Reptilian Claws


I rise with the sun, my hut increasingly warm in the early morning. Over and through the large black rocks I climb to Railey west, the beach around the corner from Ton Sai. There is a longer path through the mangroves I later learn but the scenic route is sincerely fun. The beach of Railey west is more beautiful than Ton Sai, smoother white sand and less rocks to wade through in the water. Railey west is also only accessible by long tail but caters to a different crowd for there are only chic resorts that line the beach. Couples and European families joyfully play as they enjoy pricy substance. A coke is more costly here than in the US and there are no rastas to chat with on this side of the coast.

I entertain myself well by sneaking into a fancy resort and sitting on a chaise lounge by a private pool with jacuzzi jets before trekking to Railey east, another beach enclave through the forest of tropical trees and enormous limestone rocks. There is an amazing hike to a viewpoint where one can view Railey east, west, and Ton Sai concurrently. I climb the rugged trail barefoot and in a bikini, it is delicious to feel the rust colored mud beneath my feet as I scramble over the huge rocks, sometimes using the ropes secured into the earth to pull my body upward. It is a Jurassic park journey up the mountain side to the lookout, dinosaurs perhaps lurking in the shadows.

As I crawl back down I assist a heavy Korean man who is sweating and swearing profusely. We climb together and I select to pee in the woods before heading back to Railey west for another dip in the sea, washing away the red dirt that lines my skin with the snazzy patrons of this enclave. I head back to Ton Sai in a different route with a pack of rope carrying climbers, the tide low enough to walk along the seaside (sort-of). It is all adventurous and one can understand why the rock climbing lovers flock here with passion.

From a tree-top platform bar I watch the sun set over the Andaman sea, blessing his grace with love. A cold, smelly water shower in the dark (the electricity is malfunctioning) does not steal my happiness nor does the throngs of mosquitoes.  Ton Sai is gorgeous and all are too kind, particularly the toothless poi spinner who attempts to teach me some new tricks. He is so patient as I bonk my head with the plastic training poi. Play time never ends!

At another local joint I share a table with a friendly couple, he German and she Danish. They met in Vietnam on their multiple month long travels and look strikingly similar. The cuisine in south Thailand is representative of the environment and includes a lot more fish and seafood, rice dishes baked in whole pineapples, and of course, the roti (the Thai version of a French crepe served in various sweet and savory flavors). In Ton Sai as compared to many places in visited in Thailand, there is no potted meat on sticks.

We all head to a bar together to listen to some live tunes by a wildly mixed group of musicians…a few Thai rastas, a lead singer speaking Spanish and with the best mohawk, and a chubby guy maintaining the hydration of all by serving something from a multiple strawed plastic beach bucket. Ton Sai, Ton Sai love!

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