THAILAND: FROM BANGKOK TO AO NANG BEACH
The 100,000-plus political demonstrators in Bangkok greet us with smiles, handshakes and cell phone photo requests. As far as we can surmise, the urban middle-class believe that the prime minister is corrupt and should resign. The rural majority support the current regime.
The energy of this crowd reminds Mare and I a little of Carnival in Rio. We get caught up in the high energy and cheer on the protesters with high-fives. Later, we question the wisdom of engaging in such activity in a foreign land. Touring a Thai jail is not part of the travel plan.
Actually, we fear the Komodo Dragons more than anything else thus far. They swim and crawl around the numerous natural canals that flow through Bangkok.
This massive city of monasteries, palaces, and world commerce is full of streets lined with food vendors. We could stay longer for the food alone, but are itching for the island beaches.
Now we’re talking…lounging poolside near jungle-covered limestone cliffs. Down here in Ao Nang, things are much more laid back, and it’s always beer-thirty. Some folks call Ao Nang the “poor man’s Phuket” because it is much the same, but smaller and cheaper.
Tourists roam the sidewalks that are lined with restaurants, guesthouses and a plethora of shops. Cover music blares in the many bars, and I even hear a Muzak version of “Cat Scratch Fever.”
Time to burn off the breakfast buffet with a walk along the beach, where monkeys frolic and longboats bob in Andaman Bay.
Oops…we stumble upon a gauntlet of Thai Massage specialists. “Massage? Do you want massage?” Yeah, Baby, rub that coconut oil all over my body.
A man motions for me to remove my shorts. Then, I start to remove my underwear and he enthusiastically stops me. “Sorry, I’m new at this,” I tell him.
Mare opts for the Aloe Vera rub. She also insists upon both of us getting a major foot scrubbing. Hmm…who would ever think that sandpaper could tickle so much? And we’re just scratching the surface. by Ron Mitchell