11’23’13 >> Barack Obama Drive
Yeah, there’s a Barack Obama Drive. Formerly known as Ocean Drive. Anyway, I took this picture while driving–not the safest thing, I know, but I just could not stop looking out my window towards the ocean. In fact, it’s been like this recently, anytime I drive along the water. The sky really seems different lately, and I’m not exactly sure what it is. It just seems bluer, and more open. Just…bigger.
I’m so much happier when there’s a body of water nearby. I’ll chalk it up to my California bones, and if that’s not enough, then well, my parents were born in Taiwan and my grandmother in Japan so I’m just genetically predisposed for a lifestyle on a tiny land mass surrounded by water. So there.
There aren’t many hiking trails around Dar, but the DiploMan and I did carve out a little path along the ocean this weekend, and though the sun was out bright bright bright over our heads, a very breezy ocean wind helped us walk swiftly along 3+ miles of oceanside cliffs. I typically shy away from taking photos of scenery and opt for shooting street scenes instead, but I’m not one to deny a beautiful image, and there were many on that day.
I don’t think I’ll ever get over the clarity of the water here. Let’s all dream about a private beach, shall we? Also, those cacti, how random, there were huge groves of them scattered throughout. Oceanside cacti, hmph! And finally, those huge airplane tires…so very LOST, isn’t it?
On the other side of Ba Dou Zi Harbor there are ,some would say, slightly less adventurous fisherman. But my, with patience that could cut through adventure. With a pier as crowded as this though, I’m surprised that there are still fish that swim near it.
In doing some trip research before leaving for Phuket, I discovered a small archipelago just off the Northwest coast of Phuket called the Similan Islands. Owned and preserved by Thailand’s National Parks System, the Islands are available to visit only between November-May. Moreover, only four of the nine islands in the archipelago were available for visit (and one set up for camping), so as to preserve the both the reefs and sea turtles who spawned on the beaches. The more information I was able to dig up on information on the islands, the surer I knew this was someplace we just HAD to visit. As soon as I mentioned the islands had limited access and sea turtles, B agreed.
Being very uncharacteristic of the DiploMan and myself, we decided to book a set tour to the islands (and blew almost a third of our budget doing so). Really, there was no alternative- our lack of knowledge for how to get around Thailand prohibited us from hatching any genius plans to reach the remote cluster of Similan islands. Plus, this two-day-one-night package was all inclusive, from picking us up at our hotel in Patong, to transporting us an hour and a half via speedboat to the island, to multiple snorkel sites around the islands, to lunch on the beaches and our own personal tour guide throughout.
I don’t regret a penny of this purchase- it was far and wide the highlight of our trip. The beaches we visited had sand that reminded me of a coarse flour meal, the water lapping up against the rocks assured me why the color Aqua was named. the DiploMan and I scoured the night for critters and creatures (as much as I could scour the night), and found sea snakes, crabs, land snakes, fruit bats, and glow in the dark plankton that lit up when you hit the water. I became adept in my snorkel abilities, and with the 30 or so foot visibility under the clear waters, saw sea turtles, an octopus, a moral eel, and hundreds of reef-dwelling fishes. Minus the mosquitos- those darned creatures- I’d say it was a pretty ultimate experience.
The DiploMan and I are in Phuket for a New Year’s Eve Trip. We’ll be celebrating 2011 exactly 13 hours ahead of our New York friends, 16 ahead of our California friends.
Happy New Year, from Thailand!