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Krabi, Day 7, Friday

Written on: Friday July 13th, 2007

A journal entry from: Elective

Today started with a bang, literally. Being woken up at 4am by a raging storm was not my idea of fun. The rain was lashing down, and the wind was howling loudly, keeping me up for quite a while.

When it was eventually time to get up, at around 8am, we got ready for the day ahead - horse trekking along the beach. I was extremely excited, and had pretty much persuaded Sophie that it would be amazing. At breakfast, we joked around with our leader, saying that as it was Friday the 13th, one of us was bound to fall off the horse. Oh, the irony.

On arrival at the stables, we were informed that the horses were 'young', which should have started alarm bells ringing in my head, but we carried on regardless. I explained that although I wasn't a majorly experienced equestrienne, I was by no means a complete beginner either. The lady who ran the trekking decided that I could go on a horse called Magnum, who could be quite difficult at times, but apparently would be ok. I swung myself into the saddle with false bravado, and tried to look confident. To be honest, I wasn't feeling too bad at this point, and thought I'd be able to handle it. How wrong can you get? Right from the word go, the horse was a nightmare. Feisty, headstrong, disobedient...the list goes on. I managed quite well, considering, but it was beginning to get very tiring keeping him on the straight and narrow. To make matters worse, nobody had warned us that going early in the morning was a bad idea as the tide would be high still. Walking on the beach was practically impossible, as there was only about a metre of sand, and it was wet, so the horses were sinking to their knees almost. I wasn't feeling very comfortable with the whole situation, particularly as the waves crashing so closely to us were spooking the horses, causing them to wildly shy away, setting us off balance. The whole time, my horse was causing me trouble, but I can't blame the horse, as I can understand why they were scared. That said, I was cursing the beast when it took off in the opposite direction to the guide and Sophie. I managed to haul it round, but then it thought it was a good idea to head straight for a low-slung branch. Marvellous. As I ducked under the branch, leaning slightly to my right, the horse neatly side-stepped left, leaving me desperately trying to regain balance, and failing miserably. As I hit the ground, the breath left my body in one sharp whoosh, and I barely had time to fling my arms around my face before the horse's front hoof landed in the sand next to me. I was more embarrassed than hurt, particularly when the guide seemed to be making out that it was my fault. I did cut my elbow on something (no idea what) but it was my pride that came out the most bruised.

After this incident, my horse was still extremely skittish, and I just was not feeling safe anymore. The guide then thought it would be a better idea to leave the beach, and trek on the road instead. Not a chance, I thought. I had images of the horse bolting in front of a speeding truck, and both me and it disappearing underneath the wheels. With shaky legs and trembling hands, I dismounted and refused to get back on, despite the disgruntled guide trying to persuade me otherwise. There was just no way I was going to put myself at that risk, and eventually he realised that nothing would get me back on the horse. He called someone at the farm, who came to pick us up on a moped. 3 people on one tiny scooter was just as unsafe, and we were clinging on for dear life!

Once safely back at the farm, we explained to the owner what had happened, and luckily she decided to refund some of our money. That didn't compensate for having to walk back into the hotel and answer everyone's surprised questioning as to why we were back so early, and more to the point, why was I covered in wet sand? Not my finest moment!

Following that disaster, we felt that a trip to a massage parlour was in order, as we'd been tempted by a Thai massage since day one. I was hoping that they could restore some life into my weary back, and ease my aching joints. Let me tell you, a Thai massage was not the best thing for easing pain! It certainly was not the type of massage that you could lay back, close your eyes and drift away to. We were taken through to a row of mattresses, and given special trousers to wear. We then laid on our backs in wait for the masseurs. My lady arrived first - a petite Thai woman that didn't look strong enough to perform the job in hand, but she certainly managed! She pushed and pulled my limbs in weird and wonderful positions that I didn't think I could physically stretch to, but stretch I did and it was pretty sore at times! She used her hands, elbows, knees and feet, standing on me, sitting on me, using her feet to hold me in place while she stretched out my legs. At one point, she had my back on her knees, balanced in mid-air. It was certainly a different experience! We all had a moment of amusement as well, when Ellie's masseur appeared, and was a larger lady who announced that she was 'strong'. Ellie's face was an absolute picture - the sheer terror was clearly visible! Classic! 

We headed to the beach afterwards, to take a leisurely stroll in the sea, but it was fairly dull for a while, before the sun broke through the clouds and brightened the sky. It wasn't as hot today, which was a relief after yesterday's roasting.

On the evening, we had a 'surprise' that had been planned for us by our leader. She took us along to a Thai Homestay, where we ate together with the Thai people that lived there. I have to admit to being a little nervous at first, as I wasn't sure what we would be served and whether or not I would like it. When we arrived, we were shown the main business of the village - rubber trees. It was fascinating to see one of the men shave away a sliver of bark to reveal a white, milky-looking substance not unlike PVA glue which was the rubber.

When we entered the hut, which was the dining hall, we were all seated in a large circle on the floor (with cushions), and bottles of water were doled out to us. There was a heady aroma of roasting garlic, and spices, which smelt delicious, and our mouths were watering in anticipation. All worrying thoughts had melted away by this point, as the smell was just amazing. There was a group of Thai people sat in another large circle just behind us, and although they didn't specifically speak to us, the atmosphere was good and we enjoyed sharing the meal with them. Everyone was given a bowl of rice, and then the main courses were placed in the middle for all to share. Red Thai curry, spicy peanut stir-fry, prawns with tomato and soy sauce, grilled fish, and Massaman curry were just a few of the choices! It was lovely food, but extremely spicy, and I made short work of my bottle of water.

Overall, it was a really nice night, and everyone enjoyed it. We headed back to the hotel fairly early though, to pack for our next stint of travelling.

 

From Mum on Jul 17th, 2007

Would have loved to have tried all that, except the fish dishes of course! Lv Mum xxx