Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Week 19.2 - Ao Nang

We were picked up late, standard for Thailand, by a rusty old mini bus to catch the ferry to Ao Nang. Surprisingly though Phuket harbour is a lot nicer than the one we last experienced in Trat and a little more organised, so we were quickly booked on and ready to go within 10 minutes, this ferry even offered free tea and coffee. Shame none of it was iced. A little boy took the seat opposite and spent the first hour of the 2.5 hour journey playing hide and seek with me and Kyle, flashbacks to the ferry to Koh Kut, though it didn’t take him long to fall asleep, thank god. The journey felt like it took ages, but it was a sunny day and I enjoyed the views of blue seas and little islands along the way.

One thing I don’t enjoy and something which seems to be ever so popular in South East Asia is the sight of Hugh Hefner wannabes and their 21 year old girlfriends!! I mean most of these girls are stunning and selling themselves seriously short for a few extra fake Chanel bags. What I don’t understand is , hows does it happen? I’m sure half of these old people can’t work the internet. Do they go to groups? Do people help them in there pursuit of these young women? When they die do the girls move on to another one, or take the money and settle into a nice little life? Totally baffled me, but if they’re happy, they’re happy I suppose.

Anyway, when we arrived at Ao Nang harbour there was lines of mini buses and song thaws, bet you can guess which ride we took? A fucking song thaw, they weren’t comfy last time and they sure as hell aren’t comfy now either! We drove along the beach to our new home, the Icheck Inn. Somewhere between an Ibis and a Marriott, the Icheck Inn is like a business hotel, somewhere work would send you if you had to go down to London or something. Not quite the feel were used to, and is certainly lacking in atmosphere, though it is clean, comfortable, comes with a pool and is ideally located for the beach. It’s just a shame that it rained all afternoon on our first day, so after a lunch in a little plastic chair local (buzzing) we did more planning for Malaysia which now includes trekking in the Cameron Highlands and visiting orang-utans in Borneo, I’m so excited about that part that I could actually wee, the trekking I could do without mind!

It doesn’t rain in Ao Nang it pours, and the next morning was another wash out. Ready and prepared with an umbrella we went in search of breakfast. Ao Nang is a predominantly Muslim community with most places selling only Halal meat and no pork, but Kyle managed to find somewhere with the tiniest scraps of bacon to accompany his eggs. Me, I stuck to banana pancakes and iced coffee.

We thought that it had brightened up in the afternoon so headed to Nopparat beach, shame it pissed it down as soon as we got there! I wasn’t too sad about it, Nopparat beach wasn’t the nicest we’ve seen and theres a huge clean up operation in place to clear all the litter left by the tourist boats. Instead of soaking up the sun we applied for more Workaway projects, watched American Psycho and listened to Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington podcasts. 

It was back to a plastic chair restaurant for tea and it did not disappoint. The part of Ao Nang where we are located has much better food and vibes than Phuket, it’s quieter, less Western and the locals are a lot friendlier, though there are still a few pestering you for tuk tuks and clothes every so often. (Just don’t head around the corner, there’s a Burger King, KFC and 20000 clothes stalls) 
The next morning I couldn’t believe my eyes when we awoke to blue skies and sunshine, so we practically ran to Ao Nang beach and straight into the sea! Kyle literally dove in and ended up with a nice graze and swollen nose, whilst Ao Nang beach is nice with clear blue water and golden sand, that sand is combined with tiny, sharp little seashells! 

After many, many hours on the beach it was time to head back to the hotel and freshen up for our cooking class. We were picked up by our instructor for the evening, Yok, and taken to Thai Charm cooking school. Yok is the sweetest, funniest Thai girl ever, her jokes were so old school that they made you wet yourself laughing, and her cooking skills were amazing. Based in Yok’s family home, Thai Charm cooking school is wonderfully located in the mountains between Ao Nang and Krabi. Here we were fortunate to make many Thai dishes including Tom Yum soup, Panang curry, papaya salad and mango sticky rice. It was a very hands on course making your own curry pastes really takes it out of you, but it was worth it to enjoy the beautiful dishes at the end! What made the evening more perfect for me was the release of the family dogs when we’d cleared everything away, she had 3 beautiful puppies that just wanted to play. Had I noticed them at the beginning of the class I don’t think that I would of got much work done.

So now were currently laid in bed, unable to move from all the food and tired from all the cooking. Lucky for us we can actually have a lie in tomorrow before making the massive 11km journey to Krabi town for our last two nights in Thailand.

Oh whilst I remember, Rith from Kratie English school in Cambodia has been in touch. The school has no volunteers for the beginning of September, meaning the wonderful children are missing out on valuable education. So if you’re heading that way, now or anytime in the future, please search for him on Facebook, Kratie English school or on Twitter, Kratie ESL. Thank you!

Love Carrie xxx

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