Day 108: In The Jungle, The Mangrove Jungle

Start as we mean to go on. That seemed to be our philosophy. Today was another action packed one. We started our day at 7:15am (bit of a lie in), got dressed, then walked to the 7 Eleven to grab some breakfast. Not before getting locked out of our room.
“Got the key Sarah?”
“Yes…”
*door closes*
“I put it in your bag”
“Damn it!”
Fortunately the staff had a spare and we got our key back. We only had a toasted sandwich for breakfast, which I knew wouldn’t keep me full for long. At 8am a tuktuk pulled up outside. He was there to take us to our kayak day trip location. It appeared to take forever to get there, partly due to the fact we had to go to Ao Nang to pick up others. We befriended an Australian couple who climbed aboard, but even when we finished the day trip we didn’t get their names. It’s funny to think you can speak with people for that long and still not introduce yourselves. It seems you have to do it within the first 5 minutes of talking, otherwise the window of opportunity passes and the whole thing becomes a bit weird. After only one more stop the tuktuk was full. 20 minutes later we arrived at the kayak centre.

Because it was early morning it meant the tide was low, this was annoying as we had to tread through the wet mud. It felt horrible as it squished between our toes, but we were soon on our kayaks and paddling away, following our guide. We were each given dry bags in order to keep our belongings from getting damaged. The safety check was also worth mentioning. Basically, it was one question:

“could we swim?”

We all said yes, and by doing that it meant we wouldn’t be receiving life jackets. The water wasn’t very deep anyway so falling out wouldn’t be an issue. Our guide was very good, he gave us little historic facts about each area we stopped at. One of which was a burial ground in a cave. He said because they didn’t have religion back then, no beliefs, they would bury lost loved ones within the rocks. He then went on to say that it hadn’t happened for a long time, at least 100 years. Besides the brown murky water we were floating on, everything around us was so beautiful. Sarah said at one point that it would be a great location for a movie. She was right. It was very easy to feel minute compared to the behemoth cliffs around us.

All the way up the rock faces were trees, bushes and other greenery, looking like pretty acne. It became slightly tedious, not the views, but the amount of times Sarah would say take my picture. “All I want to do is paddle woman!” Although, saying that, the whole photography thing became slightly easier when we entered the slow moving current. It gave my muscles a respite from the rowing act. As we moved farther through the mangroves, the sun was soon blocked out completely. There was a constant noise throughout our trip. It was a loud hissing like sound, when I asked the guide what it was he told me it was insects. Very small in size but large in number. There had to be thousands to make the racket they were. We had to group together at one point as our guide told us the next section was very narrow and we would have to go single file.

It just kept getting better and better. Instead of there being cliffs either side of us, there were mangrove trees. They were strange looking trees. Their roots were on the outside of the ground, and stuck out of the water like sharks fins. We continued rowing at a gentle pace and were lucky to be in the middle of our small group. I say this because halfway through the mangrove forest monkeys appeared, and jumped onto the Australian couples kayak in front of us. There were 2 of them, and they were very happy to make themselves at home, just like 2 furry stowaways. Our guide soon shooed them away, but not before the monkey stared at the female Aussie for throwing her bottled water overboard. That was the sole reason he hopped aboard in the first place.

Sarah had a little panic because she was afraid the monkeys would jump on our kayak. By panicking we ended up crashing our kayak into a mangrove’s roots. We were then stuck. With a push and a shove we managed to free ourselves and continued on as normal. The monkeys were funny though. They tried again a bit farther down, but as one attempted to jump onto a British couple’s kayak, the girl at the front hit it away with her paddle. The poor thing splashed into the water but held onto the side of the kayak. It was a bit startled from the ordeal so chose to jump straight off the other side to the comfort of the mangroves. The next main sight of our trip was a place called Crocodile Cave. There used to be crocodiles there, that’s how it got the name. Nowadays the only living thing to dwell there are Mosquitos. Our guide failed to tell us that before we paddled in. Instead he waited until we had taken our photos and returned to his side.

The final leg of the journey was even thinner, the only way we could manoeuvre through was to use our hands. We pulled ourselves along by using the roots of the trees, like a lazy Tarzan and Jane. At one point we passed a stray monkey which was both camouflaged, and eyeballing us. He reminded me of Rafiki from the lion king. He looked like he was either meditating or ready to pounce. By the time we reached the open waters again, and paddled back to the beginning we had covered 5-7km. It didn’t feel like it. The blessing upon our return, was that we didn’t have to trudge through the mud, as the tide was in. We paddled right up to the steps and got out there.

