Khao Sok is a beautiful place, our friends there have become parts of our hearts and to be honest we were missing them by the time we had packed our bikes. To quote Juliet, "Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, That I shall say good night till it be morrow." Although I would hardly call the team at Khao Sok Valley Lodge our Romeos!
For our last day Man (pronounced Min for non Thai speakers) gave us a very special trip, firstly he took us to a cave and showed me the Giant Golden Orb spider, a beautiful and delicate animal that I have wanted to see for a long time. He then took us to a place he has not taken a tourist before, to his parents home where they work on the rubber plantation. He taught us how to cut the bark on a rubber tree to ensure that the raw latex sap runs into the collection bowl and showed us how it is processed into raw rubber mats. The shock came when he told us how much work it takes to earn enough to afford to live.
Next time you buy a rubber product, think of our friend Men, he probably had a hand in its making, the amount of effort it took to earn the thirty Thai Baht per kilo as a reasonable wage though is shocking.
Our last night of freedom in the park though was spent at a party with Mr Bao, whose Father cooked for us traditional Thai rice wrapped in banana leaves and steamed in a bamboo pole. The Rice was delicious as was the meat cooked by Bao's wife Oye.
It was a real honour for us to be invited to dinner like this and it just reminded us of how lucky we are as travellers in that we have found the most amazing people as we have gone. So yes, Juliet was right, parting is such sweet sorrow.
We packed the bikes and then came the time to say good bye to Sai and Man, the work force at the lodge.
Carol was as always dignified and gentle. Jayne was not!
The ride back to Koh Samui had begun and it was a long hot day in the saddle.
Sometimes the views are just too amazing to miss out, even when on a ferry!
Back on Koh Samui the roads were as manic as always and finally exhausted we arrived at our destination only to find that the beach bungalow we had booked had turned into an up stairs room in a block, hardly the paradise we had wanted to celebrate our anniversary. Yes, poor Carol has endured my constant farting, poo jokes and swearing for six years, bless her! The room was beautiful, but it was not what we had booked and as Carol discussed this with the hotel owner, Jayne was left almost in tears by one of the members of staff.
A beautiful Forest Scorpion had come out onto the hotel forecourt looking for water due to the drought on Samui, now a sting from one of these animals is painful, but then so is a bee sting and they are equally dangerous. In Khao Sok, Jayne had been able to handle one of these beautiful creatures in safety because the jungle guide removed the sting, leaving the animal safe and growing a new one which takes about thirty days. At Sea Deang, the owner of the restaurant Jenny came out and battered the animal with a stick, leaving it as a battered mess on the road. Sadly the creature was still alive and another guest finished the job off to end the animals suffering. This simple act of animal murder made Jayne want to leave immediately and Carol was in agreement.
These are docile and gentle animals, just like bees and if left alone to wander as they wish, just like bees, they harm no one. Having a wild scorpion walk up my arm and come to a rest on my shoulder under my hair was probably one of the most wonderful moments of our trip. Seeing one murdered outside the hotel was the worst and I can never forgive such a barbaric action.
So now we are staying in the Boardrooms and the place is lovely, but that is a story for another day...