Beach loafing in Cha-am, Thailand

Posted: February 25, 2011 in South East Asia
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The flight from Dhaka to Bangkok was quick though a touch on the turbulent side for us. Our exit from Bangladesh was superb; at the airport, Muneeza suddenly looked up and said “Aren’t they cricket players?”. Cue the England squad walking right past us and I would have missed them if it hadn’t been for my jani. I spoke to a few of them and wished them good luck, then spotted KP with Jimmy Anderson straggling at the back. Typical of KP’s languid and laid back approach no doubt. I asked them for a photo and he replied, “Not in that mate!”. I looked down and realised I had on my spanking new Bangladesh World Cup shirt. Work it boy. I just laughed and told them I’d still support them and he smiled and posed for the photo. Nice chaps though they looked a bit tired and judging by the performance against Holland, they didn’t recover.

I do love to be beside the seaside

We left our main luggage at the lovely Swan Hotel in Bangkok and took the morning bus south to Cha-am. I’d booked us into the budget Cha-am Beach Villa for a mere 500baht per night (10GBP) so was expecting the worst. However, we were happy to find a spotlessly clean and large room with ensuite, AC and TV.

We spent the first 2 days soaking up the sunshine by the pool and on the beach. Cha-am doesn’t have the allure of the islands but the beach is decent and it makes a perfect short trip from Bangkok. The food here is pretty cheap as well so we have been eating like lords though made a schoolboy error and ate from the plate of death in a local shack. The place was popular so we thought the food had to be good; mistake. We ordered seafood omlette and what was served was a pool of oil with some ragged burnt eggs floating on the top. Muneeza sensibly turned her nose up but I ploughed on determined not to waste money. I spent the rest of the day feeling that being sick would be a blessing.

We had forgotten how calming it is to wile away a morning on the beach with the soporific effect of the waves gently lapping the shore. I also gave sea swimming a shout and soon realised how tiring it is to swim against the tide. Still, it was welcome exercise and I felt better for having put the effort in.

Thailand’s largest National Park

Just don’t try going there by bike! On Wednesday 23rd, I hired a moped for a day trip to the Kreung Krachan National Park. Muneeza was suffering from a grumbly tummy, so happily left me to my own devices. I know I’m behind the times but this is the first time I have ever hired a moped and I loved it. It was hugey satisfying to burn up the highway, wind rustling my straggly beard and rushing up my shorts to give me a little thrill. The moped was spanking new so had pretty good acceleration and at 80km/h it felt quite fast. Yes I do live on the edge.

The ride up to the park entry was thoroughly enjoyable, passing through local villages and rolling hills. The heat when I stopped was stifling, so I had to remind myself to keep adding suncream lest my delicate skin turn to lobster pink. I got to the park in just over an hour and was really excited. At just over 3,000 km2 it’s the largest wildlife park in Thailand and home to tigers, elephants and a host of other mammals. My Jungle Jim fever took over and I was convinced that I’d finally spot a wild tiger. Within seconds my hopes were brutally crushed; only cars and jeeps are allowed inside the park boundaries, bikes can only stick to the peripheral roads. My childlike enthusiasm for the adventure waned rapidly.

Instead of ruining the experience, I decided to make the most of my time and set off to explore the outreaches of the park. Despite the disappointment, the ride was thrilling and cut through rolling hills and past gorgeous lakes and valleys. There was not so much as a peak of the animals I so desparately wanted to see but the scenery was envigorating and I was chilled to the bone. I left earlier than planned due to the limited access and reached Cha-am just after 1pm in time to find Muneeza and head to the beach for a few more hours.

Finding my inner girl

On Thursday I fully embraced the ladyboy within me. Following an hour long traditional Thai massage, we went to the beauty parlour and had a pedicure. It’s a wonderful feeling to have your feet soaked, cleansed and pampered and I’m happy to admit it. I drew the line at having my nails painted and instead splashed some extra baht on getting my feet scraped. For those of you who haven’t given pedicures a shot, this involves a poor girl scraping all the dead skin off your feet and then giving them a buffing to leave you clean and smooth. After months of walking around in flipflops, you’ll be amazed at how hard and dry the prominent parts of your feet get. It’s not a pretty sight.

You should have seen how much dead skin peeled off my bad boys; by the end the floor looked like a sandstorm had hit town. I felt sorry for the girl but she was perfectly content and carried on smiling. Still, I tipped her for what I had put her through.

We wrapped up our last day of the Cha-am mini vacation with a few cocktails at the Sweet Home restaurant and greedily wolfed down green thai curry and stir-fry shrimp; it’s not a bad life.

love jamer & muneeza x

Cha-am Beach Thailand

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