Friday 15th November
Early start today for the trip over to the Wat and to see the day in with some Monks, only as we were getting dressed Mr Bao informed us that it was actually tomorrow! Still with nothing to lose we got up and enjoyed a lovely breakfast before returning to the hut with the intention of going for a walk, but actually falling asleep again. I will admit that here in the rain forest the biggest issue we have is the heat and it is exhausting. As I type this up late in the evening I am exhausted once again and am desperate for sleep.
So this afternoon we decided to go for a walk into the national park and see first hand the rain forest in all of its majestic splendour, but first just let us pay this sum of money and then wander around the visitor centre and then past the cafe and up the concrete road to the hut with the official who stamps us in and then up some more concrete road and finally we are on a muddy track and we are in the rain forest... Well sort of. This is Honey Pot ecology, let the tourists see the periphery and hopefully this will be enough to keep them out of the real forest and away from the fragile places that are easily damaged. However we need their cash so lets build them a nice place to visit and extract money from them! Yes, I am a jaded ecologist and once again my cynicism is poking through the holes of their presentation. I think that even Carol was feeling the jaded aspects of eco-tourism a little and was a little disappointed with the experience. The lack of birds struck her a lot and were it not for the interesting geology, I doubt we would have seen anything fun for our trip into the jungle.
The trip back out though was another story, as the day drew to a close and the mass of people started to trickle out the wildlife could start to return to normality and forage or hunt for food. We saw a couple of Macaques foraging in the trees, a squirrel running about and a small snake that had caught a large locust. Although it is true that we have seen more diverse wildlife in Mr Bao's garden, this was still wonderful for us and helped to lift our spirits after the initial experience of the rain forest.
|A Snake eating a Locust|
Later that evening Mr Bao suggested that I have a look a little further into the darker corners of his garden and what I found was breath taking. "Don't worry," he said, "there are no snakes..."
|One of the snakes that are not there!|
Another thing that Mr Bao said was "there are Mang-mum everywhere."
|A Huntsman Spider|
|Such a pretty face|
Taking Carol on a midnight safari showed us both just how much wonderful wildlife there was on our lodge site. In an hour of walking around the site we saw so many beautiful species that I lost count.
|Weaver ants creating a new nest by folding leaves and stitching with silk|
|Just a simple droplet of rain water, so beautiful|
So that was a brief tour of the site here in Khao Sok and bare in mind that this lot took a little less than an hour to find. Also, this was not everything we saw, but only the things that we could photograph. Think about the noise at night, the unseen but heard thuds and screams of small animals as they go about their daily lives in the rain forest and you will soon understand why rain forest ecology is so important and why Honey Pots do not always work. Mr Bao says that he would not want a guest staying in his lodge that did not understand the importance of rain forest ecology and I have to say that I agree with him. So if you want to see some beautiful wildlife, check out your nearest honey pot and go in the opposite direction.