Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A national park, a beach, and a butt hose

We visited Khao Sok National Park for three days. The park's headquarters maintains two trails through thick rain forest jungle. Although guided treks were readily available, we decided to explore Khao Sok on our own. Unfortunately, the park is in very early season and large portions of their trails weren't open until December 14th. We made the best of our visit and followed guides passing by the "Path Closed" signs to explore deeper into the forest. Although the park is home to sun bears, tigers, elephants, and other exotic animals, the only mammal we saw was a spooked monkey and that was just for a few seconds. The issue with viewing animals was that the rain forest was extremely thick with low visibility.

We also hiked primarily during the day when animals would be least active. We did, however, see a number of exotic birds and insects.

The trail followed a river with numberous swimming holes for an opportunity to cool off in the jungle heat.

The evening highlight in Khao Sok was the monkey swimming hole at Art's Riverview Lodge. The bar overlooked a river swimming hold that a monkey family would visit on a daily basis. For about an hour, the monkeys would feed, play, and make new monkeys just across the river from the bar.

One evening we went to the Morning Mist Guest House for a meal recommended by Lonely Planet. Having missed lunch, we ordered a double dose of Thai food. As we were completing the meal, the restaurant owner took out his massive pet toad.

The toad went table to table getting petted and handled by the guests. When he visited our table, the toad felt an intense attraction for Laura or her food. He leaped from the restaurant owner's cupped hands at Laura and landed into her chicked and mushroom soup. After Laura's screams created quite a stir at the bar, the toad was recaptured and I got a free half bowl of frog-slimed chicken and muchroom soup!

Since traveling in Thailand, Laura has been obsessed with finding a beautiful beach. Koh Tao didn't provide what she was looking for so we took some other traveler's advice and went to Krabi. Krabi is known as a climbing mecca of southern Thailand. It is full of steep limestone cliffs alongside beautiful beaches.

We landed at Ao Nang, a beach town resembling many U.S.A beach towns. A highway runs through town with tourist shops and restaurants on one side and the beach on the other. The great thing about Ao Nang is regular longtail boats run to Hat Rai Leh, a beach surrounded on each side by limestone clifs and only accessible by boat.

This is what she was looking for!

We were some of the first visitors to the beach to see its stunning beauty. The waters were warmer than our showers have been and they were so translucent, I could see my shadow on the sand below me. After enjoying the beach, we explored the peninsula. This area was hit heavily by the 2004 tsunami and we wanted to assess the recovery. There were few remnants of the disaster along the coasts. On the inner peninsula, there was a lot of contruction but it was difficult to tell if it was new building or re-building. It seemed that Hat Rai Leh's tourist dollars made for a quick recovery.

Upon our return from the beach, we rented a kayak to explore the limestone cliffs more closely. The ocean waves had beaten caves into the bottom of many cliffs. Stalactites (or is it stalagmites?) creeped down from the roof of the caves as birds swooped from side to side.

Having finally found the beach, we ared headed north to Khao Yai National Park, Thailand's largest park. We are happy to leave Thailand's tourist-laden coasts.

Now, a break from the travel blog to comment on everyday life in Thailand. We have encountered a toilet sensation! Keep in mind that Thailand's septic system doesn't acept toilet paper so soiled paper must be disposed of into a garbage can. Too much of this can make for a stinky bathroom. Each toilet in Thailand is accompanied by a butt hose, a hose and sprayer resembling those that come with a U.S.A. kitchen sink. After dropping a deuce, one grabs the butt hose for an anal spray down. This typically two-handed operation, right hand sprays while left wipes, provides a refreshingly clean result eliminating dingleberry possibilities. As a butt hose novice, I was using toilet paper to perform a "clean check" and dry. As a butt hose professional, it just takes good water pressure, a thorough wipe, and a butt shimmy at the end to dry. No paper required! How can I get one installed in my U.S.A. bathroom?

Maybe I've discovered the reason for Europe's bidet? Rumor has it that remote region toilets may only be accompanied by a one gallon bucket filled with water. This bucket contains a cereal-bowl-sized second bucket floating on top. The cereal bowl is used to scoop and splash the nether regions. Hopefully, the butt hose has prepared me for such a toilet.


Jeff C. said...

Thank goodness you didn't post pictures of the butt hose actually in use---I think I'd be scarred for life if I had to look at your shiny bottom.

Anonymous said...

Butt hose master! I like that title :-)p

You'll need to be very alert now that you don't imbibe a few too many frosty brews and mistake a tap for the butt hose outlet. Now that would make for one hell of a scene at the bar!

Plus, I'll never be able to look at that rinse hose in my kitchen quite the same way again. :-)


Anonymous said...

you keep posting those beach pictures and you should se your car here; it has 10" of snow piled on top of it and I had to jump it with Mom's car to be able to move for snow blowing. STOP TEASING US LAURA!!!! great story about the culture of toilet use in modern Asia. DAD

Paolo said...

Hi Geremy & Laura. I told you that I would have left a comment!! Nice and romantic the story about the toad "that felt an intense attraction for Laura". Laura, you missed an incredible occasion to be a queen!! Maybe it was a prince...
Really nice places and interesting animals that, anyway, I wouldn't like to have in my garden!
Bye bye

Greg said...

Hi troupers two.

"Stalactites (or is it salagmites?) creeped down from the roof of the caves.." you had it correct. As in sticking "tite" to the ceiling / roof.

Butt hose ..... ah memories of Kazakhstan where: 1. water did not exist in toilets except rare ocassion on in the commode itself, 2. paper was banned from systems also and finally 3. paper [never toilet type] was scare for the first 6 months.

As always ..... we're overloading our PC memory with your great photos - especailly of Laura OH ok Jeremey too.