|Breakfast with Swami,|
I'm sitting at a table in the open air restaurant at Mangrove Bungalow. It's got a lovely deck which extends out over the mangrove lined Klong Chao and is a great place to start the day. The river is high this morning but that varies with the tides. It's basically the Alligator Creek of Thailand only, instead of flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Chao moves through the mangroves and palm trees on its way to the Gulf of Thailand.
Gulf of Thailand
The last 10 days we've been staying at a family run place on Koh Kood called Mangrove Bungalow. We're paying $30 (US) a night, breakfast included, which makes it all possible. There's one resort on the island where accommodations go for as much as $17,0000 (US) a night but I wouldn't even want to stay in a bubble like that. Our cabin is 10 feet from the river. And it's a nice place. So what if nobody speaks much English? It gets awkward at times, but everybody is low key and we’re about a quarter mile from the beach so really. What’s to complain about? We point and smile and otherwise they ignore us. Here, in the land of smiles, a smile goes a long way, even when they're fake.
|View from the cabin,|
Thailand has a lot to recommend it. Thai people are nice and Thailand is warm, colorful, exotic, beautiful and as lively as you want it to be or not. We prefer quiet and, other than the ringing of the cicada, (which I love) Koh Kood is very quiet. Families with very young children are common here and, for whatever reason, a lot of them are either Russian or Scandinavian. In fact, with or without children, the Russians and Scandinavians love this place. We haven't seen any other Americans here but then we rarely see other Americans anywhere. My theory is that, other than package plans like cruises, most Americans have been convinced that the world is far too dangerous to poke around in.
|Biking Koh Kood with M. Lee|
The hard part for me is the food. There really is a food barrier and here in Koh Kood I hit it hard. Seems people have never heard of anyone being vegetarian. Forget about tofu. Nobody even serves beans. The other day we ordered kale at at restaurant and it came with huge chunks of pork. But we spend a good part of every day exploring the island and its beaches on a motorbike which, for me is kind of scary but also a helluva lot of fun. The island doesn't have any wilderness but it's not overdeveloped ...yet. But it's coming fast.
|Koh Kood fishing village|
Nothing I say today, no photos I may post, guarantee Koh Kood will be the same even a year from now. Progress. Sometimes it sucks. But, for today, Koh Kood it still kind of sleepy and rural and clean. If this were Mexico, the rivers would be choked with plastic bottles and bags and foamy with soap and sewage. Not so here. They are all remarkably clean. And we’ve biked just about every road on the island and hiked a bit and there is no litter along the side of any road or in the forest. Some homes have litter around them but it's contained. Wake up, Mexico and Central America.
|Can you find the Buddha in this photo?|