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Ban Ao Nang, Thailand

I've been to Malaysia again for visa run #2. On the way back, I spent another couple nights in Trang and explored some more of the surrounding area on a rented motorscooter. This time, I made it way down some dirt road and stopped to watch this cool Thai Eagle (like a slightly smaller bald eagle, but brown instead of black), when up scoots a local, shouting greetings. We talked a minute, and he invited me back to his home for lunch.

I followed him down an ever-crazier series of dirt roads, cart tracks, footpaths, and jungle trails until we finally came into a clearing with a couple shacks on stilts and an overview of some ponds and mangroves. By the time I had the Thai dictionary out and found myself a place on the floor of the hut, all the neighbor kids had come running up and were standing in a bunch by the door, staring and giggling. I tried out my Thai "Ben dtek Thai chop farang (thai kids like barbarians)." with much success. Got a tasty meal and some good Thai practice before motorscooting onward to go swimming at an empty beach.

And for the record, these were in fact the dreaded Southern Thailand Muslims, though none to separatist nor fanatical at the moment. Just to tempt fate a bit more, I put in a good attempt to handle one of their chickens.

Two days ago, four of us went up Ao Nang tower, this big spire of rock sticking out of the sea. You get there by hiring a boat to the tower and stepping off the bow onto a ledge at the base of the route. The route is 80 meters long, and you do it in three pitches, with lots of scary moves on overhanging rock with a very pronounced feeling of exposure. Getting down is the fun part. You flag down a passing boatman, then rappel the final 50 meters into the boat. Even better, since the boat drifts away a bit during the time it takes to lower, and you are the only thing it's tied to, you end up rapping down over the open ocean until you can just dip a toe into it. Then the boatman reels you and the boat together and pulls you aboard. Too much fun!

I may be moving on to Laos before too long.

permalink written by  Jason Kester on March 11, 2004 from Ban Ao Nang, Thailand
from the travel blog: Southeast Asia, the Trans Siberian and Scandenavia
tagged MotorBike and Locals

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