It was a beautiful sunny day that we spent island hopping in Krabi. I should have been tired. But I was looking forward to an evening in Krabi. I wanted to go out and walk alone. The trouble with me and walking is that I have no sense of direction! So, I had to keep things simple. I would walk in direction of the sunset. The plan was click a few pictures and then come back to the room. The dinner pickup to Ao Nang was at 8.00 pm.
Mercifully it was a straight road I was walking on. I got out of the Krabi Front Bay Resort, took a right and kept walking straight. I saw a few patches of sand and open space but they looked like work places. I guess I could have gone in and clicked my sunset but I decided to walk on.
At the end of the road there were a row of local restaurants. They looked bit overwhelming because I speak no Thai (other than hello, thank you and good night) but more because I eat no sea food. But the view from the place was fabulous. I hopped in and decided to try my luck. I walked to the last shop and put my bag on a chair.
The attempt to communicate with the proprietor didn’t yield much. He gestured to wait and walked out of sight. He got out with a young girl in tow. Now we could talk in English. I asked for coffee and french fries, not because I am a fan but because it was vegetarian. The girl told me they were out of french fries! I asked if they had mushroom or eggs? She offered to make a mushroom omelette for me!
I will be honest, I stopped there only because it offered me a good vantage point for clicking pictures. I asked if they had a pint of beer but they had big bottles only. A big bottle by myself is a bit too much, so I settled for coffee only.
My coffee and omelette arrived. The proprietor was quite concerned that I did not take any rice with my meal! After clicking a zillion pictures, I started craving tea. I had a fabulous day beach hopping, and now I was watching a fabulous sunset.
I asked the proprietor if they had tea. He gave me the blank look. I said ‘chai’ and ‘cha’ thinking something would click. Tea was not written in the menu so I could not point it out. I still tried my luck because mushroom omelette was also not written in the menu!
After struggling for sometime I told him, “Aah give me coffee.” And magically he said, “Oh you want tea!” I wonder what made him understand that I wanted tea when I finally asked for coffee!
He served me a pot of Jasmine tea. I enjoyed leisurely all the three cups it contained! By now it was trying to get dark. I got up to pay. He gave me the bill. I pointed out they forgot to add the price of the tea! To which he replied, “Oh no it is free!” You see, it was a blessed day indeed!
PS. My trip to Thailand was in Collaboration with Byond Travel.
All through the journey to Batal, the sky was overcast. It left me quite heartbroken. Since last June this has been the fate of all my trips to the Himalayas whether in India or Nepal. I was cribbing to everyone who would care to listen to me.
And then as the day progressed, Batal suddenly showed its majesty for a few hours. Just above my campsite was a small hillock. I picked it up as my perch to indulge in the evening’s photography. I had the big valley all to myself. There was a group of British trekkers camping nearby but due to some reason none of them were out clicking.
I am usually one happy person in the mountains. I suspect it is because of a much simpler lifestyle that we follow for a few days. No bath is available unless you wish to take a dip in ice cold water, you brush your teeth using stream water. In fact, finding a good water source and not polluting it is essential to camping. Food has to be carried from the plains and cooked on a stove. That is why we needed Ramakantji, our master organizer.
So, it was a very happy me sitting on the top of a small hillock in the wide open valley. The Dhauladhar Ranges reluctantly showed their face to me, as if grudging the fact. Batal which is at an altitude of 3950 meters was treating me kindly I had no symptoms of any altitude related discomfort. Then I saw those three dots moving on the road. I could recognize them from a distance because of their clothes. They were my nephew Dilip, Vishal and Bobby, all of them over 6 feet tall. And yet in the larger scheme of things dots is all they resemble. I am sure you will have to strain your eyes to see them at this resolution of the image.
Here is an version of the same picture that I like more as the dots are more like small lines. I wonder what it is with such landscapes and me being happy. Not even happiness, for those few days I was content. Needless to say, I feel my stay was way too short and I am sorely missing the mountains.
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