I've been in Tonsai for four days now and it's been quite relaxing. I realized this is probably the longest I'll stay anywhere, so I've spent most of my time just chilling out. I've done a few day hikes around and plenty of beach/patio lounging. Railay has four beaches, one of which (Tonsai) is considerably more laid-back than the others. Tonsai is a rock climbing mecca, and I believe the World Championship is going to be held here next month. There are spectacular limestone cliffs that just drop straight into the ocean. I spent this morning sea-kayaking around some of the outlying islands, getting a dramatic view of the coastline (sorry for the picture tease here. you'll just have to wait). And like always, a few of my insights below:
- Where there are roosters, you don't sleep much past 6:30. And it's not just a one-time crow that the sun is up. They've got no snooze button.
- Speaking of poultry, I am now more convinced that ever that chickens are the dumbest animals ever. How else could you explain all the chickens that seem to congregate (they are not caged and roam freely) in what I've deemed "street food alley"? You think they'd get a clue when their buddy goes missing and there's a delicious smell of grilled chicken wafting through the air.
- My gluts are going to be in fantastic shape at the end of this trip. If anyone is spending money on a personal trainer, just put it in a piggy bank and come to Thailand. My watch tan and Chacos tan also bode to be of epic comparison.
- I'm starting to recognize the distinction between "touristy" and "commercialized." It's hard to argue that any of these places aren't touristy--there are Europeans and Americans everywhere--but there is a difference between the more rugged tourist areas (like Tonsai) and the large commercialized operations that look like they're straight out of Cancun.
- There is absolutely no decent coffee here. There are even places that lure you in with promises of "real coffee" but they clearly don't know how to brew it correctly. Also, I'm not sure how I feel about my milk being served to me in a baby bottle. Something about dumping a baby bottle of milk into my coffee seems really unappealling...
- I'm starting to crave a burger. With Gouda and bacon...oh man.
I've met some cool fellow peregrinators so far. There are many of us out there it seems. I'm headed tomorrow back to Surat Thani and then overnight train to Bangkok. I'll spend 12 hours in Bangkok before taking another overnight train north to Chiang Mai. From there I plan to make my way over to Laos before flying to Vietnam.