Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Krabi, Thailand

By Mark & Kara

The evening we left Bangkok we were riding an overnight bus south to Krabi Town. We got to ride one of those double decker, air-conditioned, sleeper buses. It seemed as though all the foreigners were put on the upper level in the very back (though this may have been a result of ordering tickets later than domestic travelers). Some of our neighbors on the trip were quite amusing, and listening to others' stories of travels throughout South East Asia provided for many good laughs and a few "oh i'm glad that didn't happen to me" moments. Seriously, how do you get your wallet/money stolen 7 times in a month?

Get it?!  Krabi!

After arriving and settling in we decided to go to the Tiger Cave Temple. Upon arriving we were greeted by a bunch of monkeys!!! After taking a million pictures of the monkeys we thought, hey, let’s climb up to the top of this mountain. Everybody else was doing it and there was supposed to be a great view point at the top and a huge Buddha. And 1237 steps isn’t really that many, is it? Only a couple hundred of steps up and we were already asking ourselves why we were doing this. We stopped every 2 minutes, or whenever we found shade. We used up our water bottles in the first 600 steps. We pulled ourselves along literally climbing up steps using all four limbs. Needless to say, we pushed ourselves to the point of exhaustion again. The view at the top was nice, we got great pictures, but in the end we were very relieved to be off the mountain.

Just before heading toward the Tiger Caves, we walked along the river's edge - beautiful rock formations, warm weather, and the calm water made for a lovely stroll.

Monkeys!  Baby monkey!

Seriously, Kara loved the monkeys...and they were so friendly.

I think we have better pictures of this Buddha, but this one shows how immense this structure was and just how high up we had climbed!

We were so tired we hired some taxi driver to take us back into town. Not the cheapest option, but at that point we could barely stand without our legs quivering and cramping. We got back to our little hotel, showered, rested, and then decided to walk all of 100 feet from our hotel to a restaurant that was supposed to be one of the best in town. We arrived at 5:01, not really knowing it opened at 5:00, and wandered around the two-story open air restaurant looking for someone who would be interested in helping us. We quickly realized that this place must be popular with locals, as tourists didn't seem to be plentiful in this part of town. After minutes of confusion, a man who we're not even sure worked there asked us what we'd like. We both ordered, got our food, enjoyed that...and then got presented with an entire platter of "goods" made from soy bean as far as we could tell. We think it was dessert, but we were so full we couldn't partake. No one really came to ask us if we needed anything, except for one repetitive instance of hospitality - whenever we took a sip of water, a waitress would walk over and fill up our glass. It was one of the strangest things...we couldn't get them to take our order, or bring us more of anything, or bring our bill/accept our money, but they made sure our water was full almost all the time.

The next day we attended a Thai cooking class! This experience was what I had been waiting for in Thailand. Kara and I love Thai food, and I love making different kinds of sauces...so to see how simple it could be to mix flavors to get so many good dishes, it was fantastic. The teachers made it impossible for us to screw up any of the dishes so they were all delicious. We got recipe books so hopefully we can try to recreate the food… though it’s nearly impossible here in Mongolia because we’re missing so many ingredients. By the end, we'd prepared something like 10 different dishes...so we sat down with an Australian couple on their honeymoon who had joined us for the class and enjoyed a feast. It would appear that our appetites were coming back. We really love Thai food!

Our teacher Mrs. Ya (not pictured) used this "prep" time to inform us on the proper technique for "Chop chop, Bang bang".

I know when you make a meal you appreciate it so much more - but seriously those were some of the best fried spring rolls ever!  We even made the hot dipping sauce from scratch...I mean crushing-red-peppers-in-a-stone-mortar type of work!

Quite the spread...I don't think the 4 of us finished half of it.

Later that evening we spent our first real time on a Thai beach.  We rolled up our pants and shirt sleeves, walked and splashed in the warm water, sat at a restaurant overlooking the sea, and captured our first really good sunset of this entire trip.  If anything, it was a precursor of our time on the island of Koh Lanta.  We were heading there the very next day...

The final chapter of our vacation story will be coming soon...

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