Krabi Day 03 & 04 - Muay Thai Wall & Songkran
We made our way back to Ao Nang (boat ticket cost THB100 per person) for the Songkran festivities as the celebrations in Railay paled in comparison. We quickly realised that Ao Nang seemed to be a lot quieter than it had been the year before but things started to pick up as we walked through the streets amidst groups of tourists armed with colourful water-guns of all shapes and sizes, pubs and bars with speakers set up blasting music, as well as platforms having been erected for the sole purpose of dancing. There were also countless numbers of barrels of water (a lot of them iced) that lined the streets to help those with water guns (or cannons) reload and those who didn't would just resort to lying in wait ready to ambush you with their minted powder as you passed them by. The stalls selling the wonderful barbecued meat on sticks (THB10 each) and Thai pancakes (THB30) kept us going. Funnily enough, we would occasionally come across tourists who were trying to make their way down the street attempting to stay dry and would seem somewhat antagonized once they realized that this was ultimately futile.
The word Songkran means 'to pass' or 'to move into' in Sanskrit and the celebration is known to be as one of the largest water fights in the world. The custom of the throwing of water originated from a cleaning ritual as images and statues of Buddha were cleaned with water. Using so-called 'blessed' water is also a way of paying ones respects to another and is also supposed to herald good fortune. The chalk on the other hand was originally used by monks to mark blessings and strangely enough, the combination of chalk with water seems to be somewhat similar to the festivities of Holi (India) and Śmigus-Dyngus (Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia) that also occur around the same time.
Unfortunately, the festivities tend to be marred by huge death tolls every year as alcohol, driving and riding without helmets do not make a good combination. This year the cumulative road death toll for only the first two days reached 101.
After we got back to Railay East, we decided to walk around to pass the time. We made our way to Happy Island from Phra Nang beach where we met Emilie once again. She decided to join us as we made our way around the entire island but we found out soon after that the longer we spent wading in the shallow waters, the deeper the water seemed to get. The rocks were also fairly sharp and there were quite a few sea urchins (Diadema setosum) scattered about. I decided to keep on going when the rest decided to head back as I was stubbornly adamant on circumnavigating the island.
There were a few points where things did become a little precarious, not for my own physical well-being but rather for my Nikon D7000's. This realization became especially pronounced when I happened upon two sections that required large leaps across deep channels of water with slippery, algae-covered rocks on the other side that seemed to just beg for the slightest misstep. After this point however, the side of the island became so sheer (since the stronger currents from the open ocean met the island here) that wading around became an impossibility. It was somewhere around this point where I realized that I would have to do some traversing. Doubt in my abilities began to enter my mind before I began however and I alarmingly realized that this seems to be occurring more and more frequently recently. The thoughts have turned out to be somewhat inhibiting, causing a great deal of reluctance and ultimately hindering any progress.
I managed to push pass the mental reluctance however and risking a fall into the ocean, pressed on with the traverse. The traverse itself was not easy as the overhanging rock was sharp with most of the holds being crimps. Footholds were also made slippery due to the waves that were breaking onto the side. After some time it became almost impossible to proceed with the traverse but since I had already gone too far to turn back, I decided to press on by swimming on my back with the DSLR bag held high above my head.I eventually found the others on the other side of the island somewhat concerned and worried due to the time that I had taken. By then the sun had set so we walked back to Railay East in the dark before grabbing a well deserved dinner (THB130).