Another glorious morning in paradise found me taking pictures of butts. Butts hanging off the cliff wall, strapped into a harness, to be precise. Sometimes a face would appear and shout out something excitedly unintelligible, but mostly it was just a vast array of butts. You guessed it right, my overactive girly took a beginners course in rock climbing. I tagged along for the pictures and general interest in the whole thing, and was not disappointed. The people were great, and the climbing intense. The group leader, “Max”, I don’t remember his Thai name, but he looked like Mr. Myagi with rastas, had no problem with me tagging along and didn’t charge anything for the boat transportation to the East Railay Beach climbing point.
The climbing itself wasn’t anything special, level 5 and 6 climbs. Our group was great, a japanese guy from Osaka called Tukaru (or something along those lines), a german bloke from Cologne, Michael, who reminded me of a certain hairy buddy of mine, right down to the way he walked, and Zale, a canadian lawyer from Toronto with a bushy beard and an awesome jew-fro. They were so much fun, we quickly became buddies and now I have to send bloody gigabytes of photos all over the world. Girly did great, climbed all the way up to 25m until a lvl6+ cliff finally defeated her. I was exhausted from just watching them climb, my neck sore from looking up for five hours. There were no incidents, except for a few scrapes and bruises, oh and Tukaru getting high and almost killing poor Michael, who got dropped about 5m without warning, when his attention slipped and he did something wrong while belaying. He was then dismissed from all future belaying duties, quite rightfully, too. I understand that all the guides are old potheads that, according to their own words, spend every evening after climbing classes high as kites, but they should put their foot down when it comes to students toking up before and during climbs.
Afterwards we took another trip to the Princess beach, where we swam and snorkeled. I found a somewhat rusty 10 Bhat coin on the bottom, amongst the coral, and we both got covered by fish eggs, which was kinda gross. They look like strands of tiny peas in a translucent goo, and are released by fish in great numbers, forming clouds and clouds of future fishies. The fish around us had a right proper feeding frenzy, devouring their brethren (or even children?) with no qualms what so ever. For us that meant that we got to dive and frolic amongst large schools of colorful fishies, which is always nice… Girly then climbed to the second look out point and I stayed below, due to exhaustion caused by watching her climb earlier. We walked back to Tonsai Beach along the tide-exposed sea bottom, had a couple of beers with some of our group, listened to Zale groove it with the local live band on his acoustic guitar, and even found a token finn, but then disaster struck.
We were betrayed by a fish. Or then it might have been the vegetables the scaly bastard hung out with. Or maybe the suspicious mayo-based sauce that came along with them. Be it as it may, about eight hours after eating the barbecued slab of Kingfish (150 Bhat at the roadside restaurant at Tonsai), it was projectile vomiting time. It was 6am, and we had a flight to Bangkok to catch at 13:30. Catching that flight meant getting up at 7:30, gathering up enough people to get a cheap rate for a boat to Ao Nang, and finding an airport shuttle bus from there. Then one had to queue for security checks, check-in, and baggage drop, and later boarding. Quite a feat to manage in severe gastrointestinal distress. I carried both our backpacks (luckily they were light at 12 and 14kg), cozily sandwiched between them, feeling like a safe chubby turtle. We managed to grab a boat, found the bus stop in Ao Nang, bought the tickets, boarded the bus, too, and then I felt something wrench deep down in my guts. I tasted girlies fish dish, and tried the mayo sauce, so got the same affliction as she did, only in a very diluted version. No puking for me, just nausea and Delhi belly.
Airport was fun. Girly looked like she was about to depart for greener pastures, all greenish pale skin and a vacant look that stretched all the way to pearly gates. She couldn’t stand in line so had to sit on backpacks or just the floor, which was almost more than she could manage. But make it on board the plane we did, and here I am, descending into Bangkok’s DM airport, drinking a very expensive (although not by Finnair standards, being only 90 Bhat or 2 Eur) can of Singha beer. Guess it is time to “fasten seat belts, stow your tray table and put your back rest into upright position”…