Argh! I can't even remember what's happened since I last updated the blog page. James is off changing some money into Singapore dollars, as we leave Malaysia tonight on an overnight train (yay, more nightime travel!?)
We both enjoyed our birthdays on Koh Tao. For James' we went and saw Muay Thai boxing, which was interesting to see. The rules basically seem to be you can punch, kick, elbow, throw and hug your opponent...Maybe James could clarify these rules at some point. It was some kind of tournament and funnily enough, the only English competitor managed to win! Haha, beating the Thais at their own game. He also managed to knock out his final opponent to win the tournament (I didn't like that bit as it seemed like actual pain was being inflicted upon the opponent, whereas before that I could pretend they weren't hitting each other that hard!) James also lost 200 Baht in a bet with his diving instructor (a lot of the Koh Tao island were at the match), and sensibly decided to stop betting there...All the boxers he chose after that also lost, so just as well.
My birthday was very relaxing involving cocktails on the beach in the evening, a kebab and watching some fire throwers perform.
We left Koh Tao the next day and headed for the National Marine Park (Koh Tarutao) after stopping over in Hat Yai. We didn't arrive in Hat Yai till about 11pm and everything seemed to be shut. The guest house we found was full, but the owner kindly directed us to another nearby, which turned out to be dirt cheap, but not dirty (a plus).
On Koh Tarutao our first struggle was with the army of ants who seemed to have taken up residence in our bungalow. We saw monkeys in the forest when we went for a walk, but James was disappointed that at dinner the monkeys didn't steal his food (as we'd read they do). James got up at 5:30am the next day to go birdwatching (it had been my idea to do this, but when the alarm went at 5:30, I couldn't be bothered to get out of bed!) James saw lots of birds, but quickly forgot all their names and what they looked like, so proved completely useless in helping me spot birds later (maybe I should have bothered to go with James!)
Sick of the ants in our room we swapped the our accommodation for a tent on the beach, which at first just proved to cause arguments between us as we couldn't agree on the best place or way to set up our tent! Finally, after I went and spied on other tents to see how they were set up (we couldn't follow the Thai instructions) we managed to create something hospitable and headed out on a 12km trek to an old prison base. They used to keep prisoners on the island because it was difficult to get through the forest and there were crocodiles in the sea (there aren't anymore apparently). This wasn't the most successful of treks due to our slight overestimation of our walking speed. We spotted various animals on the way, many monkeys, a lizard of some kind, a weasely looking thing and a wild boar (plus some birds which James couldn't identify). Sunset was at 6:30pm, and at 5pm we were still 2km from the prison. At this point it started to rain. Not just normal rain but proper torrential like standing in the shower with your clothes on rain. It was ridiculous. After carrying on for about 2 minutes (during which time we got soaked to the skin) we decided it would be safer to give up and head back. We managed to get back to our tent just as the sun set, and after I had completely freaked out when James pointed out a scorpion about 15cms from us on the walk back.
The next day we left the island and headed for Malaysia, but that story is for another time... And it's a good story (James gets in trouble with the Malay immigration and we try our hand at trekking through the oldest rainforest in the world!)