Friday, July 22, 2011

Week 17

Mon July 23    Cameron Highlands to Butterworth
Miles 206
Spent the morning looking around the Highlands and then motored on to Butterworth through really beautiful country.
We are camped right on the beach here and we saw the most wonderful sunset this evening.
However, we have a new hazard in our lives, coconuts. It is necessary to exercise great care when deciding where to set up the camp beds to make sure that we are not in the line of fire. You hear them falling all around and the evidence is there in the morning.
Figure 4.14: Butterworth

Tues. July 24    Butterworth to Trang
Miles 243 
A beautiful run, first along the coast and later through thick jungle. The people are embarrassingly friendly. Drove via Alor Star to Trang. The last stretch of the trip was through a national park. Very scenic country.
We started to pitch camp by the roadside, as usual, when a whole lot of villagers came out and started picking up our gear and carrying it into the village.
We thought it would be a good idea to follow it, which we did.
The headman shepherded us into a hut, some of the women brought food, and they showed us a makeshift shower that they had rigged up just outside the house area. They were extremely kind to us.

Figure 4.15: Thai villager

Figure 4.16: Trang

Wed. July 25    Trang to near Takua Pa
Miles 253
Up early and had a traditional Thai delicacy prepared for us. It  consisted mainly of fried bananas and it was very nice, too. Got away and then drove like hell until nearly at Takua Pa.
Had lunch and discussed our chances of making it through to Bangkok. It was going to involve some serious driving and there was always the chance that the monsoon rains would render the road impassable as the next 400 miles was unsurfaced. We decided to go back and enjoy a leisurely drive around Malaya instead. This seemed a much more sensible option as we had a deadline to meet to get the land rover on a boat in Singapore.
So, we about turned and drove back to near Krabi.
We are camped for the night in a garage attached to a house.
Drove through some interesting limestone country today.

Thurs. July 26    Krabi to Phattalung
Miles 141
Had a leisurely breakfast and a late start. Drove to Trang where we did our shopping. From Trang we carried on to Phattalung. Just as we were passing a little village we got a puncture. We had a hell of a job getting the inner tube back in, It took us about 2 hours.
The villagers invited us in and gave us covered sleeping space in the market and then brought us food.
Terrific people, dead friendly. Since entering Thailand we have met nothing but kindness.

Fri. July 27    Phattalung to Songkla
Miles 84
Up early to find ourselves surrounded by what seemed like the whole population.
Had breakfast, took photos and hit the road. Drove via Sadao to Songkla, where we found a very fine beach. Spent the rest of the day writing letters, reading and sleeping.
Bread and potatoes are impossible to get here so we are existing mainly on fruit, which is astonishingly cheap. About 4p for a whole branch of bananas!
Our beach is quite something and, so far, we have not been troubled by any malignant marine life, though we have heard rumors about sea snakes.

Sat. July 28    Songkla to Butterworth
Miles 145
After an early dip in the sea, on the road in a sharpish thunderstorm. Drove to the Thai border and got through after a lot of argument. It was an expensive crossing.
Carried on to Alor Star where we did our shopping. Made tracks to Butterworth and reclaimed 'our' bit of beach.
Once again, we had a beautiful sunset.
Figure 4.15: Butterworth
Sun. July 29    Butterworth to Penang

Lazy breakfast and across to Penang on the ferry. Drove along the beach until we found a fresh water stream crossing it. Did all our washing and had a swim, then took a tour right around the island. Great scenery. Went for a Chinese feed at the Hong Kong café. Had a marked difference of opinion over the bill. We won. Went to see Blood and Bones at the pictures and bloody awful it was, too.
Drove back to our bit of beach and turned in near the scout hut.

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