Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Down But Not Out

18 February 2014

First, let me say that we're not in Bangkok, and we're fine.  The riot police continue trying to close down some of the demonstration sites, and today erupted in quite a bit of violence.  It's sad to hear about, because we liked Bangkok and met so many nice people - so we hope that things are quickly resolved without continuing violence, without any more deaths or injuries.

We're in Krabi, which is on the southern peninsula of Thailand, not too far from Phuket.  We opted to not go to Phuket, since that's such a popular tourist spot and tends to be crowded (read: overrun with tourists).  Krabi is an undiscovered treasure, according to what we've read online and in various travel literature, and so we decided to come to Krabi.

Krabi town is on the Krabi River, which flows out to Phangnga Bay and then the Andaman Sea.  There are two crazy-shaped hills (maybe limestone?  they look very eroded) that are considered to be emblematic of Krabi province:  Khao Kanab Nam refers to both hills, located just outside of Krabi town.  The two hills stand almost side by side, with Krabi River flowing between them.  
And yes, Krabi is pronounced "crabby" - the town seems to have adapted to the name with a wry sense of humour.

Krabi province encompasses a series of islands that are some of the best dive sites in this part of Thailand, so that's why we made Krabi our base for a week.  We've found a few dive companies, and the plan was to set up several days of divings.

Of course, this is why we don't plan.  Things never quite work out.

The problem with travel in the tropics is that we encounter tropical diseases.  I've been babying along and trying to treat what seemed like an odd form of athlete's foot.  I bought some ointment, but instead of getting better, things spread to the other foot, and, well, not to go into too much gross detail, things just got worse.  So we took the advice from several Krabi tourism websites and visited a pharmacy just next to our hotel.  Lovely pharmacist looked at my toes and said I have a fungus from walking in dirty water (as happens in places during rainy season, such as in Bali).  The fungus caused blisters, a few are now infected, there's all kinds of bacteria, and, well, it's rather yuck.  So I'm armed with sterile saline wash, antibiotic fungicide for the infected toes, regular extra-strength fungicide for the other toes, oral anti-fungal pills, and strict instructions not to get one foot wet and to stay out of water for a week or so.

As in, no diving this week for Phebe.

So we'll check out some of the beaches in the area, and I'll stay out of the water.  Richard might go diving, and I'll explore places on land.  There's plenty to see, with cave paintings (this is one of the oldest areas inhabited by humans in Thailand) and various temples and a few national parks with supposedly some of the oldest trees on earth.  Plus monkeys and a tiger temple (no live tigers though).  So I'll have plenty to do.

As the title says, I'm down but I'm not out.

Anyway, my pills (one a month for the next four months) are a gorgeous turquoise.

Krabi has some of the craziest tuktuks ever - a motorcycle for the driver, with an attached cage with benches for the customers!  Yes, we rode in one.

We also found a shrine shop, selling not only the structures for indoor shrines but also the statues, garlands, candles, bowls, incense holders, and various other tchotchkas used in the shrines.  

Sea eagle statues and street signs, saber-toothed tigers adorning traffic lights, and elephants holding up street lights - this is a crazy kind of town!  I love all the little hidden sculptures!

That's our first 24 hours in Krabi.  We'll see what else it has for us over the next week.

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