Monday, February 17, 2014

Pigs, monkey's, Tree Houses, Girly Boy's, and Birthday's

This little piggy went to the market. I don't eat pork but I love bacon!

Monkey's are everywhere and this little fellow was the pet of a local villager. We were stopped on the road asking directions,. something you do frequently in Thailand, when this monkey showed up on a load of coconuts.

 The monkey was tethered to the cart with a rope that allowed him to do his monkey business, which we had fun watching.
Beautiful Phng Na Bay
Daring Slack line walkers. Tonsi Bay, Phang Na
We continued through Southern Thailand to Kho Sok National Park, which was expansive, mountainous, jungle y, and beautiful. We stayed in an unusual funky resort where the accommodations are tucked in the trees. Very cool if you try not to think about snakes and spiders! Thailand has over 100 various poisonous snakes. We actually enjoyed the place but opted to stay only one night.
Table and chairs on our balcony in the trees

Bridge to our romm

What to do for Ron's Birthday?? Well, he is always up for a party, so we invited some new friends, Edan, his lovely wife Andrea, and Captain Tim. to Slow Dance for Birthday dinner and some entertainment. Edan is a pilot for a private principal,  Andrea writes screen plays, and Tim captains a beautiful Catamaran.

We were wondering what to do and then Vanessa suggested a surprise girly boy show; (Big in Thailand)  Ron's own private entertainment brought right to the boat.

There are many Girly Boy shows around Phuket and Vanessa's friend owns a bar that has such shows, so she arranged it for us.  Good thing our new friends were good sports as these girls (?) put on quite a show.

The legs kind of give it away>
Thai men are rather effeminate by nature, so maybe the cross over isn't as far to go as a guy with size 11 feet and broad shoulders. 
Kathoeys are more visible and more accepted in Thai culture than transgender or transsexual people are in Western countries or the Indian subcontinent. Several popular Thai models, singers and movie stars are kathoeys, and Thai newspapers often print photos of the winners of female and kathoey beauty contests side by side. The phenomenon is not restricted to urban areas; there are kathoeys in most villages, and kathoey beauty contests are commonly held as part of local fairs.

Using the notion of Karma, some Thai believe that being a kathoey is the result of transgressions in past lives, concluding that kathoey deserve pity rather than blame.

Flour-less Chocolate Torte for the Birthday Boy. Hard to believe these were guys!
It appeared that a few of these boy's had taken the journey to transform themselves into true females.

After to much food and Champagne, the timing for the show was perfect!
This girl had a big guy face!
(Left)  Tim, Andrea, Edan, Ron, and Cookie. Vanessa took the photo

Chili Lime Chicken, Mexican Quiche, Grilled Shrimp, Roasted Corn and Black Bean Salad with Jalapeno Lime Dressing. Fruit Salsa, Pico Salsa, and fresh Guacamole. 

Happy Birthday Face!

After living in Phuket for more then a year we finally found the most beautiful place on the island, thanks to Edan and Andrea, and to think is is just 20 minutes away.

Edan and Andrea have a lovely place on Layan, where they cross their little road to a sandy path that takes them down to a long,  broad, white sandy beach dotted with intimate restaurants and beach bars. Not the usual cluster you see on other Thai beaches.Very local and nicely done. The water is clear blue green and the bottom all sand. We spent the afternoon with them and the dogs, exploring all their favorite parts of the beach.
Lyann Beach at low tide.
 Slow Dance is looking amazing and we have the time now to get all the detail things accomplished. Every bin in the bilge is organized in category with a list of contents on the lid as well as keeping the contents in a file on the main computer. The Lazerette has been cleaned out, painted and purged. There is a content list and everything is way easier to get to. I attribute this to "Girl Power"
Vanessa down in the Engine room, filling the batteries with water.
Vanessa and I have learned much about the boat over the past year and have become very proficient at changing the sea strainers, cleaning the grey water sensor, pumping black water, deck work, running the generators, and much much more. Actually, more then we wanted to know, but that's life on a boat!
A very organized Laz!

And if your reading this:



Sunday, January 19, 2014

Family, New Friends and The First Full Moon Party of the Year

We took Slow Dance for a test run to the duty free port of Langkawi, to pick up our new appliances that were shipped from California. It was so great to be back at sea and Slow Dance was beautiful, with her new deck, new paint, and new decor. Len and his lovely wife Erin, accompanied us, to help sail the boat down and then left for Panang to sort out their visa's for Thailand. We enlisted Brian, a seasoned sailor, to assist us in the return to Phuket. Brian has been sailing for 30 years and we enjoyed his stories and his company very much. Hope to sail with you again Brian. We spent a day exploring Langkawi like real tourist, visiting a cave, fish farm, and even took a river cruise to the Andaman sea. We stopped for lunch and had a swim at an awesome beach, where we chanced upon two young Australian lads backpacking Asia. They were headed to Thailand, so we invited them to sail back to Phuket with us, which they excitedly agreed to. Welcome aboard, Cain and Dane. Back home they work as ski lift managers at a lodge and were doing some traveling for the summer. The boy's were lovely and an amazing help. Although they had not sailed before, they were quick learners. Ron taught them several sailor knots and how to let out the Genoa, and before we reached Yacht Haven, they were navigating , hosting the sails, and tying perfect Boland knots!. The sail back was awesome.  We stopped at an island called Ko Roc Nuk, which is a national park. Anchored in 50 feet of blue green water, where you can see the sandy bottom. As soon as the boat settled down on the anchor we all had a delicious swim.

