THIS DIDN’T POST TO FB THE FIRST TIME SO AM TRYING AGAIN.
The title of this blog describes a pro and a con since it includes the word international. PRO–the island and especially New Bungalow have an international clientele. One hears German, Greek, French, Dutch, Russian, Swedish, Hebrew, Finnish, British and Canadian English. Did you notice American English is missing? Haven’t met an American (other than my friend Paula #1) since Chiang Mai, a characteristic that pleases me.
The CON aspect of New Bungalow is a preponderance of German speakers–my least favorite language to hear–followed by the second most unpleasant to my ear, Russian. Two young Russian women occupy the bungalow across from me now that Paula has left and I’ve moved further back from the beach. The resort didn’t have an available “deluxe” bungalow ($20 for a single) so they put me in a standard one ($10). At least it has its own bathroom though the toilet is Thai (squat) not Western (sitting). Not my favorite thing but manageable for one night. Hopefully tomorrow there’ll be a more upscale place available.
A FEW MORE PROS:
1) The fabulous 3-mile beach with its golden sand, crystal clear water and pale green calm sea.
2) The lack of high-rises and big resorts.
3) The emptiness of its beach–considered crowded when more than two people are in the water and closer than a hundred yards.
4) Its great shells. Did I mention that Paula #1 decided to bring back a shell for each of the 175 students where she teaches? She thought the students would appreciate them a lot since Laos is land-locked. We had great fun collecting shells for three days. When she sorted out the 175 best ones a couple hundred remained. This morning I gave a baggie full of the leftovers to a four-year old Swiss-Greek
girl. If this blog will accept photos, you’ll see a picture of the shells on our porch table prior to sorting.
5) Great seafood. At our Weds. night dinner in town when the Mongolian singer performed, we had freshly-caught barracuda. We know it came from the sea that morning because as Paula and I walked through town around 10 a.m., the restaurant owner came out proudly holding the yard-long fish.
6) The variety of restaurants available–three within a 10 minute walk of New Bungalow plus several in town, about 20 minutes away by foot.
7) Monkeys! This morning as I walked back from an adventure (visiting the Muslim village about 4 miles from here), about a dozen monkeys greeted me. First time I’ve seen them on the island.
8) Incredible sunsets every night.
SOME MORE CONS:
1) Electricity available only from 6 – 10:30 p.m. in many resorts, including mine. That’s when the owners run the generator. It’s not as inconvenient as you might think. The bright sun provides plenty of light, there’s a breeze most of the time, and if I want to read late at night, my “miner’s headlamp” comes out to illuminate the pages.
2) Limited wifi due to the above. However, there’s a resort at the end of the beach, about a leisurely 10 minute walk away, that has continue electricity and wifi. One can buy a cup of coffee or beverage and spend hours overlooking the beach while on-line.
3) Tepid to slightly cool showers at New Bungalow and other low-cost resorts. Sometimes warm water comes out for the first five minutes thanks to the afternoon sun’s power.
4) Getting here requires a flight or overnight bus from Bangkok to Krabi in the south and then a 90-minute, crowded ferry boat ride followed by a brief long boat ride to shore.
5) The worst con—tiny jellyfish that sting, something that didn’t happen two years ago except when snorkeling at a nearby island. Someone told me that the mature, large jellyfish spawn in the shallow water and then return to the deep sea where local fisherman collect them for export to China. The discomfort lasts less than five minutes and rates about 2 or 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Usually I get two or three stings during a dip. Today I tucked the skirt of my bathing suit into its bottom and after that no more stings happened. Hope this method works in the future.