Having left the east coast of Thailand behind, we arrived on the west coast to more sandy beaches and plenty of sunshine. I just wish someone had told me, “don’t get a haircut in Ao Nang” when I arrived.
Our accommodation, the Krabi Forest Homestay (surprisingly not in the forest), was quiet due to the low season and very cheap. For $20NZD a night we had a large room, powerful air conditioning and a shower that could be used without having to sit on the toilet. We had hit the trifecta. Our little home-away-from-home was right on Nopparat Beach and a short walk from Ao Nang Beach. Our only complaint was that it wasn’t true to any of the three parts of its name.
We spent our first day and a half walking along the beaches and admiring the view. Unfortunately swimming in the water is only possible in a few places due to the very flat beach and overwhelming level of trash. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of having a plastic bag wrap itself around your leg while you’re in the water and not knowing if it is a very slippery hand (great idea for the next horror movie) or just someone’s excess carry bag. I’m not one to get too excited about initiatives, but come on people, let’s recycle bags so I don’t have to live out horror movies when I’m trying to enjoy myself. If that doesn’t rile you up then save the turtles. I believe they are with me on this one. If there was a turtle summit they would definitely vote for a plastic-bag-free environment. Although I suppose if they could vote, then we might have other problems on our hands.
Every night the sunsets were intense and spectacular and Ben soon grew tired of me snapping away with my camera. He tried to tell me that they weren’t getting better every 10 seconds, but we had to agree to disagree on that one. We dined at restaurants on sandy beaches and generally had a relaxing time. One afternoon whilst walking along the beach (obviously) we were struck by a heavy downpour. We tried to hide under a tree, but the canopy was quickly broken and water was flooding at our feet. Running up to the road, we ducked down at the sidewalk and squatted under our pocket sized umbrella. It must have been a peculiar sight to see two tourists squatting, basically in the gutter, under an umbrella trying to escape the rain, as local people walked past unfazed by the torrential rain. Our method unfortunately did not work and we were soaked through. Luckily the sun popped out moments later to clean up the damage.
On our last day Ben and I made separate plans. It was only our second day apart in two months. This time Ben went rock climbing at Railay Beach. He joined a group that went on four climbs up the staggering cliffs that encompassed the bay. They also bushwhacked through foliage and repelled down a cliff, or so I’m told. The cliffs strangely got taller each time I heard the events of the day. Ben was the obvious Spiderman of the group, with no mountain too tall for his long legs. Unfortunately his arms didn’t have the same level of endurance that they used to and he was left with two very painful days where he was unable to pick up a tissue without tears of pain running down his face.
Photo by firstname.lastname@example.org
As rock climbing didn’t really appeal to me, I opted to spend my day getting a haircut (and yes, when traveling in a foreign country getting a haircut is a day-long activity). I started by using Google to find a hair salon and found two at Ao Nang Beach. I picked the closest one, but I had to walk back and forth before I spotted it down a narrow alleyway. A lady came running out asking if I wanted a massage. I replied that no, I did not, but I would like a haircut. She looked at me blankly. I mimed scissors with my fingers and began chopping at my hair like a mad woman. She frowned and informed me that they didn’t do haircuts. Right behind her was a very large sign advertising “men and women’s cuts”. I wasn’t going to force her to do it, as I knew that would only end in disaster, so I set off for the next location. Although I can’t really call it a location, as it didn’t exist.
Feeling disappointed I began my walk back to our hotel when I spotted a small salon in a set of shops. Again I was asked if I wanted a massage, despite the signage saying it was most definitely only a hair salon. However, this time my mad-woman-scissor-routine paid off and I was whisked into a room that hadn’t been used for a very long time. They lady dusted off a chair and table for me to sit at, which I did, albeit very nervously. She spoke no English, which is actually pretty rare for touristic areas of Thailand, but not at all surprising given my luck so far. Things went downhill from here pretty quickly. I mimed that I wanted a couple of centimeters cut off and watched in the dusty mirror as my hair got shorter and shorter. When she was “finished” I could tell that it was noticeably lopsided. I saw a hair straightener on her tray, so I pointed at it hoping that once it was straightened we could both survey the damage.
As I suspected, once it was straight it was painfully obvious that my hair was much shorter on one side. Without saying anything she proceeded to pull out her scissors and my hair began to get shorter again all the way around. I realized that she wasn’t going to be able to fix this and I now had much shorter hair that I wanted – at least on one side – I reluctantly handed over the money (all $10NZD of it) and headed for home. Despite being my most unusual haircut to date, I remain hopeful that my new cut will soon become a trend. Until then I will walk with my head cocked a little to the right side.
Click here for the next in the series.