Monday, August 5, 2013

Just Another Day in Paradise

On Monday, my last full day on the island, (and I had to consult my phone to figure out what day it was-I've already hopelessly lost track) I started out with no particular plans. I'd already been snorkeling, already been to the viewpoint, already explored the village; what else to do?
First, I went out to buy a cheap bag. My purse had survived a day in the boat on the snorkeling trip only getting slightly damp, only to fall victim to a water bottle with a loose lid in the hotel room.  Fortunately nothing was damaged, but I needed something else for the day while it dried out.  I found a brown cloth shoulder bag with gold elephants on it, so it'll make a nice souvenir. 
I started out wandering along the beach road along Ton Sai Bay. I wanted to try the fried crab at one of the beach restaurants I'd passed several times, but it turned out that for lunch they were only serving a buffet; I took a look at it, but it was uninspiring so I kept going. I found another place down a ways where I ordered a shrimp and broccoli dish, and some spring rolls. 
The spring rolls were good, and the broccoli not bad, but unfortunately the shrimp was disappointingly bland. I though Thai food was supposed to be spicier than this; but maybe it's because this is such a tourist place.  While I am talking about food, maybe I should mention the spring rolls.  I know we Americans think of them as a distinctly Chinese food, but many Asian countries have a version.  Although here they may just be Chinese to draw in the many Chinese tourists I saw on the island. I've been eating them a lot, because I've missed them.  I know, I live in China.  But they just aren't as common as Americans think they are. While we eat them with every Chinese meal ever, in China they are just one dish, that isn't available everywhere.  Since they're a little more time-consuming to make, most little restaurants don't bother.  In fact, I haven't had a single one since moving to Wuhan.
Anyhow, after lunch I continued down the beach road; I thought it might be possible to walk all the way to Long Beach, but the path seemed to dead-end into a grove of bungalows.  I suppose that is why the usual way to go to Long Beach is by a boat taxi. I could have found one, but I was just out to poke around anyway, and besides it was getting quite hot.
I went back through the village to the bay on the other side of the island, Loh Dalum Bay. This bay is very shallow-knee deep almost all the way out at low tide, with several sand bars.  Since it is shallow and mostly sandy, in the sunlight the water is that shade of green that gave the name to the sea green crayon.
I had been waffling about swimming again; it was a perfect day for it, and besides, that's what you do on an island.  But if I swam, my clothes wouldn't have time to dry before I had to pack up, and who wants damp salty clothes in their bag? The bay looked so inviting, though, that I figured I'd worry about damp clothes later.
I took a while to cool off at the hotel and use the wifi to work on some plans for the next few days, then headed back to the beach about about an hour before sunset.
I waded out into water so warm it could have been bath water.  I thought it might get a bit deeper after the sandbar, but though I went out probably 200 feet, it never got much past my knees.  I sat in the water and floated around, enjoying the view and the perfect weather.  Some people had rented kayaks and paddled past on their way out to the rocks where the bay opens to the sea; I'd meant to kayak at some point.  I could see people sitting up on the rocks at the viewpoint high on the hill; it would be a great place to watch the sunset up there, but I didn't have time to get there by the time the sun set, even if I could talk myself into climbing all those steps again.  Earlier I had been thinking I'd done all there was to do, but now I wished I had another day.
I floated around peacefully until the sun sunk below the nearest hill. I didn't want to get out even then, but I wanted to get back to my camera, which I'd left with my bag and towel on the beach, in time to capture the sunset. I sat on the beach and wrote postcards until the sky turned pink. It was a nice sunset, but I only took my camera and not my phone to the beach with me, so you'll just have to wait to see those photos. 
After a quick shower, I went out to dinner and then back to my room to unscatter my belongings back into my backpack.  


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