Third Entry

Krabi Travel Blog

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Hello everyone, sorry it's been so long since we've written, but Internet access in Krabi is very expensive and painfully slow.

After leaving Pai, we returned to Chiang Mai to prepare for our trip to Krabi.  One of the most important tasks before leaving was to purchase a necklace for Garrett's boss, Darlene.  The necklaces can only be purchased on the street from a hill-tribe vendor (the hill tribes are a bunch of different tribes living in Thailand who are unable to gain citizenship).  The hill-tribe vendors are also the most aggressive vendors in the world.  Finding a hill-tribe vendor is easy, getting a fair price and getting rid of the vendor are the hard part.  We finally found the necklace we were looking for in the night market of Chiang Mai.  Unfortunately, it was at the back of the basket hanging from the vendors neck; no chance to inspect it without the woman knowing what we were looking at.  As soon as Garrett picked up the necklace, we were surrounded by 4 women (almost all the vendors are women) hawking their wares.  After some negotiation, we settled on a reasonable price and the woman grabbed Rachel and began tying the necklace around her neck.  While Rachel was getting the necklace, Garrett started talking to one of the younger women about where they were from.  Between shouts of "Akha number 1!" (the women were all from the Akha hill tribe) the woman began making motions that he should punch one of the older women for luck, we think.  After that they tied friendship bracelets around our wrists (which makes us think we paid too much for the necklace).  50 feet down the sidewalk we ran into another hill-tribe vendor, this one was an 80 year old woman.  She saw the necklace on Rachel and decided we needed a second to match it.  She grabbed Rachel around the throat and began showing her how great this second, smaller necklace would look when positioned above or below the one we already had.  Rachel began laughing too hard to defend herself so Garrett had to try to pry the ancient woman's hands off of her neck without hurting her or her feelings.  We finally managed to run from the old woman and hid the Akha necklace we'd bought to prevent any more aggressive vendors from getting wrong ideas.

The next day we caught the overnight bus to the beach town of Krabi.  From the bus station, we went to the resort town of Ao Nang where we were met with a rude surprise.  Prices in Ao Nang are double to quadruple that of Chiang Mai.  To save money, we took the cheapest (and worst) guesthouse room we could find.  The place was pretty clean and the people were nice but the room was basically in the basement and had zero ventilation.  The room quickly heated up and grew humid and nasty with only one small fan to circulate the stagnant air.  There wasn't really much to do in Ao Nang either.  Rachel bought a sarong after bargaining the guy down to less than a third of his asking price (she's definitely the expert when it comes to bargaining).  We went to McDonald's for cheap ice cream.  That's about it.

After a couple days we moved on to Ton Sai (a beach with a few guesthouses and restaurants on it).  Ton Sai also has good rock climbing, one of our primary reasons for being in Thailand.  Rachel did the bargaining again and got us a really cheap room ($4.50 a night!).  The first few days we spent on the beach and in the warm ocean waters.  We went climbing at Diamond Cave, a place known for its easy (5.9/10a) and fun climbs.  Luckily there weren't too many people there and getting used to the limestone wasn't too bad.  However, we were sore since we hadn't climbed in a few weeks.  We spent the next couple of days recovering on the beach and getting another $5/hr Thai massage.  We were back to climbing the next day and did the really steep climbs right on Tonsai beach.  One was called Stalagasaurus since you had to use the stalagtites for the climb. Then we went on a sunset sail with a Thai dude who needed money for his next sailing adventure.   On the boat, Garrett banged his head several times, but Rachel was fine.  He also met a friend of his old college buddy, Nick Storm.  Everything went smoothly until we had to flag down a longtail boat to get us at the mooring, which was a lot harder than one might think.  However, some sort of random morse code with flashlights seemed to work after a while.

The next day we hiked to Railey beach to do some more classic climbs.  While we were walking to the climb, we passed Rachel's friend Kris from U of I and invited him and his friend, Agata, to come climbing.  Rachel and Kris had lost touch for a year and half, but happend to find each other halfway across the world!  So we all went climbing and did another stalagtite climb. This time you had to stand on the beach and jump up to hug the stalagtite for the start.  The next day we rested, got massages, and swam in the ocean and met Kris for dinner.  Then we went to a big party where a Thai band played American music until 8am! (we left at 2am).

The next day we got up late and by the time we got around to climbing it started raining.  SO we each got one climb in.  Then we walked on the beach and collected shells.  We took Kris and Agata to Tonsai (they were staying on Railey) to our regular restaurant.  The guys who runs it is a narc and he just moved to the beach so they have one menu for the whole place and not much food to choose from.  But the family was really nice and could make vegetarian food so we kept going back.  We all got Thai pancakes for dessert and then went for a foot massage (A first for us!).

In the morning we said goodbye to the Thai friends we made, sold our climbing harnesses for some quick cash, and packed up for Koh Tao.  We are halfway there right now on a layover.  We are taking an overnight ferry and hear that we have to sleep on the floor.

We hope everyone is doing well.  We return to Yose in less than a week!

Love,
Garrett and Rachel

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photo by: forevert2