I have been away for a long long time. And it’s mostly due to laziness. I’m not proud of that, but it IS the truth. However, I decided to get myself back into writing as I do actually enjoy it. You know, when I have the energy. So here goes, a tale from a trip I took almost one year ago today. Give or take a few days.
One of the greatest things about being in Saudi Arabia is the opportunity to travel to places I wouldn’t likely go to if I were back home. Well, last year during one of our breaks which was right about this time last year, I traveled with a friend/colleague to Thailand. It was a grueling trip from Yanbu to Jeddah to Muscat to Bangkok to Koh Lanta, one of the islands in southern Thailand. I think. My friend scuba dives and had plans to take advantage of the opportunity while I intended to visit national parks and chase wildlife. One morning, I took a “taxi” to a national park which was about 30-45 minutes from our resort. It was a bumpy ride, but what other options did I have? Oh, I guess I could have rented a motorbike and gotten lost or ended up in the trees somewhere. Since I wasn’t up for that, the taxi would have to do.
When I got to the park, I think I must have been one of the first people to arrive. I got out, and walked toward the trail which was quite long. I got to the first few steps and thought that I didn’t have the energy or the courage to do it. It looked a little creepy and the stairs were of varying height which forced me to use my tripod as a walking stick. I went back down and decided I couldn’t do it. I’m usually a chicken and that day was no different. So, I went and sat down at a picnic table. and stared at the water. I was supposed to be there all day and I had been there all of 20 minutes.
I saw this sign as I again contemplated going through the trail. I wondered whether I’d actually see any monkeys. But I wasn’t that concerned. Not yet anyway. I got up and walked toward the beginning of the trail yet again and before I reached the steps, I saw several monkeys run across. But I pressed on. I climbed and climbed stopping from time to time to catch my breath. I was out of shape and as far as I was concerned, I was climbing Mt Everest. I stopped a few times to take pictures being the “photographer” I am. I tried getting pictures of those monkeys as well. I continued on and I got to one point and saw a fallen tree. I didn’t really see myself climbing over it, so I thought that I should just turn back. And let’s face it, I was chicken. I kept thinking about the fact that I was walking this trail all alone and if I screamed no one would hear me.
I turned back and saw more monkeys running around and jumping from tree to tree. I stopped again, my heart pounding, to get some not so great shots of them. As I was shooting, I felt something on my leg and started freaking out. I screamed and hit at my leg. “Oh my God! There’s a monkey on my leg,” I screamed. But further examination would reveal otherwise. I moved again and thankfully realized that the “monkey” on my leg was my tripod :D. I laughed at myself and thanked God no one was around to see me making a fool of myself. And this was all I needed to convince me that turning to go back was the right idea. I finally made it back out of the danger zone and sat at the same picnic table I started at before. There was a couple sitting nearby. Perhaps they were preparing to hike the trail I was too afraid to complete. As I sat, recounting my “encounter,” the lady calmly told me there was a monkey behind me. Good God! That was all I needed. I had to pretend to be calm and simply move and grab my little bag since monkeys are known to grab bags. They have no shame. I moved and we watched as she came to the table and grabbed something she thought was “something.” What a shame! It was only trash. So she left. Whew! I really didn’t want to be on the news that day. I pictured it in my head, “Crazy tourist gets into altercation with monkey.”
Needless to say, I was done for. I couldn’t wait for my taxi which was supposed to come at the end of the day. I extra to go back to the comfort of the hotel and my seaside view.
My advice to anyone planning to visit the islands of Thailand, “Watch out for monkeys!”