However, Sarah and I were a tad wet due to accidental/purposeful/revenge splashes to each other from our occasional differences. We were then given a post paddle snack in the form of watermelon and pineapples. The watermelon had more pips in one slice than I had ever experienced from a whole one. On the other hand the pineapple was delicious. Sarah and I then said our goodbyes and were given a lift directly back to Krabi Town. We had to share the van with a German couple, and their 2 year old son. They were very friendly, even if Sarah and I had to hold up most of the conversations. Half an hour later we were dropped off outside our guesthouse.

We each hopped in the shower to wash off the muddy water, Sarah then told me Jamie Bliss was in town. We agreed to meet him, as he was staying in a hostel just down the road. We spotted him sat in the lobby playing on his phone. The first thing we noticed, apart from his burnt red skin, was his new haircut. He had short back and sides, and there was a white line running all the way around the short bits, where the sun previously couldn’t reach. The 3 of us then went for food. During that time Sarah discovered there was a cinema in Krabi. After dinner we caught a local bus (a tuktuk van essentially) there. What we then discovered was that the cinema played English movies but they were Thai dubbed. Sarah’s defence was that the website was English, ergo the cinema should have been.

We then spent another 20 baht to catch a return bus to Krabi Town. At one point of the journey a group of young school kids hopped aboard. There was one boy in particular that was confident, and asked for our names before he introduced himself. He left not long after. When we eventually arrived back in town, we made a quick stop in the 7 Eleven and continued back to Jamie’s hostel to relax. We stayed there for a couple hours. We played some pool (which we had to pay for, 20 baht a game the cheeky swines), while Sarah played on my phone, mostly to avoid boredom. When Sarah and I eventually left, we told Jamie we’d meet him just before 7pm. That way he could join us for dinner with Hayley and Jason.

With one final shower and costume change, and me getting to work on the days blog, 6:55pm soon rolled around. We met Jamie, walked down the hill, then introduced him to our new friends when they arrived. The 5 of us sat at the seafood market for tea. We remained there for a couple of hours, exchanging funny stories of times gone and the like. When it came time to pay the bill we were pretty sure the old woman miscalculated. With all of us certain we paid the right amount for our food, somehow there was still some missing. We worked it out eventually, then we all walked back to Jamie’s hostel to hang out for the evening. Not before stopping for corn and pancakes though. Jamie’s hostel was really good, it was called Pak-Up. It had a very chilled atmosphere and live music.

As the night went on it began to fill with more people. We continued exchanging funny stories into the night, at one point Jamie spotted a girl sitting on her own looking slightly bored. So Jamie (being the gentleman he is) suggested Sarah went over to invite her to join us. She did, and we found out her name was Katrina and she was from Ireland. Sarah disappeared near to the end so she could make a Skype call to her friend back home. Katrina, Hayley, Jason and myself decided to obey the calling of our stomachs and go for food, again. As for Jamie, well, he went to bed.

The four of us left Sarah in the lobby and walked down the hill to get some pancakes, mostly because that’s the only stall that was still open at the time. When we finished eating them, we decided they weren’t enough. We then wandered around the corner to 7 Eleven for some toasties, as if anything could do the trick it would be them. While I was waiting for it to cook I got chatting with a ladyboy. To be honest he didn’t make much of an effort to look less manly, and he used my tattoo as an excuse to keep touching my arm. He then asked where I was staying in town. I told him a different hostel name, to which he replied “oh, I don’t know it, there are many guesthouse here, he he he”. That then concluded our conversation.

The 4 of us stood outside eating our food and chatting, but ended up doing that whole “ok, we’ll see you guys tomorrow then”, but ended up chatting again for another 10 minutes every time it happened. Eventually we said goodbye for the last time and I walked Katrina back to Pak-Up where I thought I’d find Sarah. She had gone! I did a quick sweep check of the hostel but couldn’t find her anywhere. I asked the receptionist if he had seen her, he pointed and said something but I didn’t understand. I think he was trying to say she had gone to the market to find us, when? I don’t know. I jogged back up the hill towards our hostel and there she was. I bumped into her as she was coming back down. She gave me a telling off, then the pair of us returned to our messy room to go to sleep.

All’s well that ends well!

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