The ferry ride at first was uneventful (which is how I like it) but about half way through the sea started to get very rough and the spray from the waves was spraying the whole boat. I went inside just in time because by the time everyone else came in they were soaked. Then it started to rain. Pouring rain. The boat was rocking side to side. The bags on the deck were getting soaked (including ours) and the crew was trying to cover them with a tarp. Unfortunately the waves were so large the tarp just kept getting swept off. I didn’t hold much hope that our bags would remain dry through all of this. Then all of a sudden the engine stopped. I of course was already freaked out and this did not help matters much. The boat was rocking even more heavily now that we were stopped and we were in the middle of the ocean. It turned out the captain was just trying to help the guys put the tarps on. I was again thinking “why me???? Seriously!” Eventually we arrived in Railey (sooner than I anticipated) but it turned out they don’t have a dock so we had to wait for smaller boats to come and get us. It was still pouring rain so that by the time we were dropped off on the beach we were soaked. Andrew left me to go look for a place to stay. Railay is also an expensive place to stay. Although it’s on the mainland, there are no roads and you can only get there by boat. When Andrew came back I was glad to hear he had found a place for 500 BHT a night. The downfall was that it was again another 10 minute walk and this time it was up hill. The upside was that it was far away from the sea and up a hill so even if there was a Tsunami (you never know with my luck) we wouldn’t have to run far. The bungalow we rented was very basic but it was set in a very beautiful place. We were in a small valley surrounded by large beautiful karsts. Even though it was raining the view was still spectacular as the clouds were low and they were gathering around the karsts.
The next day we explored Railay and the different beaches it offered. There was one particular beach which had a huge karst sticking right out of it and during low tide you could just walk over and explore a small cave. It also had a bunch of monkeys but again they were evil. They would try to grab everyone’s bag and if you tried to shoo them away they would hiss at you. We spent a good part of the day just walking around and then relaxing on our porch when it would rain. In the afternoon we found a cute little coffee shop where we spent a few hours just reading and relaxing while a huge rainstorm came. It was a very nice peaceful day and I really didn’t mind the rain. However by the evening Andrew started getting restless and he wanted to see the other side of Railay. It was supposed to be a 20 minute walk through some forest as the other beach was supposed to be 800m on a trail. I honestly don’t know who calculated the distance but it’s more like 3km and it took us 45 minutes. Not only was this not a trail but most of it was uphill over some very slippery rocks (someone had at least attached some climbing ropes to it) through the jungle. At least we reached the other side and it was a lot cheaper than our side. The vibe was completely different too, as it had more of a hobo vibe. We wanted to stay and eat at a restaurant that was serving grilled chicken but by the time we ordered they were out of chicken, and then it started to rain and it got dark so we decided to head back. It was twice as exciting walking back because now it was dark. Thank god we had 1 small head lamp between the two of us. The walk wasn’t too bad and neither one of us got hurt but obviously Andrew thought it was “kind of cool” to trek through the jungle at night. We ended up eating at a resort restaurant that had grilled fish with a salad buffet that served bruschetta (among other things) and baked potatoes with our meal (which we hadn’t had for 3 months at this point). The meal was delicious.
The next day Andrew decided to try rock climbing. Although he didn’t forget it was my birthday he didn’t exactly make a big deal of it either. A fact I did not let him live down easily. So the first 4 hours of my birthday were spent watching Andrew learn how to rock climb. The two other people in his group were a couple who had been rock climbing for 10 years so they were obviously pretty good and it turned out the instructor wasn’t instructing them at all but just belaying them up and down. No one was really sure why Andrew had been placed in that group but apparently he was doing really well because he was climbing at their level, a level even the instructor didn’t climb anymore. I don’t know much about rock climbing but apparently each section is rated just like a ski hill. So it was no wonder by the end Andrew’s hands didn’t have any more strength to hold on anymore. But even I was impressed with his endurance.
After the rock climbing session I made it clear to Andrew that it was my birthday and we would do whatever I pleased. So we went to the beach. The beautiful one with the karsts sticking out and the crazy monkeys. After swimming we went to the coffee shop and spent a few hours reading the newspaper and drinking some coffee. Then we changed for dinner and headed back to the same place as the night before. On the way there we met up with the couple from rock climbing and arranged to meet up later at a bar for drinks.
After dinner we headed over to the bar near our guesthouse and I ordered some red wine…which was a special treat for me since wine costs 5x as much as beer. It turned out to be nothing more than grape juice with some alcohol in it but I drank it anyway and was more than just a little drunk by the end of the night. I woke up the next day with a hangover but I didn’t have time to dwell since we were leaving for Kuala Lumpur.