St Patrick's Day (should have washed my one and only green shirt). Bulls being walked (to show off? to paddock?) shiny and clean, horns polished, bright necklets. Rice being hand harvested; drying on strips of tarp along road. Not much you can't do from the back of a bike, carry poles (tricky round corners), hold canisters, sell goods (5 is maximum passengers seen so far on single bike). Found a bull fight, locking horns to see which one twists to ground first (so that’s where they were walking them!)
Found Hot Springs at base of limestone monolith from mud map drawn by local; must be therapeutic, hospital with beds and wheelchairs next door, healers/ masseuse, man bathing his arm with steel brace in bucket of waters - way too hot to immerse whole self (but GirlRob’s feet felt wonderful after dancing in and out of water). Catfish in pool, monkeys with babies abound.
Much harder to understand signs as we drive by, pictures not related to subject, unfamiliar alphabet - no English underneath as in many of Malay signs. No water on tap in service stations so far - will water be more difficult to obtain here? Bought sim card with data – like the pay as you go system. Good secondary roads, including one between Trang and Krabi. Reading out excerpts from Lonely Planet over CB radio to Guy and Cheryl re activities in Krabi, Phuket and Similan Island National Park. Passed an elephant hospital with a large patient in front yard. Houses a mix of old shacks and large modern ones made from new materials, bright floor tiles, stainless steel gates and patio fences. Temples more prolific than Malaysia with traditional steep roof and gilt/red motifs eg dragons, snakes.
Arrived Krabi, drove along beaches, magnificent limestone kaasts rising straight out of sea. Stopped at Noppharatthara Beach for swim, shallow for miles out (how can the ocean be this warm??) Brochure says " hoi chak tin - world’s biggest house of a feet pulling shell"(??) Found our first caravan park. Mozzies were annoying at dusk, but soon forgotten with a Mai Tai, followed by charcoal grilled prawns with garlic and pepper at seafood restaurant on beach. They had pictures of town being wiped out in 2004 tsunami. We had an awful karaoke singer, but the boys tipped him anyway.