Of Banana Plantations and Snorkelling

It’s fair to say that I’m currently very tired. We’ve had a long travel day, followed by a stay in a local family’s home, then a day cruising on a speedboat between the islands near Krabi, followed again by a huge journey which as I write this has not yet been completed. We’ve covered a huge amount of distance over the last few days and I can feel myself starting to lag a little as my sleep hasn’t been the best. We left Morning Mist late in the morning and faced a four hour drive to the outskirts of Krabi where we to be the guests of a local family. They could not have been more accommodating, and took us on a walk around their village and through the rubber plantation stopping along the way to pick fruit from the trees and sample it as we walked. We then walked into a field of pineapples and searched for some ripe ones which we would prepare later.

Upon arriving back at the house, wooden and raised off the ground with a large raised deck where everyone can gather to talk and eat; the woman of the house (ably assisted by A) prepared an amazing array of dishes for our tea.

We sat cross-legged in a circle on the floor and the food was placed in front of us. Fish with a sweet and sour sauce, masuman curry, prawns and stir fried veg in oyster sauce, and chilli-chicken together with plenty of rice was the order of the day. All were tucked into hungrily and very much appreciated. The food tasted great and even more so after our walk. Afterwards the pineapple that Tony picked earlier was cut ( or rather sculpted) and served. It was easily the most succulent pineapple I’ve ever tasted. After dinner we sat and talked an as we did the children of the house played amongst us.

The youngest started to dance like Michael Jackson. It was simultaneously adorable and hilarious. You will have to use your imagination for the dance moves as I didn’t dare grab my camera. This was because the young Jacko favoured one particular move over all others – to grab his crotch and pump rhythmically. I was probably a ‘you had to be there’ moment, but one that would look decidedly dodgy on camera.

We also prepared sticky banana rice for our breakfast, rolling sliced banana and rice in a banana leave to make nice little parcel. These would later be steamed, and served the next morning.

That night some went to bed, some did their own thing and a few of us gathered around my iPad, looking at a world atlas and showing each other where we came from and telling stories of our previous travels.

It was a very pleasant night, but unfortunately I did not sleep well at all. We slept on mattresses in a large room which had no air circulating besides whatever breeze happened to be blowing. On this night there was no breeze, and whilst most dropped off pretty quickly, I didn’t and soon sleep seemed almost impossible as I got hotter and hotter.

I think I got about 2 hours sleep and was pretty much out of it in the morning which was a 6:45 start. I know I wasn’t functioning properly because I have since realised that I left both my umbrella and my watch there which I am a little annoyed about. BUt my watch was just a £10 Casio, so there is not too much damage done. I’ll look for something cheap when I get back to Kuala Lumpur Chinatown.

We were picked up from the homestay a little later and driven into Krabi. We just had time to dump our bags at our new hotel (which I was ecstatic to see had air conditioning) and then head down to the beach to catch a speedboat.

The speedboat took us to Ao Nang, and the two Phi Phi islands. At each place we would stop and swim or snorkel. I absolutely loved this, spending pretty much every moment I could in the water.

The two snorkelling spots that we visited were absolutely teeming with life. Thousands of brightly coloured fish of various sizes and shapes could be seen. At one point I swam into a shoal of small silver fish, which when the light hit them would display a uv coloured purple flash. They were happy to let me swim amongst them very leisurely, but if I made any kind of darting movement they would scatter in all directions before pulling back together a few seconds later.

Someone on the boat threw a piece of bread into the water for the fish to feed on. It hit me on the chest and floated inches from me. Suddenly I was enveloped by yellow striped fish. They completely covered me and I had to fight an urge to swat them away before my thinking caught up to my fight or flight instinct and reminded me that there was no danger.

The islands off the coat of Thailand are beautiful and the waters are amazing. I can easily see how and why people fall in love with them.

Although I have not written too much about the day – after all, what is there to say other than went out island hopping on a speedboat and spent my time snorkelling – I really enjoyed this day. It felt more like the stories of travelling by the people I know and was so different to anything else I’ve done on this trip.

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