Friday, July 31, 2009

Rest Day...Not so much Rest!

We started out planning to go Sea Kayaking...the size of the waves changed our minds. Instead we made our way to the viewpoint and the lagoon. We knew this would be a strenuous hike, but nothing prepared us for the nightmare of how committing the hike was. For only be 300m (less than 1/4mi.) from the start, we thought it couldn't be THAT bad. We were wrong. There were parts that were 5th class scrambles and muddy and slick. I am surprised they have not hauled dead tourists out of there!
The view was amazing...that was worth the hike. Then we started the sketchy decent/mud slide into the lagoon. Down climbing was required to get to the lagoon. It was difficult and the ropes placed for assistance were not that helpful, most of the time, since they were caked in mud.
Once at the bottom, we took some time to relax and catch our breath. It was pretty serene...we were the only ones down there at the time(wonder why??).

We have really been enjoying the people. They are more than helpful, with a smile. They are very hard working and enjoy what they do. We have a feeling of being "locals" since we have our hangouts, and know the people there. It is sort of like "Cheers"! We are going to be sad to leave Sunday :( but paridise cannot last forever!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Relaxing...on the beach

Today we did some climbing on the beach in Ton Sai then spent the afternoon relaxing on the beach. We enjoy a combination of people watching and reading on the beach. Mike is feeling the affects of climbing two days in row (I know how to limit myself...since I am a mere mortal). We are going to take tomorrow off (from climbing) and kayak in the morning, while the sea is a little less choppy, then make an attempt at getting to the lagoon. It is a pretty vicious trail (has ropes as handrails)...we will see!?!?!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Finally, the day has come!

Today, during our breakfast we got the call!! Somehow Wee's climbing called the local climbing shop by our resort. They informed us that we were being called up to the big game today....Deep Water Soloing! There are not many pics because we didn't take many with our camera that we load pictures to the blog...we used our better camera. I guess you will have to wait until we get home!

The picture above is from the second area we went to and was mainly traversing (moving horizontal along the rock). The first area we went to involved more vertical movement...we both went up about 50 feet. It is a little scary falling from that high. Mike really dug it, I am going to stick to being roped up! I like knowing something will catch me. Plus, while you are falling it is hard to remember to keep your mouth closed. We both got salt water in our throat, mouth and ears! Not that enjoyable. This really helps you want to stay on the rock, but once you get to the only have one choice. Think about it!

After a couple of hours of climbing, we motored over to a deserted beach for a lunch break. It was nice having our feet on the ground. The waves were making everyone a little woozy. After lunch we moved to the area shown above.

We are really enjoying the people we meet here, both Thai's and other travellers. They all are very accomidating and we feel we are friends with everyone. It is a very inviting atmosphere. We are loving it!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This entry is going to be short pictures...sorry!! Our battery died while we were sitting here uploading pics. Deal with it!

We had another day of dissappointment with deep water soloing. Our lack of a cell phone that works here makes it difficult. We have been sitting on the beach for the past 3 mornings waiting for them to pick us show! We are hoping to get a trip in before we leave, it all depends on if they have enough people sign up before Saturay (which is when we leave this amazing area).

The picture above is of me climbing in the Wee's Present climbing area. The climbs here are so steep I am tired after one. My lack of being able to do a pull up is really causing me to "suck wind" in climbing. Mike is like a rock star (literally), but after he does 4 climbs in a row he is pretty tire too! I think it might be the lack of resting between each lead that does him in!

After our climbing, a horrendous storm blew in. We got to see a water spout (a small tornado over the water). Silly people sitting on the beach just sat and watched it...we moved out of the way. They didn't find it so entertaining when it came ashore and almost blew them over and covered them with sand!

I took a Thai cooking class this afternoon. I was the only student, so we cooked everything I selected! It was great! Amazingly enough, I could actually make these things at home. We are really enjoying the Thai meals, they are delicious and fresh! I have a great picture of the pad thai I made, but you will have to wait for another day (see reason above).

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Fruits of Thailand

Here is a view from the top of a climb on the Escher World wall. It was a fun day of climbing in the shade!! Which is necessary...we need to get out of the sun sometime! Even with this being the low season, there were still 3 other guided parties around us. Imagine what it must be like during peak season!! Climbing is definitally one of the fruits of Thailand!
This evening we took a sunset snorkelling tour. The sunset and the snorkelling were second to an incredible meal on the beach and swimming with the phosphoresent phytoplakton (sp?). Imagine swimming in dark water with lightning bugs attached to your skin and the water when you move! That was absolutely spectacular! Also, getting to see the stars was a highlight for Nicole. We were able to see both the Southern Cross AND Polaris!! That is magical! (It's the Science teacher in me!) Another fruit of Thailand is the incredible beaches and beautiful sunsets!
Finally, the real fruits of Thailand. We sampled some mangosteen (a local favorite) and it was delicious. You eat the white fruit in the center. It was an incredible two days. We are hoping to finally get to go deep water soloing (climbing above water with no ropes) tomorrow. The trip requires a minimum number of people to go, so we are waiting. Patiently, as you can tell!!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Welcome To The Jungle!

