Last day of year 2011, I didn't know what to do. Boxing and diving that I had planned to do before I came here have already been done, so there's no regret for me really. Having a holiday, it's so easy for me to forget the days. Saturday, sunday or even NYE were nothing special to me any more, everyday just felt the same. I thought of doing another day of fun diving, but my foot just got hurt from the fin previous day. So I thought I'd better take a break and doing something else. Those nice people I met in the hotel were leaving for their next destinations. I felt I was alone again. Oh well, there's no interminable feast. People come and go, I had to adjust myself to move on.
I walked to the tourist booth at the corner near my hotel, browsing around the leaflet to see what I can do.
Elephant are coming for the banana feeding
It's already afternoon, lots of scheduled tour started from morning only. So I decided to do the elephant trekking, which could be arranged for pickup here in 40min time. Another guy was also looking to do something at the booth. We had a brief chat, and I got to know that he's an army officer from Kuwait and decided to join me for the trekking. The Thai lady in the booth was very happy that soon she made 2 deals. I walked back to the hotel get myself some mozzie repellent and came back. The Kuwaiti also walked back and kindly bought me a bottle of water. Then a van came and picked us up. There're 2 Chinese couples already in the van, later they picked up another guy of mideast appearance on the way. It took about another 20mins drive to the mountain area.
Kids love feeding the elephant
We saw the elephants were coming. Each elephant can take 3 people, one guide and two guests. You can buy bananas to feed elephant, which they charge you 100bht. Lots of kids loved it. It seemed to be Muslin region over there. I can hear the chanting. Lots of monkeys and duckling nearby.
Then we queued and hopped on the chair at the back of the elephant. It's quite a scary experience when the elephant started to walk along that narrow steep mountain road. The whole journey was quite bumpy, I could only hope it put its foot steady and not to throw us down the cliff. There's only a thin loose rope symbolically fasten our seats. Like the Kuwaiti said, it's zero safety. I noticed he's keeping murmured something when elephant started to walk.
I managed to catch one word he said"ilhandulilah" I reckoned it meant praise Allah. He's praying for about 5mins or so. He told me his hand was full of sweat and this's first and last time to do this elephant trekking. I wondered how he could handle himself during the war. Halfway on top of the mountain, the old man who rode at our front getting down from the elephant, he just turned around and took a leak. It's a nice view from the mountain to the beach further down. He helped us taking quite a few pictures and hopped back on. Then we were brought to a smooth road, where was sharing with other motor vehicles. Over there I felt so much better. We had a pause near the beach. I saw a tiny cat was trapped among the rocks down the cliff.
Pause near the beach.
Poor cat, I didn't know how it got there. Later when the elephant walked back, people on top of mountain started to light the non-stopping fireworks. It was so loud, the elephant got scared and shivering, which kind freaked us out, hopefully it wouldn't throw us down the cliff. It took a while for the old men to calm the elephant down and kept walking. I reckoned they said something to the people who lit the firework, so it stopped for a while. Another 10mins or so, we were safely back and took more pictures and transported back to the hotel.
When I got back to my dorm, I saw my 3 new roommates. I can't help laughing when I stepped inside the door, they all started to put their shirts and pants on. We said hello to each other and I got to know 2 of the guys hugging their laptops were from Singapore, the other was Malaysian who was sleeping.
Poor little cat
They said they just came back from Phi Phi island tour and got a rest for now. I charged my battery, sorted out some of my stuff and walked out to grab a bite. Lots of guys down at hotel bar were celebrating new year's eve. They said tonight there's a big party at the beach, and they were going to lock down here. The bar staff asked me to join them.
Later I walked together with some of the hotel guests to the beach. There're five of us, 2 of them happened to be my previous roommates, they've only stayed 1 night and moved to the other dorm, so I didn't get to know them well. There were so many people in the crazy Bangla road. Later we were lost each other in the crowds. Only me and the Canadian guy were together. So we sat down the beach and watching the firework and flying lanterns.
It's incredible like a war. Also it's a bit dangerous cos people light those fireworks on just 2 meters next to you. I still remembered the bad experience of the firework in my childhood, when I hold a fire pole and lit it, it burnt the wrong side and I got my thumb injured, lucky it's recovered later. I didn't feel very safe around there, as millions people just lit the fireworks near you. But the Canadian seemed very enjoy himself, so I felt bad to ask for move away. He later put his earphone on my head, so that I felt a bit better, but danger still existed. People drank lots of beers and couldn't find toilet nearby, they simply walked to the sea and took a leak. Wherever I saw a guy in the front facing the sea and stand still, I knew they were just peeing. There was a girl walking with her partner in front those guys and she suddenly realized one guy was peeing, she was eewing and looked away. That guy was just laughing, not felt ashamed at all.
I didn't know how long we stayed at the beach. When we walked back to the hotel, it's already new year. When I got inside my room, I was alone, my roommates were all gone, must be partying somewhere else.