The next evening, Michelle and Wendy arrived from LA, and we sailed to Phi Phi island. To bad Brian couldn't come but he had to get back to Langkawi for a friends wedding. Dane and Cain came along and the trip was, fun, fun, fun.

On Route to Langkawi, Malaysia
Daine, Vanessa, Michelle, and Cain at Party on Phi Phi.
After being land locked for 9 months, Vanessa finally gets to sail!

Len and Ron put up the new Genoa sail
Captain Ron and Captain Brian on the way back to Phuket

We stopped at Koh Rok Nuk, a national park in Thailand, which is half way between Phuket and Langkawi. You can see 50 feet down, the water is so clear. The kids took the kyack to snorkel  on the reef.
Beach on the north end of Langkawi
The new sail went up and she is beautiful

Ron teaches the lads to tie a Boland knot

Brian and Ron, at Koh Roc Nuk. We had sweet potatoes, grilled veggies, and chicken. It taste so much better out on the sea.

Vanessa and the lads

The Phi Phi Islands are located between the large island of Phuket and the western Straight of Malacca coast of the mainland. The islands are administratively part of Krabi provence, another beautiful place we visited while Michelle was here. Ko Phi Phi Don is the largest island of the group, and is the most populated island of the group. Although the beaches of the second largest island, Ko Phi Phi Lee are visited by many people as well. The rest of the islands in the group, including Bida Nok, Bida Noi, and Bamboo Island, are not much more than large limestone rocks jutting out of the sea.
Phi Phi Don was initially populated by Muslim fishermen during the late 1940s, and later became a coconut plantation. The Thai population of Phi Phi Don remains more than 80% Muslim. The actual population however, if counting laborers, especially from the north-east, from the mainland is much more Buddhist these days. The population is between 2,000 to 3,000 people. I found the town to be way to crowded for my taste. It consists of narrow sandy paths (there are no cars on Phi Phi) lined with shops, funky bar's, restaurants, and massage huts. The village was completely destroyed during the 2004 Tsunami and much of the debris is still piled up behind fences.In spite of it all we did have a very fun evening as the party on the beach was amazing. There was dancing on the tables, incredible fire show with audience participation, buckets of booze, and awesome fireworks. Dane and Caine were a hit at jump roping the fire rope. The islands came to worldwide prominence when Ko Phi Phi Leh was used as a location for the film, "The Beach".

We anchored the boat close to the rock wall in 80 feet of water. There was a deserted beach that you could swim to and the jungle leading down to the beach was full of monkey's. Cain and Dane took the kyack over for a snorkel and got some good shots of the monkey family.

Just a short dingy ride away we discovered another beach tucked in the limestone cliffs that was amazing. The water was Krystle clear and swimming there was like heaven! We wanted to come back to make a camp fire for the night, but unfortunately had to start back for Phuket. We will do it at the end of the month when Lowell comes for a visit and we return to beautiful, Phi Phi..

A swim in Paradise. Phi Phi Don

Cain, Daine, and Vanessa on the rocks

Michelle and Wendy in the lagoon on Phi Phi Island and this was the day after they landed!

Ron and Vanessa

Vanessa puts the sail cover on

Michelle, Uncle Ron, and Vanessa at the Marriott
 The first Full Moon Party was improvised at a wooden disco on Koh Phangna, not far from the beach in 1985, for giving thanks to about 20–30 travelers. ( Wish I was there for the origin!) The parties gained fame through word of mouth, and the event now draws a crowd of about 5,000–30,000 every full moon evening.The party carries on until the sun rises the next day. The bars on the sunrise beach of Haad Rin town stay open and play music such as psychedelic trance, R&B, House, Dance and Reggae. The modern event has become a part of the itinerary of many travelers to South east Asia, and so it was with Michelle and we went along for the experience. (The oldest folks there) The Full Moon Party takes place every month throughout the year. Its attractions include fire skipping ropes,alcohol 'buckets', and a lot of dancing. Phi Phi was similar when we were there for their Friday night beach party. 
Haad Rin is densely built by hotels and guests, but on the party's date they are usually fully booked. Good thing we booked ahead! The event has cleaned up it's act over the last few years promoting games and contests, although you can get magic mushrooms at the restaurant at the end of the beach and there is an Amsterdam cafe on the hilltop that serves a menu of marijuana goodies. When you enter Thailand there are warnings that drugs carry the death penalty. Go figure?
Fire Jump Rope

Before sundown

Ready for the party

Street leading to the beach. We all got day-glow florescent body paintings. I had a dragon on my leg and a sun on my arm.

Michelle met a nice Jewish boy from Israel. There were people from all over the world.

Michelle after a few buckets!

I met the cutest puppy!
Beach at Tonsi Bay, Krabi

We said goodbye to the lads once we returned to Phuket. They were on their way to Chang Mai and then ..............Farewell Cain and Daine it was really a good adventure.

After a day of recuperation, we are on our way to Koh Samui for 4 days. Then to the Rain Forest in Khao Sok ,to stay in tree houses and explore the jungle for a few days.