relaxing and wonderful!  When I last blogged, we were just leaving Bangkok and even though I'd read the itinerary, I didn't really know what we were getting into next.  We took the overnight train south to Surat Thani.  This time, we were determined to be social and headed straight for the Disco car before we could get too settled to move any further.  The disco car is so named due to the two strings of christmas lights, one working, one not, attached to the ceiling and the loud music piped over the speakers. 

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No aircon in that car so the windows were open wide which made for some fantastic viewing of passing towns and scenery.  At one point we looked out and saw fireworks going off in the distance.  Even though it was already dark it was hot...and muggy as it can be without being actually underwater.  We drank our cool Singhas and yelled across the table at two people who had joined the trip in Bangkok the night before - a mother and daughter from Denmark. An hour or so later, the rest of our group showed up and the music mercifully switched from what the daughter of the pair informed us was current top 40 to good old school disco (ring my bell, anyone?).  Before I went to sleep, I watched a bug crawl across the wall next to me and disappear down the crack between the wall and matress.  What are you gonna do? 
Next morning we stopped in Surat Thani for a perfectly awful plate of eggs and soggy white not-toast. 

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No more eggs in Thailand!  It only makes sense.  You don't eat seafood in Nebraska and you don't eat eggs and toast in Asia!  From there we rode a truck out to the dock and took a longtail boat out into the park. 

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After an hour of gorgeous limestone scenery, we rounded a corner and there were about 25 small floating bamboo huts. 

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We disembarked on a giant floating log and stepped across to the open air dining area where we would spend most of our time here over the next couple of days.  After lunch of fried rice we were shown to our huts which consisted of one room large enough to hold a mattress on the floor and a front and back porch large enough to hold two plastic chairs. 

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So essentially you could (and most of us did), walk out the front door of your hut and jump right into the lake for a swim. 

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And since the common showers turned out to be submerged under the unusually high water, the lake also turned out to be the bath (and laundry if you didn't mind swimming in your clothes).  After dark, one of the toilets up the hill was home to three small frogs.  Jessica, I wish you could have seen them!  So cute!  Flushing was accomplished by dumping a bucket full of water into the bowl.  Before dinner a group of us (those of us who had not been there for the orignal trek) went out on a longtail boat with three guides thinking we were going to take a short hike to a waterfall.  Actually, we took a boat ride there and a short hike UP the waterfall! 

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It was cool and a nice feeling of accomplishment.  Dag saw a big brown monkey in a tree on the way down!  We stopped briefly at the house of a fishing family on the way back to the huts.  We also swung by a large tree and as soon as we approached, all the monkeys which had been lounging up there began jumping down from branch to branch - it was so cool!  They seemed small and grey although we were kind of far away.  They would just fly through the air and grab onto the next branch they could.  Dinner was eggplant chicken curry, sweet and sour something, cabbage and french fried sweet potatoes.  Dessert was yellow watermelon.  I went to bed early that night and at 7am a few of us were able to get out of bed in enough time to take a quick kayak tour around the island with another visit to the monkey tree!  Dag went on the big hike with most of the rest of the group but I stayed behind and read my book on the front porch and listened to the monkeys hooting and hollering up in the trees. 

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When they came back from what sounds like a great hike, I was jealous to learn that Dag has gotten a leech on his foot!  I've been dying to see one even if it means getting one on me but so far no luck!  And now that we're at the beach I think my chances for now are down to nil.  Ah well.  That night while the other people began to speak of being bored, Dag and I sat on the deck of the common area in inner tubes watching the stars and the faraway lightening, occasionally pushing the tied-down longtail away when it drifted into our line of sight. 

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We were wishing for rain to come and hopefully cool things off but no dice that night and boy was it hot.  The next morning for breakfast - eggs and soggy white non-toast.  BAH!  After that we transfered to the treehouses via longtail boats and a blessedly airconditioned van.  The treehouse complex is home to a couple of dogs, about 1000 cats, a lipstick wearing monkey and an enormous toad. 

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The treehouses were mostly a couple of ladder lengths up and about the same size as the raft house if you took the front and back porches and stuck them inside. 

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They had toilets and icy cold showers, which we thought would be a relief but turned out to be gasp-worthy shocking!  At least we had soap!  After our lunch of fried rice, most of the group went out to the river and shot the rapids on inner tubes - that was incredible fun!  Three of us, including Dag, got our toes bit by some kind of hungry fish!  I don't think his fish actually broke the skin, luckily.  The guy who got bit the worst was still bleeding when we got back to the van!  Next stop, waterfall.  Next stop, viewpoint.  Next stop a temple in a cave maintained by a monk from Boulder, Colorado and containing a ten year old monk corpse in a clear lidded coffin. 

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Outside the cave the place was crawling with monkeys who knew that a tourist van meant bananas for them so they all came running!  It was so cool to watch them take the banana right out of your hands and sit and peel it and eat it not 10 feet from you. 

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So humanlike but cute and fuzzy all at the same time!  Dinner was pumpkin curry, cucumber stir fried w/beef, some other leafy green with beef or pork, onion rings and monkey food.  After dinner it was ping-pong (regular kind), cards, Jenga and reading (I'm almost done with Wolves of the Calla!).  The night was mercifully cool.  Now I'm getting the "lunchtime" eye from Dag, who is also busy inquiring after our Diving trip tomorrow.  More later!!

4 comments:

Aaron said...

Sounds like an amazing trip so far!

Baby Boy D said...

Frogs and monkeys? You ARE the luckiest girl in the world.

Leslita said...

Aaron, it's been incredible! Hope your trip hit the spot for you as well!
BBD, wait til I tell you about all the cool bugs we've seen!

Larry G said...

Hi Leslie, there's way to much to even comment on except.... Dag got a leach on his foot! And you were disappointed you didn't get to see it! Bugs, leaches, and monkeys o'my! Can't wait for some photos.