Friday, 4 April 2014
04.04.2014 - 04.04.2014
We arrived off the island of Ko Samui in the early predawn and were safely anchored at 07:00. We were booked on a shore excursion and were assembled at 07:15 and soon after were escorted onto a local vessel for the short trip to the pier. On arrival we were allocated in groups of eight to 4WD vehicles which whisked us to the Namuang Safari Park. There we were seated in pairs on an elephant, quite an interesting process and all expertly conducted by the staff. The ride was most uncomfortable given the ungainly gait of the elephant. Our steed was determined to overtake slower animals ahead and walked close to the edge of the road, from atop that beast the ground was a long way down. My attempts to photograph resulted in unidentifiable blurs.
When all of the group had safely returned we watched a demonstration of a trained monkey harvesting coconuts. It is claimed that a monkey can harvest between 800 and 1000 coconuts in a day. This was followed by an entertaining display by a pair of elephants who performed a number of unlikely balancing feats. Next on the tour was a demonstration of Thai cooking. Our tour guide concocted a Green Papaya Salad. It looked great and was fiercely hot. Most of the group refrained from eating any of it.
We were loaded onto our vehicles and driven to the Na Muang Falls where we joined a multitude of other tourists. Our guide explained that due to a record dry season there was NO water in the waterfall. Not deterred, there were dozens of local vendors selling a bewildering range of local craft and other gift items. Next stop was a demonstration of the rubber-tree tapping industry which has faded with the rise of tourism. The demonstration site looked like the remnants of a once-thriving operation. That was the final stop on quite a busy morning and we were taken back to the pier where we boarded one of the ship's tenders.
Back aboard our first priority was to strip off our drenched cloths and had a welcome shower. Once refreshed we found our way to the buffet for lunch after which we retired to the cabin to study our eye-lids from the inside. We woke in time to dress for "Formal Night" and joined Mike for a Jewish Sabbath Eve Service in the library. There was just Mike and Rachel and Jenny and I and they explained many of the elements of the service. Afterwards we drank a small glass of wine and some pieces of a very soft special bread. We missed a repeat of the Captain's Cocktail Party but the experience was well worth it.
The dinner was the usual 'formal' affair with wonderful lobster tails on the menu. Dr 'Chuck' Mitchel paid us a visit to pass on his email address. For some reason he's befriended us and shares breakfast with us most mornings. After dinner we attended the encore performance by Paul Cincotta, an excellent show worthy of the standing ovation.
Clocks forward an hour tonight and we have another full day at sea before we arrive in Singapore.
I'll upload an image from this morning. You'll find it on my 365 Project http://365project.org/tonydebont/365/2014-04-04
Cheers .. Tony