14 May 2012

Beach Walking

We're staying at a hotel in Cha Am. It's fairly close to Bangkok as beaches go and it's not a particularly touristy beach. It's a beach that Thai people go to. When we arrived yesterday (Sunday) there were a lot of people here and very few white people other than our group.

Today, the beach was almost deserted. I've been a little freaked out by the jellyfish in the water so, while I've been in the water a couple of times, I haven't spent much time there.

I have, however, taken some long walks on the shore. Yesterday, Virginia and I walked 'right'...I think that's south. We mostly walked and talked about Life, the Universe, and Everything. We did see the most amazingly big jellyfish washed up on the beach. It was maybe 18 to 20 inches across. I REALLY wouldn't want to run into one of those swiming. I don't know jellyfish from marmalade so maybe these aren't "bad" jellyfish, but since I don't know, I don't want to risk it.

We also picked up some trash as we walked. I always like to do river clean ups on the rivers I paddle at home so it was nice to do a little beach clean up on the other side of the world.

Today, I walked the other direction, toward the jetty because I wanted to see what that white thing at the end of it was.

It was probably a good 15-20 minute walk to get there. That's when I discovered it was one of 2 jetties that paralleled each other and harbored fishing boats in the space betwen them.

I started to head down the jetty but the top of it was paved with asphalt and it was waaaay too hot for me to walk barefoot on. There was a raised concrete curb on one side, though, and while it was warm, it was bearable. So I walked the length of the jetty on the curb. It was wide enough that it wasn't too difficult but I really watched my step, especially where there was a steep, long drop on the water side.

I made it safely to the end and found that the big white thing was a sculpture of a couple of squid. Denmark has the mermaid a the mouth of the harbor; Cha Am has 2 giant squid.

The thing I got most excited about was a rag I saw on the rocks outside the cement curb ringing the squid. It may have been a shirt at one time. Or not. In any case it was just the thing for me. I ripped it in half and wrapped each half around a foot and tied the ends. Now I could walk back on the road instead of tight-roping it down the curb.

It got me some funny looks from the Thai people I met on the way back though. In one case, I met a man, woman and little girl walking. The man was in front and we smiled at each other (it's just what you do here...it's not called The Land of Smiles for nothing) and then he looked down at my feet in an amused way. The little girl just didn't seem to know what to make of me and was clinging to the woman's leg. I bent down a little and said, "Sawadee, kah." She gave me a brief wai and smile then retreated to the woman's leg again.

I made it back to the cooler, wet sand and took the helpful rags off my feet.

On the trip back, I saw a lot of cuttlefish 'bones'...some of then still partially surrounded by cuttlefish parts. I found a clean, fairly small one to bring home with me. I've heard they make good emery boards. Other than that the only thing I know about cuttlefish bones is that people who keep caged birds sometimes give them to the birds.

The tide was going out and leaving things on the sand...jellyfish, cuttlefish, dead fish. Although in one case I did find a live fish. It was a funny looking fish...it looked more like a giant tadpole, except with the head and gills of a fish. The body/tail part of it looked like the back end of a tadpole before it starts to grow limbs.

I picked it up and flung it back out to sea.

When I got back to where our gang was hanging out, I realized I'd sunburned the tops of my feet with my walk. Oops...