Steve Martaindale

Author of the JP Weiscarver Mystery Series

To the island

good-morning

Our friends who are hosting us during our visit to Thailand both work at a scuba shop in Ao Nang. This being high season for them, we’ve squeezed in visits between the end their work day and bedtime.

Tuesday, however, brought a bit of a treat.

Catherine was hired to take a couple of Canadians diving off the coast of Koh Lanta, an island down the coast. This involved hiring a van and driver for the day and it means the driver sits around a long time while they’re out on the water.

She approached the transportation company and they agreed, for a reasonable amount, to carry the two of us along and allow Mano, the driver, to tour us around the island a bit.

It is so cool to have influential friends.

It meant leaving the house at 4:10 a.m. to make an early morning sailing. The timing was perfect in that we were on the ferry and out of the van as daylight first broke, as seen in the photo above (hand-held, by the way).

Once the divers were off, Mano found a place where we could grab a Thai breakfast in a small open-air market. After we picked out what we wanted, he waved us over to a table and said he would pay for it.

“If you pay them, it will be too expensive,” he said.

We then headed to Mu Ko Lanta National Park on the southern tip of the island. This photo shows the lighthouse on the point.

lighthouse

We left Mano near the lighthouse and took a trail that ran through the rain forest, climbing some distance uphill and ending at the gate where we found the van waiting for us. The walk was said to be only 1.75 kilometers, but it felt like more.

While we saw plenty of monkeys hanging around the center of the park, wildlife on the trail consisted of a few butterflies and swarms of ants.

Vegetation, of course, was remarkably thick, featuring some huge trees and miles of intertwining vines.

Next stop was Old Town, where Leah checked out a few shops and we got something to eat. The young lady in the next photo was absolutely charming as she pressed out dough to make what are called pancakes.

old-town-pancake

The dough is stretched thin and then fried in a large skillet while being folded over a few times to finalize the product. A variety of toppings are provided. It was tasty.

We eventually made our way back to the north end of the island to await the divers. There was a lot of traffic with incoming ferries bringing travelers, as well as the usual charter diving and fishing trips.

The next photo is of a typical member of the transportation industry here. You see converted pickups of varying degrees of charm with seats built into the beds and canopies on top. A lot of people move around that way.

taxi

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