December 22, 2012
After the last couple of 5am mornings, it felt good to sleep until 6. Breakfast was included with the room, which saved us from our usual half hour routine of searching for a meatless meal. We have learned that “orange juice” here seems to refer more to the color of the beverage than the actual fruit content. After some eggs, toast, nescafe and tang we were ready to head out.
Chandler had a shortcut to the ocean which “may go through”. We ended up biking through an industrial area. First a propylene plant and then a nitrate plant, which smelled really bad. Even though it wasn’t the most scenic or direct route, we were so happy to be on the bikes again. The short cut was cut short with a large barbed wire fence, so we had to jog back inland to get back to the coast.
After some pretty leisurely riding we made it to Ban Phe and decided it was time for a pineapple break on the beach. We biked on the beach for a bit, but gave up on that idea pretty quickly.
We realized that the Cambodian border is only 120 miles away and we have 8 days left on our Thai visas. We don’t really feel any rush to leave Thailand yet, so we decided to camp in another national park, Khao Laem Ya – Mu koh Samet.
After setting up the tent and having a cold beverage, it was time to swim. The beach was sandy and the water was clear. The moment we jumped in the water, two little girls came swimming over to us. They must have been about 9 years old. We spent about an hour playing with them. Mostly swimming around, picking them up and launching them into the water and at one point they braided my hair. We had fun figuring out everyone’s name and trying to communicate in different languages.
At some point, we realized one of our metal water bottles had gone missing. Chandler agreed to go back to where we had our pineapple snack to look for it. I stayed near the tent to keep an eye on our stuff. I also got to watch a number of Thai people set up their camping areas. It was impressive the amount of stuff they brought with them. Barbeque, brooms, tables, all sorts of totes. One couple even brought a satellite and TV and another couple brought their birds along. It looked like people were moving to the campground, not spending a weekend.
Chandler came back empty handed which is annoying because now we’ll have to get a new water bottle. Oh well.
He picked up a hammock in Sangkhlaburi and finally had an opportunity to set it up. We took turns relaxing in it until dinner.
It was a thoroughly relaxing day, and it felt great to be back on the road and back on our own schedule.