After another free bowl of the delicious combo of fruits, muesli, and yogurt to kickstart the day, I had to cross the Tonsai to Railay forested overpass once more. I had been getting second thoughts about leaving Railay. Despite it being more expensive and the the sleeping arrangement being less than stellar, I truly adored the place and was not quite ready to say goodbye. The idea of doing some deep water soloing (free rock climbing without any ropes attached before falling into the sea) piqued my interests and exploring the coves could have lasted me awhile longer. My forearms were shot to pieces after all that climbing to the point I would have struggled lifting a piece of bamboo. Railay has joined Pai in my list of favorite travel destinations in Thailand as well as the world but sometimes you have to move on even when you aren’t quite ready. Along the beach, crabs busily worked their magic in the morning’s soft sun and the tide called off to sea. These ghost crabs that blended effortlessly with their sandy environment peeked in and out of their hole bound homes. When opportunity struck, they dashed out of those holes rolling up finely tuned, microscopic marbles of sands before depositing them on the beach before repeating the process. You may be wondering why on earth I would notice such a thing, something so minute and seemingly inconsequential. My friends, look around and look closely. The gems in life and the things worth their salt aren’t always beckoning to be noticed, not flaunting their charm. These are the moments that surprise; don’t take them for granted. When I zoomed out my scope a bit to take in more of the beach, I could see many of these tiny balls of sand scattered across the beach forming some sort of interpretive piece of art like dot painting. All those small pieces came together to create something greater, something that goes beyond its individual parts. After viewing that spectacle and taking in my last look of Railay beach and it’s beautiful karst rocks, I checked in with the travel agency that I booked my onward passage with. The ‘woman’ running the place was clearly a ladyboy; he or she wasn’t fooling anyone. I’m not here to judge, as they say to each his or her own, but I can’t deny the creepiness of it all. I’m not sure if I misheard it or there was some sort of misunderstanding but yesterday night when I booked the transit ticket he-she told me that I could sleep with him-her so I wouldn’t have to cross over to Tonsai and back. Maybe he-she owned a hostel or guesthouse that I wasn’t aware of but that didn’t seem to be the case. I declined the offer before making a rushed getaway. Now back to today. She asked me if I wanted a fruit shake for free since she was getting one anyways so I said sure why not. After some time passed she and another ladyboy led me to East Railay to that side’s pier and my departing boat. This other ladyboy was particularly persistent. She kept asking me questions about myself even when I clearly was trying to cut the conversation short and avoid all eye contact as much as possible. Being hit on by a ladyboy sent my whole body shivering like an Arctic winter as my nerves restlessly tried to escape. Eventually I got onto the boat that left Railay behind. The water wasn’t choppy and the boat moved fairly slow yet my stomach felt a bit off. My first assumption was that the ladyboy spiked my fruit shake but I was probably jumping to conclusions. Before long, I was in Khao Lak, a place that looks nothing like Thailand. I could drop you off on the street and you would think that you were in Florida, California, or some beach resort town along the Mediterranean but not Thailand. My first order of business was to take care of the remaining financials of my upcoming scuba trip and get my gear all sized up. After diving the Great Barrier Reef, I can’t believe I will be diving once more, in a place on most every scuba diver’s bucket list. The hostel that I prearranged is attached to a German restaurant. Khao Lak is a popular spot for the older crowd and families of Europe but why eat German food in Thailand when you always have that waiting at home. I miss my Western food as well but Thailand has too many great dishes that I have yet to explore. The hostel itself is luxurious compared to what I had been used to lately that you could practically call it the Hilton. I spent the rest of the day lazying around before going to the beach for a run and a swim. I am truly envious of people that live even remotely close to a beach. Something about jogging on a sandy beach just feels right and more freeing than the pavement. It was kind of like a sweaty, unsexy version of Baywatch. The long stretch of beach is beautiful with golden yellow sand but a bit crowded. After a sunset that couldn’t touch Railay’s, I got some Thai food and went back to the hostel to relax and chat with some people that had gotten back from the liveaboard trips. Hearing their stories of what they saw and experienced only amps up my excitement for what is to come.
Thailand Day 77: An Awkward Encounter