I’m writing as I’m leaving Southern Thailand on the airplane to Macau; while the smile is fresh on my face and my heart still has that smirk of contentment. If I were still traveling with Ryan and Jason, they’d laugh at my repetitive self and quotable phrase of, “I could live HERE”.
Southern Thailand is incredibly beautiful, and has some of the best beaches in the world (without surf). Please go there sometime in your life if you like sun/beaches/food/relaxing/islands/scuba/fresh fruit/all other likeable things that exist in this world. I’ll let the photos do most of the talking. If I have a list for Southern Thailand it’s people:
1. Lee: Emily (from my chronologically previous Indonesia & KL post *that are yet to come) and I flew directly from KL to Krabi and happened to sit with a proper-nice English gent, Lee, who had spent the previous 9 months in Ao Nang. He had recently landed a job as an underwater plant life surveyor (1 part scuba, 1 part biology, 1 part note taking, 3 parts fun) and was now moving back for at least a year. Lee and I talked the whole flight (I’m not flight talker either); and this convo eventually lead to a connection and introduction to Ismail.
2. Ismail: is an overly hospitable Moroccan soccer player with the best crackup-cackle-giggle. He ended up in Ao Nang after bouts in France, San Francisco, and Hawaii and is now established with a local wife, 2 kids, and his bungalows/touring business. Ismail booked us on trips, treated us like family, and after Emily headed home to SD from Bangkok there was only one place to go: back to Ismail’s Anawin Bungalows. (
3. Longtail Boat Crew: Captain Snoop, Dan the Man, Cokai, and the nick-name-less rest of the crew. During a 4 island tour with another finicky/gabby/uptight guide, Emily and I were totally drawn to make friends with the boat crew because 1.Emily noticed Capt Snoop’s dashing good looks; 2.I noticed how dashingly amazing it was that Capt Snoop was handling a full-size straight 6 engine with little effort on his thin frame. So we did, we became great friends; and when I later returned to Ao Nang, we shared more laughs, meals, the Liverpool victory over Man U (where they were the only locals at the Irish Rover *classic), and plenty of coffee which he kept coming as a sign of his bright personality and hospitality.
4. Olivia and Aubren: are my friends that date back to the highschool days and are now flight attendants/stewardesses/stewardii/seatbelt buckling gesturers/silver cart pushers/avionic serving engineers/whatever the pc term is, who get to fly for next to nothing and make this travel thing a career and a breeze. I’m slightly jealous, although I don’t think I’d look too good in the uniform, or would I? The four of us toured Ko Phi Phi and caught an incredible sunset via boat. They continued to tour Thailand and had a wonderful time with tigers, elephants, tuk tuks and all the fascinations Thailand has to offer (except ping pong).
5. Pad Thai crew.: Cha, Ma, Nam, and more food carters who have names like Un, Ing, Um, and Am, seriously became my sole source of food for lunch and dinner. I rotated the street-cart offerings of: BBQ chicken & corn, chicken & rice, beef & noodles soup, fruit smoothies, pancakes, mangoes and rice, and of course Pad Thai. Gritty street price for these entrée’s is typically around 40-60 baht or $1.20-$2. My frequent visits, guitar seranades, and Emily’s charm quickly established a fun friendship that later lead to betting on Premier League games, assuring other tourists of their food’s cleanliness, learning how to cook, ice creams, and business proposals from Cha who wants to come to the US and run a Pad Thai cart.
6. The footy fellas: big-whiney Drogba, quick-feet-no-teeth, the two sissy twins, clumsy tank the fullback, 1 touch skinny, the technical center mid friends, and so many more. Ismail mentioned playing soccer every day at a local “stadium”, which was a field with goals nestled in the greenery of the limestone mountains. Motivated to play some good soccer I purchased a used pair of Adidas cleats and a soccer ball for less than $40 in Bangkok. I then joined the locally committed players for some of the most physical, challenging, and technical soccer I’ve played in a while; an entertaining challenge and great fun with these guys.
Time to fill out my immigration card and health declaration.
I’ll be back in the US of A in less than a month so I can genuinely say…
I’ll see you soon,
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