Saturday, February 14, 2009

We Hate the Beach

So… you know how a lot of people love the beach? Cheryl and I are not two of those people. We sort of already knew that about ourselves, we’ve been to Mexico a couple of times together, and both of us have been to Hawaii many times, and don’t get me wrong, we love those places, we just aren’t sun worshippers, and god knows, I don’t need a tan. But for some reason we figured a beach in Thailand would be different; we should have known better. The beach we chose is called Railay and it’s a 45 minute boat ride from a town called Krabi which we flew to from Chiang Mai. We got here today, wandered from where the boat dropped us to our hotel… and then really didn’t know what to do with ourselves. The beach is very small, and we’re not crazy, we recognize that it’s beautiful, and sure we could slather ourselves with sunscreen and possibly go in the water for a swim (doing our best to avoid the jelly-fish), but then what? What we ended up doing was sitting by the pool for a couple of hours while both individually but simultaneously coming the conclusion that we should leave. Soon. It’s just not for us. It’s a very small beach and the area around it is kind of crowded with a few shops, a few restaurants, and lots of tourists. This seems to be the place for a typical European family vacation. It’s also full of hippies. And couples. And hippie-couples. No offense to Europeans, hippies, or couples, but it’s just not the atmosphere we were looking for. Railay is also a rock-climbing Mecca and I had considered doing a climb or two since they have a lot of beginner routes, so first I made some inquires at the local climbing school, but then left with the prospect facing some limestone cliff in the blazing sun versus heading back to Bangkok, we decided to just let the beach go – and leave tomorrow… after one day here.

I’ve always had this love-hate relationship with the beach. I love the ocean and I’d rather be looking at open water, waves, and surf than any other scenic view; I LOVED my beach-front hotel in Galle where I stayed during the lit fest, and spent what seemed like a lot of time staring at the water and letting the waves hypnotize me; I’d rather go for a walk on a coast-line in Northern California, Oregon, or Washington than anywhere else, but a tropical beach where there’s really nothing to do but lie out in the sun and maybe go for a dip before practicing my hacky-sacking skills, isn’t for me. Or Cheryl, so we’re heading back to the city—back to Bangkok.

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