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Friday, March 26, 2010

Thailand. The Finale!

Finally, the end! I know some of you must've been wondering when this day would come. Anyways, I must apologize to those of you who look at my horizontal images and wonder where the right side of it went. I'm trying to find out and fix the problem, but I've got to get my hands on a PC first (because I think it all shows up on Mac's). For now though, if you can fool around with the screen resolution, that might help.

Now onward to Koh Samui! This wasn't the island we had intended to visit, but we were glad things happened the way they did. I must preface that we only spent one full day here, mostly just lounging on the beach and swimming in the ocean water since we were so spent from the crazy ordeal the day before. Therefore, only one beach pic.
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The rest of the day was caught on video by Drew, so just a few little snippets of our day at Nora Beach Resort. We hung out on the beach and enjoyed a few laughs with one of the Thai women selling food and trinkets. Then we explored the ocean floors which were filled with huge sea cucumbers on this side of the island. (Please note: I'm only kidding when I said "Hello dinner." Though sea cucumber is a delicacy in China and a common dish at Chinese weddings, I can never eat one without feeling bad because they're so cute! Actually, the main reason is because they don't taste good to me, since I have tried it before. Heh heh.)

Like most girls, I have an aversion to dead animals. Thus, the sad whine at the end.

Happy campers after a very restful stay in Koh Samui.
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One of the best things about this island was their airport. It's like the Disneyland of airports! Outdoors, beautiful landscaping, coffee shops, restaurants, boutiques, bars. If we had known that, we'd have come to the airport sooner!
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Whoever put together that bougainvillea has some major talent. This is Drew's goal for 2010.
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Beautiful flowers everywhere.
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The nicest men's restrooms ever. There's sliding glass doors that open up to a huge fish tank!
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Ok, I think that's probably more airport photos than anyone wants to see, but sometimes a city's airport is a good reflection of the town itself. Good job Koh Samui!

Our last stop in Thailand was Khao Yai National Park, the country's oldest and second largest national park. There's a huge variety of flora and fauna here including great hornbills, elephants, bears, and sadly, only a few elusive tigers.
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We did a night safari our first day and saw some barking deer and three porcupines. Day 2, we went on a hike through the forest with our semi-informative, semi-scaredycat guide named Lek. (I'll explain the scaredycat part later.)
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I loves me the strangler fig. It grows by wrapping itself around a host tree and growing upwards till its foliage overshadows that of the host tree. Eventually the host tree dies, leaving the the fig & its elaborate roots.
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Macaques hanging out throughout the forest.
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Bear claws. There were some trees just covered with claw marks. It amazes me how bears can climb trees so well.
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Relatively fresh elephant poo. Our goal for the day was to see some elephants.
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At one point, Drew noticed a caterpillar on his shirt and asked Lek "What does it become?" The answer from Lek..."a butterfly". DUH!!!!!
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It was hilarious because Drew had meant what type of butterfly, but I just loved the simple answer - cracked me up! Here's Lek holding out a gorgeous blue butterfly. Note the obligatory long pinky nail grown on every Southeast Asian man's hands.
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Lianas. These were almost the death of me that day. And this is why I think our guide was a big scaredy-cat.
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We had heard from others at the park headquarters that there was a male elephant nearby in the jungle. So we trekked into the forest looking for it. Lek, our guide, had told Drew to leave his backpack in the truck in case we have to run for our lives if the elephant should charge at us. I decided to strap my camera around my body since I wanted to snap a few. We couldn't find the elephant on our first try.

Walking back out to the parking lot, Lek told another guide we were looking for an elephant in the forest. This other guide (let's call him Elephant man), along with his three tourists, decided to go look for it. We followed. We walked into the thick forest (I didn't take any pics because it was so dense in there) and Elephant man proceeds to make loud elephant noises. In my mind I was thinking, what the hell is he doing? I was ok with trying to quietly sneak up to take a peek at an elephant, but I didn't sign up to attract a male elephant that might charge at me! Whatever. We ended up hearing leaves crackle and followed Elephant man till we saw the elephant! I was half excited and half scared because at any moment we'd have to bolt, so I didn't take any pics. Plus I was about 50ft away from it, and there were too many things in the way so I could only see its ear flapping around. So the order of appearance from the actual male elephant, who was busy eating leaves, was Elephant man (25ft away), his 3 tourists and Drew (40ft), me (50ft), and Lek (55ft). What was my guide doing behind me?

Anyway, onto the reason why the liana was almost the death of me. At one point during our elephant stakeout, every guy in front of me turned around and started jamming my way, which freaked me out, so I turned around and, according to Drew, took off like Marion Jones in the Summer Olympics. I seriously felt like I was running for my life. Adrenaline was pumping through my body like crazy as I pushed branches aside and jumped over roots. Then, my life flashed before my eyes, and I thought I was going to die by elephant when one of my legs got caught in a liana!!!! I kept on trying to run, but couldn't move because the wooden vine wouldn't break. Visions of being picked up by the elephant's trunk and whacked around a few times flowed through my head. Finally, I turned around to free my leg and noticed that everyone had stopped running and there was no elephant in sight. False alarm. Apparently, Drew and the other guys had stopped running way back. Meanwhile, our guide was even further off than I was!

They called Lek and me back to continue the stakeout. I walked back with my whole entire body shaking. We all stood and watched again. After about a minute, I thought to myself, all I can see is his one elephant ear waving back and forth (because it was so far away and hidden behind a huge boulder and dense forest), why am I standing here risking my life again? At that point, I said, "I'm outta here. Meet you guys in the parking lot."

On our way back to the hotel, we passed by some docile non-charging cattle going for a walk.
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It was so nice to be back at our resort after a long day's hike and that traumatic experience. If you're ever in Thailand and can do it, stay at Kirimaya in Khao Yai. It was my absolute favorite resort while in Thailand!
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The view off our balcony was amazing.
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One of my favorite pics and subjects.
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Finally, the end to our day, and the end of this Thailand saga. I hope you all enjoyed it and hop on a plane to Thailand soon!
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2 comments:

Trish said...

Gorgeous! Lynn you are so talented! Come visit Steve and I in Eugene and photograph our little guy!

ohana photographers said...

ahhhh...that post was relaxing, and yes that bougainvillea is ridiculous! glad you guys had a great time!