We have been in this tiny area of East Railay for over a week now and are getting very comfortable. The biggest surprise is … kittens! There are kittens everywhere. All different colors, some with tails, some without.
Many of them are on the brink of death, but still, a kitten is a kitten and dead or alive, still so super cute! I have become very sneaky about picking pieces of meat out of my food and hiding them in my purse. Then I find the closest starving kitten and give it some dinner. I can’t help myself. Thank God they don’t allow these kittens to travel back with tourists… otherwise I would be stuffing them into my backpack and leaving my clothes behind.
Besides the chicken that is hiding in my purse, we are living on fruit shakes, pad thai, yellow and red curry, mango sticky rice, and papaya salad. Initially, the ice in the fruit shakes caused some concern, but passing up on ice was a shortly lived habit. It’s just too damn hot not to have the ice. Neither of us have been sick yet so we are hoping for continued stomach strength.
Now that I am far from Bangkok street food, my tummy and senses are happy. Gone is my lurching stomach. The food we stick to here is delicious. The flavors are kickin’ and the spice is the perfect combination between pain and pleasure.
Peter’s spice tolerance was finally beaten yesterday at dinner. His eyes were blood shot and a tear was rolling down his cheek. I laughed and pointed. He said, “I’m fine, I’m fine…” sniff…sniff… “Maybe watermelon will help? But I’m fine, I swear, I’m fine” Tissue to the eye…sniff….sniff… I had to laugh because a few days before, at one of our favorite restaurants, I had such a good spice cry that the waitress/chef came up to check on me. I was hunched over taking deep breaths through an imaginary straw…in…out…in…out, tears running down my face, giving her a huge smile and a big thumbs up saying, “It’s awesome! I’m good! I love it! No Problem! Just spicy!” Waving a hand in front of my mouth, and laughing through the pain. I wasn’t the only one laughing… all the Thai’s within ear shot were laughing too. Can’t say they didn’t warn me… the waiters are kind enough to give a heads up when things are spicy… our egos just keep getting in the way… “oh please, we can handle it… YEAH RIGHT”
In the past week we have stuck to a pretty consistent routine. Climb early, take a siesta at the pool when the day is at its hottest, climb in the afternoon. The climbing here is quite unbelieveable. There are hundreds of climbs all within walking distance from our hotel. The whole area is surrounded by giant limestone outcroppings that shoot up into the sky. Every bit littered with texture and color. It’s fun to start a climb, then to move on to a stalactyte, then back onto the wall.
The only bad part are the bugs. All of this beautiful jungle brings it’s fair share of flying, biting, bugs. Oh well, I suppose no place can be perfect. Peter has become rather proud of all the mosquitos he can kill while climbing. Another notch on the talent belt I suppose…
Today I finished my second day as a student of pirate Olag (the German Mr. Bean), my diving instructor with black teeth. I have to be honest, when I first saw him, I was a little scared. He clearly eats about as much as those dying kittens, hasn’t brushed his teeth or washed his clothes since 1974, rolls his own cigarettes, slurs his speech, and shakes a bit. But Ok! I am ready and happy to visit the depths of the ocean with you as my guide! Fortunately, the story has a happy ending. I ended up liking Olag a lot. Don’t judge a book by it’s cover! He was wonderful to talk to (as long as I didn’t look at his mouth), had an enormous amount of diving experience, had traveled to some pretty special parts of the world… AND, thanks to his unwaivering commitment to steering me away from jellyfish the size of sofa cushions, I am now a certified diver! Olag gave me a huge underwater fist bump when I finished my final test of removing my mask, putting it back on,and removing the water by blowing out my nose all at 55 feet under the surface!
We are working on where we are off to next… We have to stir up the comfort to get more good stories!