|Breakfast with Swami,|
I'm sitting at a table in the open air restaurant at Mangrove Bungalow. It's got a lovely deck which extends out over the mangrove lined Klong Chao and is a great place to start the day. The river is high this morning but that varies with the tides. It's basically the Alligator Creek of Thailand only, instead of flowing into the Gulf of Mexico, the Chao moves through the mangroves and palm trees on its way to the Gulf of Thailand.
|Coconut boat - Koh Kood Thailand|
The last 10 days we've been staying at a family run place on Koh Kood called Mangrove Bungalow. We're paying $30 (US) a night, breakfast included, which makes it all possible. There's one resort on the island where accommodations go for as much as $17,0000 (US) a night but I wouldn't even want to stay in a bubble like that. Our cabin is 10 feet from the river. And it's a nice place. So what if nobody speaks much English? It gets awkward at times, but everybody is low key and we’re about a quarter mile from the beach so really. What’s to complain about? We point and smile and otherwise they ignore us. Here, in the land of smiles, a smile goes a long way, even when they're fake.
|View from the cabin,|
Thailand has a lot to recommend it. The people are nice and the country itself is warm, colorful, exotic, beautiful and as lively or quiet as you want it to be. We prefer quiet and, other than the ringing of the cicada, (which I love) Koh Kood is not one of the party islands. It's quiet here. It's the kind of place people come to relax. It's a family destination. Beyond that, the tourists seem to be mostly Russian or Scandinavian. We haven't seen any other Americans. My theory is that, other than tours, most Americans are convinced the world is far too dangerous to explore.
|Swami and Buddha on Koh Kood|
The hard part for me is the food. There really is a food barrier and here in Koh Kood I hit it hard. It's like people have never even heard of anyone being a vegetarian. Forget about finding tofu. We haven't even been able to get beans. The other day we ordered kale at at restaurant and it came with huge chunks of pork. But we spend a good part of every day exploring the island and its beaches on a motorbike which, for me is kind of scary, but also a helluva lot of fun. The island doesn't have any wilderness but it's not overdeveloped ... yet.
|Buddha looking over bay|
Nothing I say today, no photos I may post, guarantee Koh Kood will be the same even a year from now. Progress. Sometimes it sucks. But, for today, Koh Kood it still kind of sleepy and rural and clean. If this were Mexico, the rivers would be choked with plastic bottles and bags and foamy with soap and sewage. Not so here. They are all remarkably clean. And we’ve biked just about every road on the island and hiked a bit and there is no litter along the side of any road or in the forest. Some homes have litter around them but it's contained. Wake up, Mexico and Central America.
|Swami and Buddha on Koh Kood|
In the morning we return to Bangkok for three days then we're going to Cambodia to visit the World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat. I have to clear some hard drive space before then. I'm nearly out of storage.