Wednesday, 13 November 2013

What did the frog say when I found it looking at my book? *

Another busy day for Curious Adventures, lots of miles covered on the scooters, one of which is on the verge of breaking down! Typical, another bloody Yamaha bites the dust under my fat arse! I am starting to get a complex you know, every Yamaha I have ever had dealings with has been a bastard! Anyway, that is for later.

Last night we were bitten to buggery in our bed by god knows how many of those bastard insects, this despite my going mad with the bug spray and repellent. So today Mr Bao replaced out mosquito net because some of the holes in it were a little larger than they should have been! I also had a bad night sleep again and managed about four hours in total, which was just not enough, leaving me feeling most odd when we went out today. 

I also think that I am suffering with DEET poisoning, given how much of the filth I have plastered my body with. Hearing that back home it is cold, the streets are frosty and there is ice about is almost making me feel jealous of those of you back home as I melt in this heat and suffer with insect carnivores and parasites.

Anyway, back on track. Where did we go today Carol? I would tell you, but have no fecking clue as always, despite me leading the way there! She says it was Ratchaprapa Dam. The Dam itself has a bit of a dark history, completed in 1982, it flooded a vast area of rain forest with water and in effect displaced hundreds of people, took away their ability to sustain themselves and destroyed the habitats of many thousands of individual animal and plant species. The aim of the Dam was to produce green energy, through hydro-electric generation. Yet when you consider the damage done, it starts to look a lot less green. In discussion with Mr Bao our site owner and local guide he informed us that the energy produced is mostly sold to Malaysia who take roughly seventy percent of the power it produces. 

As the Dam was built, local animal species were captured and attempts were made to relocate them to new areas. Sadly these attempts were disastrous and most of the animals relocated were dead with in weeks, often due to the stress of human interaction. It was a costly mistake for local environmentalists to make and one that will not ever be repeated. 

So back to our trip to the Dam, given its difficult past, seeing this place presented us with a difficulty, it is spectacular to see, the lake is enormous and seems to stretch to the horizon, the islands that stand out of the water are actually the tops of the Limestone stacks that once stood hundreds of feet above the valley floor. It has a beauty to it, but in a man made way, it is too ordered to be natural and the Dam at its end reflects that. The locals were reimbursed in being given the rights to live in raft boats on the lake and they now make a living taking tourists on jaunts around the lake on various boats. When we went and looked into this, the cost was so high as to be prohibitive to us and we decided not to take the trip. The cost was broken down into sections. Hire of the boat, 1800 Baht for both of us. Cost of entering the park (stepping off dry land), 200 Baht per person. When he told us 500 Baht each to get on the water as we arrived, he technically lied to get our business and hope that we would be too embarrassed to walk away. But not me, I am a rude bitch and find such situations quite easy!

The Shrine over looking the lake

The view on the other side of the Dam

The ride to and back from the Dam was a huge amount of fun, the roads here are glorious and as we make our way, stop at various places or just stop at the lights, we are greeted by the locals with huge smiles, waves of friendship and often questions about where we are from. You could not wish to meet a more friendly and open people than the average Thai and thinking back to the way we are in the UK it almost makes me feel sad that in two weeks I must return home (to that blissful cold and winter!). One serious thing I noticed today is once again about the interaction of the average tourist and the locals. We have seen many tourists who have paid to be part of a group, these groups are ferried around in trucks not too dissimilar to livestock and their interaction with local people is constrained to tea rooms and the occasional monument. To me this is a horrible way to travel and I refer to this as the difference between a traveller and the travelled. Having seen a country this way I can go home and say to my friends that I travelled around and saw things. As a traveller, I am in the country, meeting people, being involved in some small way and staying away from the places populated by tourists who only speak their own language. This may sound like snobbery, but to me this is important, I want to come to a country and soak up the culture and in Thailand this is very easy to do because of the beautiful people who live here.

Riding small engined scooters is such a laugh, the Yamaha I have is a fairly new but battered example of one of those fashionable "girls" scooters, all pastel colours and swoopy graphics. As such I see it as my personal mission to ride it like I stole it! However with it being in the condition it is in, Carol did warn me to take it a little careful. Carol's scooter is a far cooler looking Honda, with sports bike styling and a big helmet box under the seat. Carol being a the cool one of our group there for has to ride the cool scooter while I wish to be a maniac on the girly thing. 

It might be 1100cc, but it is still a laugh
The scenery on the route today was spectacular and at times even I wanted to stop and take photos, a rarity for me who has the purist ideas of "my eyes are my camera and my memory is my photo album!" Anyway, I have Carol who is a fantastic photographer and I tend to take photos that would make good toilet paper! 

The rare occasion of me taking a good photo

Wild bananas growing on the side of the road
Time for a bottle of drink and chat with the locals

On the way home we pulled over because my shoulder had started to really hurt and I was losing feeling in my hand, never a good thing when riding a bike given which hand works the throttle. As I sat and Carol wandered about, I received several waves and hellos from passing Thais and then got another type of visitor. 

Look carefully and you will see the little smile of my visitor!
OK, so V was on TV years ago, but they were lizards so it was not that bad a joke!

So with that lot stored in the visual memory and the miles felt in my back side from  the paving slab seat it was time to head home and discover that I have missed one small patch with my sun cream and now have a circle of sun burn on the right hand side of my neck! I dare not step into the shower for fear of how it will feel, so will try tomorrow and hope for the best. 

Back in the bar with Mr Bao and his assistants, one of which is a young man who Mr Bao refers to as Ladyboy the chat once again turns to spiders given that Carol and I are going on a trip tomorrow with "Ladyboy" where hopefully we will learn his name and see some local wildlife. For a short while the young man disappeared and when he returned he presented me with a gift, a little brown ball all curled up. For a second I was heart broken as I thought I was given a dead spider, but it quickly stood up and then sat upon his hand before stepping gently onto my own hand. The beautiful animal was a Buffalo spider and is probably one of the most beautiful things I have seen on this trip. The fangs on the animal were huge, but it made no attempt to bite what so ever and simply walked up my arm and began to trail silk. 

Heart broken at being handed a dead spider
She awakens
My new friend
With the beautiful little animal released back to the bush in the garden she was found in and with us safely tucked up in our hut, I suddenly let out a yelp as I saw something brown and squidgy on the floor! Fortunatly it was not a lost poo from a night time emission, but was infact a Banded Bull Frog.

my hand is covered with plastic because this beasty produces a noxious chemical from its skin
Never ask a frog to review your book collection
So with said poisonous beasty removed from our hut it was time to tidy and for me to start playing all Ray Mears with the field craft. I carved up some toggles our of wood and made a system to hang up our bags to keep Mr Hoppy out of our bags and to stop him getting squashed in our luggage. 

Carving wood, not cutting off my callouses!

OK, who let Jayne have a sharp thing?
So that was our day, another busy curious adventure and now I am going to go to sleep because I am fecked and Carol is asleep already and although it is nearly seven PM in the UK, here in Thailand it is nearly two in the morning! Night night folks, love from us

* Reddit...