Yes, we hiked up and thru that jungle!! We had just applied sunscreen and it was SOOOO hot it looked like we were both sweating milk! What we thought was a 15 min walk turned into a 45 min. strenuous hike. We did get to our final destination to make arrangements for deep water soloing. We are going tomorrow...oh yeah!!

After sweating out milk, I think everyone deserves a pineapple milkshake. I love the fact that you can get pineapple with EVERYTHING! Pineapple shakes, pineapple cashew chicken, pineapple on the beach.... that is my heaven!

Friday, July 24, 2009

SPF 70

We brought 2 bottles of sunscreen (less than 3 oz. of course) and will have to purchase more. Since anything above SPF 15 is hard to find around here, we are going to have to search. We learned that our application skills leave something to be desired. Our midwestern skin is not used to this!! Anything that was not covered by clothing or a thick layer of sunscreen resembles a tomato. This is really cutting into my thai massages!!
We got here!! Railey East/West is amazing!! When took a long boat from Krabi, and due to low tide we got the privilege of walking inland (the beach on this side is mainly coral..very rough). We spent the rest of the day exploring the areas, it is a walk to go to West Riley, which is a nicer beach.

The approaches to the climbs are a real pain. We have to wait until low tide...Mike is on edge all day until the water goes down! Oh yeah, who's the guy with the yellow pack (it's like where's waldo!)?

Mike really was dedicated to this climb. All of those pull-ups are paying off!! This is the reason Mike came to Thailand...climbing on the beach! Mike has been dreaming about climbing on this specific formation for years. What are we going to do with the other 9 days we are here?? Any guesses??

He is loving it here because of the climbing...I am loving the fact they serve corn on the cob every night (oh yeah, the beach, climbing, food, people are nice too!!).

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Flying South

We are leaving today to fly to Krabi. We have a hotel booked and transportation to the hotel arranged, but not sure how we are going to make that connection. I guess we will find out! As I always say, when you are in another long as you have money, you will be OK!

This morning I woke up hungry for noodle is just so good!! The fruit is also amazing, who knew pineapple could be so fabulous!
Today we got out and around in town. We headed in from our hotel (on the outskirts of Bangkok). I got to have the juice from a fresh coconut (see left), which I have been wanting to do since our trip to Costa Rica (where I didn't get one). I found that much of my desire to drink this was lost after the first sip...not as good as expected. Mike had to be the trooper and finish it.

We also went to the Grand Palace, which was amazing! We had the guided tour, which helped us learn a lot about the culture and the many kings. The amount of gold used in construction of the buildings was unbelievable. One of the buildings is build out of marble which is completely covered with 24k gold. I don't know much about construction, but I do know about gold!!It was spectacular. These people really know how to decorate!!

After the tour of the palace, we got some pad tai (sp?) and went on a long boat ride up the river to the floating market. There were not many vendors today. Below you can see a picture of one of the vendors coming over to our boat. Mike got a coke, she asked if we wanted to buy a beer for the driver of our boat. We respectfully declined.
Both of us also experienced our first Thai massage. It was interesting, yet I enjoyed it. The best description I have of the process is that it is like a wrestling match, but the therapist always wins. Good thing I warned Mike, he would have tried to pin the lady. She was only 90lbs (MAYBE!), yet she could really pack a punch....literally!
We are leaving tomorrow for Krabi. This flight is less than 2 hours, but would take 13 hours by train. I am glad we picked the flight!!!
Thanks those of you that are actually reading this. We appreciate you checking in on us!! Love ya lots!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Answer is: 27 hours

Yes, that is the amount of time we spent in either airports OR airplanes to get here!! We watched 5 movies and ate 3 meals on the plane (international travel is the way to go!!). Thank you Suzy for the advice about the taxi service (we were tempted to use the people in the yellow jackets!!). The beds are short, would have struggled with ducking to get into the elevator!

We have made it to Bangkok, had an amazing noodle soup for breakfast and are ready to go out on the town. We should have some pictures later.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

T-minus 15hours

Our flight leaves at 6am tomorrow morning. Mike and I are trying to tie up loose ends around the house AND get packed. There are important things to take care of (i.e. What songs do I want on my Ipod for the trip? Is there Mtn. Dew in Thailand?) before we can be completely ready.

We are not going to have internet access again until we are in the country. We are hoping to post some great pics while we are there...wish us luck!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Preparation, it's not easy

We are one week away...and we have to get the house ready for rally renters, pack for Thailand (which we are not totally sure what to bring), I will be gone for the week, Mike has to work, and we have a family reunion. We are doing this classic "Keegan" style!