Jemma here 🙂
Just squashed a mozzie gliding around my legs and I got blood on my hands, ew… And another squashed mozzie, more blood on hands…
We are back in J.Mansion hotel in Ao Nang.
Quite a bit seems to have happened since we left 4/5 days ago. We hopped on a longtail on the beach, 1 minute from the hotel and sailed round to Tonsai. The crossing was still 100 baht each, good value for the 10 minute trip around to the bay.
We checked into Mountain View Resort for 700 baht for a fan room. You kind of forget how hard it is to get by in a fan room in the sweltering heat when there’s only electricity between 6pm and 6am. It’s dark by 5.30pm so even getting around the bungalow becomes a chore until they flick the switch. It’s funny because you pay relatively quite a lot to stay there and you get limited electric, no air-con and a cold shower. The Thai’s are sat about watching TV all day and you wonder where their electric is tapped from…
So we wandered around our first night and there have been some changes on Tonsai. There’s a lot of building work going on (by barefoot or flip flopped men), it seems they are building real “resorts” here, dragging pipes around, turning over the 100% mud path all day which you have to jump over or trudge through if there’s no way round. There’s piles of rubbish everywhere! There are no bins on Tonsai. Only piles of crap ready to be burnt. Everything gets burned. No rubbish leaves the bay. In the afternoons while you were waiting for the generator to kick in so it wasn’t 100 degrees in the bungalow we sat on the balcony of our room, chokin on plooms of plastic smoke. It’s a 5/10 minute walk back to our room from the beach and during that walk you smell either rotting rubbish or burning plastic, all day long. Unless it rains, this provides a relief from the smells. I can’t believe how rank it’s gotten there.
The prices of all the food have gone up, and to be honest the food on Tonsai was tiring last time, the standard was low. Now there is no standard. The people have become a little bit rude too, if you aren’t buying they don’t have the time of day for you. And they’re all over weight now too… skinny people 3 years ago are now sat on their asses whilst skinny workers from poorer parts of Thailand like Ranong run round like slaves in the food places.
So is it any wonder that we were both violently ill here?! Probably not. I was ill first for the full day and night and Taz the following day and night. There’s nothing worse than being ill with nothing at all to cool you down, no fan, no air con. Just still 32 degree air inside and out. We can’t really pin what it was that’s made us ill. Although we have an inkling it’s not that foods under cooked or something, but because pretty much nothing seems to get washed. I’ve never seen a bottle of disinfectant here and if they maybe use cold water for “rinsing” plates etc. Tonsai is a breeding ground, it’s absolutely disgusting. If they things building a resort with a pool is going to help them they better get off their lazy asses and start hauling the shit heaps off the bay because no-one’s going to pay top end to stay next to the plastic fire.
On the plus side yesterday when we climbed round on Railay we found a beautiful beach called Phra Nang beach. There’s climbing on that too. The sea’s clear and deep and we just bobbed about for a few hours and had a rest. We got food round on Railay for dinner too. The staff on Railay are true professionals, they care about customers, they provide nice cleanly prepared food and they actually charge less or the same as round on Tonsai’s dump for it. It is more expensive to stay on Railay, but I would definitely say stay here if you’re climbing and walk round to Tonsai if you want to visit and climb or take the long tail boat round if you can’t be bothered with the mountain path, cutting through the rocks on the beach or if the tide is too high to scramble around the rocks at ground level. There are bins on Railay, proper concrete paths and some nice places to get food. There’s even a cash machine here and air-conditioned mini-mart shops. You could even stay on Ao Nang, there’s a decent selection of bars and restaurants here. When we were here 4/5 days ago we went down a side street to a bar where the locals were nice and we sat up chatting to the people in there until the early hours. Friendly.
Last night on Tonsai we sat in a quiet bar, the Viking Bar which has just been “done up” and the man that owns it seemed really nice. There were other Thai guys in there, relaxing. There were also a couple in there that live in the Alps and a guy on his own from Melbourne, Oz. He was there working, taking pictures of Krabi. The bar staff were gathered at 1 end, eating something and drinking shots and before we know it they’re welcoming us in and we realise the food is raw squid with a sweet, spicy chilli dip and we try some. They recon squid is good for Taz’s still gurgling belly! A very old man, very thin and VERY dark skinned is the catcher of the squid, he wades out, or kayaks out when the tide is low with his torch and prawn look-a-like hook thingies. He eats what he catches in this bar, with his Thai friends everyday. He doesn’t speak a work of english but he continually slides the squid and the shots our way with a massive smile. The shots are rice wine, very strong, and we have a few of those too. Later on after too many Changs they bring out a a Tuna that has been BBQ’d in the back, more of the catch from the old guy. It’s times like this that make Thailand memorable. Thank you Viking Bar staff 🙂
Between throwing up we did get a few climbs in.
So we climbed most routes on the Muay Thai wall round on Railay. They are 6a-6b+ range. We climbed on Dum’s kitchen on Tonsai, a route called “jumping for jugs” because there’s a bit dip under the wall so you literally tiptoe of a rock that has been rolled into a convenient spot on the floor and cling to 2 jugs above you and swing your legs up to your left so you can heel hook in and jump your hands up to another couple of jugs and you’re on your way. That was fun. Graded a 6c. We also did a few routes on a wall known as Tonsai Gym, tough routes there. We stuck to the 6’s here too, they seem challenging enough mentally. It was great to lead climbs here. Every girl we saw climbing here was top roping or following a climb that the man she was with had put up for her. So I made a point of leading all my own climbs and not resting on the rope unless I fall. I like to climb this way. It’s more satisfying. I don’t understand why they weren’t leading even the easiest of climbs that they were clearly capable of leading themselves.
Tomorrow we may head up to Ranong, break the trip down into a few stops along the way to Chiang Mai. It’s 32 degrees there too. It’s still a long w\journey though, I think around 7 hours on a bus, maybe more… We won’t be staying down South for the Full Moon party as originally planned, we’re outta here! After Ranong there’s no repeat visits to places we’ve been apart from passing through Bangkok of course.
Anyways, bye for now. I am retreating to the comfort of the air-con room we have here now. And going for a brew 🙂
Oh PS – Upon closer inspection it seems the Bangkok bus men nicked Taz’s favorite jeans out of his big bag, his petzl head torch and his “genuine” t-shitys etc. Even his crocs. The jeans are the worst bit, they were expensive at home and they were for fancier nights in Hong Kong and Macau where the weather is cooler…