Travel as Metaphor

The blog of novelist Sue Swift.

Friday, February 09, 2007

On to Krabi

Sunday January 21: This is the kind of day that makes me think that I need a keeper. My flights to southern Thailand were YESTERDAY. I don’t know how but my mind mysteriously transmuted Saturday into Sunday…a lot has been going on emotionally. The Walua house closed this week and that was very emotional. Bruce and I had a lot of hopes and dreams bound up in that house…

I got lucky. I went to a travel agent recommended by a new friend and she got me onto flights south later today and made sure that the hotel still had my room for me.

Tuesday: I hate this place. Maybe my subconscious mind knew I’d loathe it and didn’t want me to go, made me forget the Saturday flights. The resort is a total backwater, dull as the dusty dirt beneath my feet. It’s utterly generic, could be plunked down in Palm Desert, Cancun or Florida—or anywhere—and fit in perfectly. So what’s the point?

The room itself looks nice, but it smells like rat poison and sweaty socks. It’s probably one of the three worst rooms in the entire place, being on the edge of the resort with a crappy view of the adjoining property, which is under construction. As a single older woman traveling alone, I have become accustomed to getting crappy rooms, and I am not in a position to tell the staff that I know they have better rooms available…they do have a big convention on site. (I have occasionally demanded a better room when I know that they are available. And gotten it).

On top of that, this place is nowhere near Krabi town, not that Krabi is anything special. Unless one gets a shuttle, it’s a 500 baht ride to the beach. That’s about $13. I would have rather stayed at the beach. My brother recommended this place, and it’s the last time I take his travel advice, since we don’t share tastes. (When I talked with him after the fact, his response to my belief that the place could be anywhere was an enthusiastic YEAH! As though it was a good thing.)

The staff have minimal notions of service, and later I heard from others that southern Thais are snotty, unlike the sweet northerners in Chiang Mai. The hotel internet costs 100 baht for a half hour, about fivbe times what it costs everywhere else in Thailand, including in Krabi town. The ladies at the desk refused to make a deal for the week, unheard of conduct. The workout room is minimally equipped.

Krabi itself is hot and humid, which I expected. The resort grounds are lovely, but it’s really not enjoyable when at 5:30 p.m. one is chased indoors by the heat. It was hot out at 10 in the morning, too. It’s totally enervating.

I am trying to make the best of it but wish I were home in Chiang Mai, where living wouldn’t cost me $75 per day. Unfortunately it would cost me more to leave now than to stay and stick it out. But I resolved to get the most out of the southern Thai experience that I can. I booked excursions for the next two days, one to the islands and some snorkeling, and the other a kayaking trip through the mangrove forests.

Island hopping ‘til 2 p.m. left me whipped, but did engender an appreciation of the Andaman islands of Thailand. The ocean’s temperature is comfortable, and I saw corals and sea urchins I had never seen before, as well as a couple of white tubular sea creatures with dark spots curled on the ocean floor which I wondered were sea snakes. I decided not to get close and find out since every sea snake I have read about is extremely venomous.

The seascape itself is quite interesting, with huge limestone monoliths thrusting out of the ocean, their sides dripping with stalactites and clothed with forest. Makes one wonder what geological process created them.

Check out the photos above--there's one of me in a cave and another of an island.

The next day I took the kayaking excursion through the seashore caves and mangrove forests, which was great. I have terrific photos, including some of a monkey perched on a kayak drinking from a woman’s water bottle. I also met some lovely people, a couple from Vancouver Island who were hanging with a guy from Brazil…we had a lot of fun.

24 Jan 07

I had a cool and interesting dream. I was with an unmarried cousin of mine who lives in London, but we were in downtown Sacramento. I come upon her when she was being harassed—someone was trying to take one of her rings, and I got rid of him. We wanted to get home to my mom’s but didn’t have a car. We walked to a place where a freeway offramp spilled onto the street next to a supermarket, where I thought a lot of taxis would pass (in waking reality there are few taxis in Sacramento, though it was at Q or P, where there might be some taxis. Maybe. But in reality there isn’t a supermarket there).

Good idea? But there were a lot of other people there clamoring for taxis and there were none, except one on an adjoining street, and someone got that.

I took her over to the state capitol to get a streetcar north that would go to Northridge which, btw is a suburb of Los Angeles and nowhere near Sacramento. It was late, and we went into the trolley office to talk to the lady there and get change. Finally the streetcar came and we got on. She stayed on while I got off somewhere, don’t remember when, and walked, sort of following the track, but climbing around and through other things.

Finally got home. Mom drove around to find me, I remember her exclaiming, in her usual dramatic style, “Where have you been?”

Weird, huh????


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