Mandy and Jon's Journey 2005 travel blog

This is a party Songtail - most of these people refuse to...

Waking up as we go with a little help from big "coffees."

Our friend DJ bought this silly shirt, but was all talk when...

Also 'all talk'. As you can see the cigarette us lit, the...

Beach chill'n. Beware the shallow water and sharp coral, however.

Sunset over Railay West.

JQ ascends. Some would call him, 'ascendent.' Others, just 'stupid.'

Jon admires himself. Exquisite knuckles, he thinks.

Our friend, Nev, admires the similarities.

A group portrait with friends Katy & Nev. Panang Beach, we think...

We had been in Thailand over five weeks and all we had seen was the sights of Bangkok, the inside of a cold bus, and the Khao Lak. Khao Lak has not been boring in the slightest, but when the chance was offered to get out of town for a few days we were eager to sieze the opportunity.

Job2Do, a popular Thai Reggae band invited the volunteers of Khao Lak to a mini-music festival in Krabi, about three hours away on the opposite coast. It didn't take much convincing and only a little planning to find ourselves in the back of a Songtail (a big converted truck that acts like a bus) packed with 30 people, a big cooler of early morning cocktails, and no seating plan. We had a fun ride over to be sure and spent the afternoon relaxing and swimming on the beach where the concert was to take place. The band had offered us free accomodation at one of the member's houses, but due to some water shortage problems and logistical considerations many of us decided to make home base out of Railay beach for the weekend. A short longtail boat ride away, Railay is a popular backpacker beach getaway known for some spectacular beaches and world class rock climbing. We had comically overcrowded boat rides both there and back as we had only two hours to find a guesthoues, eat some dinner, and be back in time for the concert. (A bit of travel advice for anyone who needs it: When travelling with 30 people, get away from them as soon as you can. Picture three friends in Blockbuster trying to decide on a movie they'd like to watch. Then, multiply it by 10, pour in some Sangsom Thai Rum, a water-weary Brit (hiya hun!), a wounded Scorpion Woman, some non-verbal un-opinionated entourage, a couple beers for good measure, and a low-tide beach landing two hundred meters from shore in the dark and you'll begin to get a picture of how things went.)

Needless to say, we did not make it to the concert on time, but at least we made it. The evening ascended to great fun and good dancing and descended to bacchanalian fall-down ugly white people dancing in a matter of hours. The boat rides home more dangerous and more crowded than the ones out and many smiles turned to pouts as the sun rose over an unwanted poolparty attended by not a few naked west Europeans. In the final estimate, however, it was an exciting night and a much needed release for all in attendance.

The next two days we found time for a little beach going, relaxing, and a bit of rock climbing for Jon. We decided to extend our stay by an extra day to enjoy the tranquility left in the wake of our fellow volunteer's departure.

A real treat was spending that last extra day hanging with new friends Katie and Nev. We had a couple very chilled out dinners together and even got to see Nev participate in a magic show at the Gecko Bar. Well done.

By Tuesday we were ready to tear ourselves from the beach and beauty of Railay and head back to Khao Lak.

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