|Before I tell you all the wonderful things about the Thai Islands, let me regale you on my adventure of taking the Thai railway down to Trang …17 hours!!!
It was quite reminiscent of the Movie “Some Like it Hot”…first class was 30 sleepers all in one car…meaning you could poke your head out and talk to your neighbors…! lucked out and got a bottom bunk…yeah!., considering I tend to get up quite often…too much water I guess…anyway around 1am the train stopped and there I sat in my Sweltering bunk…did I mention no air conditioning and after they pull the bunks down at 7:30PM they close up the windows for safety…there is a fan and a few small vents but that’s it!!!…the luxury of first class in Thailand…ahhhh….As I attempted to sleep earlier, the sweat coming off like a waterfall…I can only imagine what I have to look forward to with night sweats!!!…Just as I would drift off to sleep, my imagination had other ideas…it decided it was more fun to play the what if game: “what if’, for example, the top bunk crashed on top of me?!?..oh thank you Imagination for that clear picture of being crushed by a ton of metal with a cozily sleeping person snoring away…I decided to get up to discourage my runaway imagination and get rid of some water(use the bathroom)…now my imagination is truly afraid because the stark reality of the slippery metal hole in the floor of a moving train that is actually big enough to lose my leg if I’m at all klutzy about my squatting position and balance…I mastered the hole squat in Nepal, to my great surprise and joy…but the hole was never moving and the floor didn’t bounce at the most inopportune moments!!! Once completed successfully, I may add proudly, I went back to my lower berth with the security that I would not be crushed…no, instead my imagination decided the old rickety train rapidly bouncing around the old rickety tracks would, of course, spew out of control and become a pile of rubble…this seemed quite a real possibility…! hate my imagination at 1am…but to my surprise, a lot of people’s imaginations were playing similar games…so we sat up and played cards… The first Island we stayed on was incredible…private…hut right off the beach…sound of the surf…did I mention quiet…we went sea Kayaking yesterday through big caverns and mangroves…VERY HARD work…I’m not sure Kayaking is my bag!!!…Or possibly it was the hard surf and me feeling achy….when we got back to the Island I had the best experience of my whole trip: A THAI MASSAGE….INCREDIBLE!!! I have never experienced anything like it…I had a Chinese massage in a small Nepal Village and the man did something that No Massage therapist in the US has ever been able to do…her completely got rid of my shoulder Knots!!! But that massage was quite painful..Thai massage is a cross between relaxing, Yoga and amazing contortions!!!.,.I felt amazing afterward…all yuckiness went away…Everyday I am getting one…they cost 300 baht an hour..that’s 6.00…best money spent… Today we took a Longboat and a Jitney and a ferry to go to Koh Phi Phi Island…arrived mid morning…this is a very active island…no cars …it’s like a Key West without cars and roads…lots of bars and young people…this is the hideaway place for twentysomethings in the world…actually Thailand seems to be the most popular place for the British…there are more Brits than Thais!!!…lt seems the Brits take a year in their twenties and travel…most, it seems go to Thailand and then Australia…We are hiking a hill tonight at sunset…It’s only 400′ high, so I think I’m safe from altitude sickness!!!…tomorrow we go snorkeling to the out Islands and then we go to Koh Lanta for 3 nights…more Isolated but still too busy…the last Island will be the best…completely Isolated…we are all quite excited…the group is very nice and I am picking up some Thai language…although some Nepali keeps creeping in…I see why so many people enjoy Thailand and stay…Very friendly people and VERY CHEAP…we met some guys staying at a hotel, decent for 1.50 a night!!!…The weather has been cloudy…not too sunny…I love it because it’s less hot…Thailand is hotter than FL…or maybe my blood got used to the cold in Nepal Mountains..the Brits are loving the heat and I’m sweating…all accommodations have only fan…no hot water…electricity is turned off from 5:30AM-5:00PM…but, unlike the Trek, I have taken daily showers… Thailand is having some problems in this area with their Muslim population but it is mainly local issues not world issues…similar to Kashmir…I did have an interesting encounter on the train while waiting to use that lovely metal moving hole…but it is not for a blog…but it was an enlightening meeting….And gave me much food for thought,especially in these post 9-11 days…We are on a Muslim Island now and Lanta is a very big Muslim Island…but our guide says it’s fine and they like the tourism…and for some in my family, who worry about white slavery in this area…Don’t…I wouldn’t fetch much in this market (-: ….The people are very friendly…I will write when I am in Cambodia…I am LOVING my adventure and am already thinking about what to do next…it is so easy to travel in Asia…you only need a small daypack and you can buy as you need…shorts are 2.00, skirts 3.00 etc…you definitely don’t need a tour…which I was told you needed to get out to these really small islands…I’m enjoying the group but if I were to travel again it would be alone…more freedom…and Nepal also had everything I needed…The peace corps is looking really promising….The world is amazing and the people you meet along the way are so fascinating and wonderful…everyone I met on the train came from somewhere different…they all had interesting stories…but what I really have learned is that even though some of our cultures are sooo very different, we really are very much the same…we should ALL keep that in mind as we watch the TV about Afghanistan…I’ve met many people who have given me a different take than we receive in the West, including the man on the train who was Abu Sayyaf…I was scared at first but walked away with a little more knowledge and understanding, regardless of agreement or not….I may not always agree but I definitely wanted to hear and understand…We are losing the PR War…although my guide is a Buddhist and he said that after the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas last summer, that any Buddhist supports the West…although he reminded me that he was peace loving and didn’t want war… Anyway,enough of this deep stuff…. I’m off for my Thai Massage!!! I may forget the idea of bringing home a Sherpa and bring home a Thai Masseuse!!!!