Travel Diary: September 14, 2012 - September 17, 2012
The weather was excellent as we headed down the beach early in the morning to check out the small town on White Sandy Beach. There are mainly restaurants/bars, hotels, massage studios, souvenir stores, and tour operator booths. The town is really lacking in diversity here! We wandered as far South as the town extended and it took over an hour to do just 1 side of the street. We weren’t shopping for anything in particular, just browsing and seeing what was available.
We spent the rest of the day beaching, swimming, and sunning! I may have gotten a bit too much sun!
Unfortunately, it started raining mid-afternoon so I sat on beanbags and used the Internet for awhile. The biting ants definitely enjoyed pestering me!
At 9:30am, we were picked up for a taxi and headed to an elephant reserve for a 2-hour trekking journey! Now I know I said I wasn’t a fan of jungle trekking, but this is different. We didn’t have to walk. All we had to do was sit on the back of a giant elephant!
We named ours Rufus and had a wonderful 1.2 hour jaunt up hills into a jungle with pomelo trees and a rubber orchard.
After the trek, Rufus walked far back into a river and we were able to go swimming with him for about 15 minutes. This was definitely one of the highlights of our entire trip! We were swimming with an elephant!
We’d climb onto his back and then he’d knock us off when his mahout (trainer) told him to. Barrels of fun and there weren’t even monkeys around!
We were driven back to the 7-11 beach accessway after the swim and headed off down the beach in search of lunch. We found a nice spot with tables on the beach and settled down to noodles and curry.
We met a hilariously old (maybe 50yo?) Aussie named Julius. Turns out he’s a highly-profitable drug dealer back in Australia and travels for a large portion of the year. When he’s home, he stays in a room in the hotel he owns on a mountain. Hilarious? Yes, you meet the most interesting people while travelling!
Since he was travelling alone, Julius was lonely and really wanted someone to talk to. We probably could have stayed all night and day and he would have kept talking! After lunch was done, we made up some excuse and quickly hurried off along the beach. Who knows where the conversation would have gone. We heard about his sexcapades, travels in Cambodia, money-grubbing children, why he hates the USA, drug dealing in Australia and MUCH more.
So we scurried a few huts down the beach and had (relaxing?) Thai massages right on the beach! The sound of the waves crashing on the sandy dunes made the whole experience infinitely more relaxing … well, it was supposed to be relaxing. Funnily enough, Thai massages really hurt. At one point, the small Thai women are actually standing on your back and legs, stamping down on you. I’d say it was definitely more enjoyable afterwards than during!
We spent the evening swimming (ok, Barbara swam) and doing laundry.
The day that rain happened at Rock Sand. It literally poured ALL DAY! We woke up to thunderstorms and they just kept on going. There were definitely some great positives to the rain though:
1. The hotel turned into a giant waterfall. The stairways and kitchen all flooded since there was so much rain.
2. Everyone in the hotel came down to the restaurant for the day.
3. People from the nearby accomodations without a restaurant came over for food. So everyone was gathered around eating delicious food and watching the rain. It was a fabulous time and the whole thing felt very communal.
Around mid-afternoon, I grew tired of lazing around in the restaurant with everyone else. So we put on our rain jackets and went out exploring the beach. The whole strip of land was deserted since everyone was indoors hiding from the torrential rain. We just trudged along and had the entire beach to ourselves! When we reached the Northernmost tip, we clambered over rocks to watch crabs hiding in the surf. I’m definitely glad we decided to get out and explore, despite the rain.
When darkness fell, we headed out onto the beach and into the storm in search of dinner. We’d eaten many meals at Rock Sand and wanted to try something new. A few of the bars down the beach advertised bands and live music but these were mostly all cancelled due to the rain. Surprisingly, the largest resort on the beach had a 20% discount on food AND a live band. We were soaked from visiting bars further South on the beach, but the BBQ chicken was good and the Thai band covering Western songs was hilariously good!
Sadly, this was to be our last day at Rock Sand. We’d both grown to love this resort.
The location was perfect and our beachfront room with porch was amazing. The food was always delicious, no matter what we ordered. The staff were great to chat and joke with. The owners were friendly Westerners. I could have easily stayed another week there, but it was time to leave.
We very slowly packed up, said goodbye, and wandered down the beach to the 7-11.