Sunday, November 9, 2008

You are the sand beneath my feet

or some other Beaches reference. ;)

On Friday my first class was at 5pm, and it was Bobby & Bunny's day off so we all went to the beach. Now, you probably don't care, but I just want to mention (for anyone doing any fact checking - or planning a Thailand vacation) that every single time I've thought I was at some particular beach, it turns out that I wasn't - I was at some other completely different beach. And here is the perfect example of how that happens.

I had a map, and we had the name of a beach we wanted to go to: Mae Luam Pung. Bunny & Bobby had actually been there before. We went to the main road to catch a songthaew. A motorcycle taxi driver actually tried to help us. When the Ban Phe songthaew came by Bunny walked up to the window to ask if it was going to our beach, the driver was saying "mai chai" (not correct), but Bunny insisted that our beach was before Ban Phe so the songthaew would go past it on it's way. Since she was climbing onto the songthaew Bobby and I decided to join her even if it wasn't the right one. Sure enough, as we made the turn to Ban Phe, Bunny was like "Oh... I don't think this one goes to the beach we want afterall." =P

No big deal actually, since we were still headed towards the ocean. As we left Ban Phe proper the driver stopped and asked us where exactly we wanted to go, I said "Laem Mae Phim" since I was still under the impression that that was the beach I liked. But then we got to the beach I liked and I rang the bell. The other women in the songthaew were like "mai chai" - you know, it's not Laem Mae Phim... but I was like "ta lai" (the ocean) and gave them all a big smile & a thumbs up. Because really... whatever beach I end up at, I'm pretty happy.

I mean seriously... can you see even one thing to complain about here? Flat calm bath-water warm waters barely rippling to the shore, comfy beach chairs and a view of a tropical island in the distance. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh..... this is why I'm in Thailand! Every other comment we made was followed with "This is amazing." I've since asked a bunch of people which beach is between Ban Phe and Laem Mae Phim, and learned that this one is called Suon Son. And today I actually saw a sign with the English transliteration, confirming that this is in fact that beach. ;)
With the exception of a few kids in an inner tube, we had Suon Son beach to ourselves. Amazing!

I was glad we went because Saturday was another hellish day with the young learners classes. I'm starting to get some ideas about what they already know and what they need to learn, but man. They don't want to be there, I don't want to be there... it's ugly. There's only one thing to do after a day like that... back to the beach!

This time I was bound and determined to get to a specific beach and I decided on Laem Mae Phim (since I'd been incorrectly telling people I'd been there). I enlisted the help of another motorbike taxi driver and we sat for a while waiting for a songthaew. I learned a new word last night "stay" and was thrilled when I heard the driver ask me "You stay where?" (where do you live?) and could answer him. Eventually the correct songthaew came by and he hailed it for me. The songthaew went past Ban Phe, it went past Suon Son and it just kept going. It was much father away than I had realized, we just kept on going, and for part of the way we were a bit inland which made me nervous. But eventually we got out towards water again and I saw a long stretch of beach with restaurants & shops so I asked another rider if we were at Laem Mae Phim - "chai" (correct) and I got off at my intended destination! =)

More flat calm bath-water warm ocean, more soft sandy beaches, more little restaurant shacks along the shore. It was grey and overcast, warm but not hot - not ideal beach weather, but nice enough. There were a lot of Thai families here today, but it still wasn't too crowded - as you can see. I swam and relaxed in the water for a blissful hour or so. As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed a bunch of other farangs wading into the water. It's a sign of things to come, tourist season is just beginning.

As we drove back through Ban Phe I noticed several other white faces at the bars and restaurants along the way. It would be hypocritical for me to complain about the influx of my western brothers & sisters, but it does feel weird. I've heard that a lot of the tourists (both Thai and farang) who come to Rayong will be from other parts of Thailand, mostly Bangkok - just coming in for a weekend at the beach. It'll be interesting to see "my" beaches fill up over the course of high season.

Overall, Laem Mae Phim is a good beach, but not appreciably different from Suon Son - which is closer and cheaper to get to... so I probably won't be going back any time soon. There are still a few other beaches I want to try to get to... and you can be sure that I'll report back on them here... with or without the actual *name* of the beach I'm reviewing. ;)

TAG: Code Mango

1 comment:

Libby said...

This post is really envy inducing on a cold grey uneventful midwestern day.....!