Monday, September 14, 2009

Sun, sand...where's my coconut?

Hello to you from Railey Beach!

Over the last several days, our ISV tour has been quite exciting... and finally sunny. :)

After our canyoning adventure, I was sore and tired for rock climbing. However, with the excitement of cave exploration, repelling into crevasses and looking for stalactites, I perked up enough to power through. The most rewarding part, for me, was climbing my first natural rockface; I found this to be, so far, the most mentally challenging part of the trip. Getting to the top, I snapped some photos, let out a victory shout, and took in a deep breath of Thailand air. So rewarding... so tiring!

The next couple of days, our group stayed right outside Khao Sok National Park (where some of the few remaining wild Asian Elephants and tigers live!), down in Southern Thailand, Surathani. It was a beautiful, if not damp and wild, experience. During the day, we took an adventure tour inside the park itself, one of the largest preseres in Southeast Asia, and the oldest! Khao Sok is over 160 million years old, made from limestone formations. Aside from enjoying a longtail boat ride, I was able to swim in a freshwater lake in the middle of this oasis, and enjoy the first little bit of sun we've had for days. Back at the lodge, the animals attacked our bungalows at night. Mice, frogs, lizards, bats, and the threat of monkeys kept us from a full night's sleep... but I don't know what else we could possibly expect, sleeping in the middle of the jungle!

The last two days have been the most exciting part of the adventure tour: sea kayaking! Our group took to the water, from Phuket to Phang Nga Bay, where we traveled around islands, saw makaks (Thai monkeys) and mangrove forests up close, and took a ride through some amazing sea caves. It was difficult to suppress my desire to hum 'Pirates of the Caribbean' songs... so sometimes I didn't. :) Out on the water, the sun came out, which made the trip even more wonderful. I'm definitely going to be making time for kayaking and rock climbing when I return to the states.

I wish I had more time, but the beach calls. Tomorrow we will be snorkeling at PP Island, south of Railey Beach (NE of Phuket) and only have a few more days after that! I'll be thinking of you all from the beach, Bangkok, and on the plane ride home. Look forward to seeing you all!

With love and happiness,
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