Friday, February 21, 2014

Off the Beaten Path

21 February 2014

 We decided to go out to Aonang Beach (pronounced ow-NANG, with the A as a long "A" sound, as in "rain").    Even though I couldn't go into the water with this stupid toe infection, I still enjoyed the beach and the views.

Aonang is fairly touristy and full of the normal franchises that, sadly, have become common all over the world: McDonald's, Burger King, Starbucks, etc.  Sad but true.

But there are little Thai restaurants, as well as various other cuisines, and stands selling everything from souvenirs to Chinese medicine.

But what is really amazing is the geology of the area.  In fact, even the view from our hotel windows is incredible, and I just had to find out what was going on with the crazy-shaped hills and rocks and sea stacks that are all over this part of the world.

The following information comes from an article I found online, at this site if you want more information:

"The landscape in Krabi Province in southern Thailand is characterized by steep, limestone headland cliffs along its shoreline and by limestone (karst) towers both offshore from the headlands and inland along its alluvial plains. The coastal karst towers rise directly out of the shallow waters of Phang Nga Bay or emerge from mangrove-fringed tidal flats whereas the inland karst towers are surrounded by Quaternary alluvial and colluvial deposits. "  

Yeah, okay, so it gets more scientific from there.  

Basically, these are limestone cliffs, islands, and towers (the limestone towers are also known as karst) that are leftover from erosion over the millenia.  Simplified but the basic explanation.

Of course, the next question is why these karst towers, islands, cliffs haven't eroded themselves - the river has receded to it's banks, though water probably will erode these rocks at the end of the next ice age, when there's massive glacial melt and subsequent flooding.  Until then, we get to enjoy this crazy landscape.

Anyway, it makes for incredible scenery surrounding the town of Krabi, making it look like a town plunked down in a moonscape.

We've been enjoying walking around Krabi, checking out shops, cafés, the sculptures, as well as all the things to do in the area.  Richard will probably go off diving for a few days while I explore some of the temples.  

The sculptures - at most of the major cross streets, where there is a traffic light, there's either one huge pillar and statue in the center of the intersection, or two large pillars/statues flanking the intersection.  Uphill from our hotel is the elephant intersection; downhill is the sea eagle intersection, and then further downhill is the saber-toothed tiger intersection.  And, between those intersections, the street signs are adorned with a small sculpture of the animal from the intersection statue.  My favourite is the elephant with a scimitar in its trunk.  In the area of the temple, with dragon staircases, the street lights are protected by three-headed dragons.

I'm trying to find out more about all of this - are these animals representatives of the various neighbourhoods, like the contrade of Siena?  Are they guardian animals who fought to save Krabi at some point in time?  Or protectors?  I don't know, but I'm asking around - once I find out, I'll add that to our blog.

A natural adjunct to the giant animals guarding the road is the café with a giant coffee cup out front.  (Richard offered to pose inside the cup, but we thought the café owners might be upset.)

I tried the menu item called "gold bags" - turns out to be minced chicken and vegs in a wonton wrapper, tied with a single chive leaf, and deep fried.  Very much like fried wontons.

We've encountered a variety of vendors, such as the fruit trucks carrying mangosteen, lychees, and durian.   But I think my favourite are the people who carry eggs and various items on a giant balance across their shoulders, and walk around honking a horn to announce their presence, should anyone wish to purchase their wares.  Really, can you imagine carrying eggs on a balance, like a huge scale?  I'd spend the entire time worrying I was going to drop the eggs somehow!

The highlight, though, has to be the upcoming Miss Krabi competition.  I know, we shouldn't laugh, but this town's name is just so unfortunate in English.  Miss Krabi!  Can you imagine the title of Miss Crabby?  Straight out of a cartoon, maybe The Simpsons!

I know, not the most exciting events, but somehow everything is interesting, and different, and exciting.  We're strangers in a strange land, everything's strange when you're a stranger, and we're just enjoying all those strange things!

No comments:

Post a Comment