The adventures of Pioneer Girl travelling with enthusiastic Camper Barn Owl Guy

Started as a blog about my trip from Pittsburgh to California in a Ford Pickup, hauling a 30' refurbed trailer/camper. Ah, California Dreaming, 'n all that. Found that adventures can be long distance or in your own neighborhood... I look for my own twist on local sites, don't take the known for granted...and always find something new. It's easy, just open your eyes..

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Hipping and Hopping...Islands that is.

Where? Bamboo Island
January 5, 2012 - Seen on Bamboo Island...Guess who!  yes PG was here!!  Speedboating to the Islands off of Krabi..just like James Bond.  Bamboo Island is a flat evergreen island with beautiful white sand and perfect clear sea.  Speedboating is just a little rough on the sea, similar to a long, bouncing Kennywood ride, felt like I was on the Thunderbolt for quite a while.  But check out the scenery getting there!  Vertical limestone mountains jutting out of the sea... so super awe inspiring..

After leaving Bamboo Island, we headed to a few hidden coves where we jumped in the refreshing water, did some snorkeling in Monkey Cove amongst the longboats and coral reefs with lots of waving fish of yellow and blue stripes, and then snacked on fresh cut watermelon, pineapple, and papaya.

Guess Who
Carlito's Bar - Phi Phi Island
On to Phi Phi Island...this is the largest of the islands and is where The Beach was filmed in 2000, and it was the island devastated by the Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004.   When you look out at the sea from the bay of the beach,surrounded by two very tall limestone ridges how frightening it is to imagine seeing a 10' high wave and an 18' high wave...two bays..two huge waves...coming your way.    Happened in December, full of tourists.  Thousands of people were missing, some estimate the figure post-tsunami at about 4,000 (including tourists)

After lunch, we headed back across the Andaman Sea...a brief stop at Monkey Island , and back to Krabi to relax at hotel..the Pakasai Hotel is awesome, and btw Pakasai was the name of Krabi when it was a sub-county and under the King Rama officials used to catch elephants there, and Pakasai became Krabi province.  A little PG history here.

Today is my last day of my Thailand Adventure.. Taking care of sundry items, packing, repacking, getting documents together, tending to a little sun burn..but I do believe I have it in me for another Thai Massage (had a Thai Reflexology massage yesterday...bliss..)   I have lots of experiences and memories that I will keep for a long time, and savor next visit to ....   Peace and Love, and remember wherever you are, you are there...xoxo PG

Friday, January 6, 2012

Why the Caged Birds Sing in Thailand

Red-Whiskered Bulbul photo Phi Phi Island

January, 2012 - I have seen time and time again outside of shops, homes, cafes, bamboo cages and with lovely warbling birds..the red-whiskered bulbul (nok krong hua juck).   They have a beautiful singing voice.   Being a wildlife enthusiast myself, I do have mixed feelings about caging these lovely species.  The Thai's do have a bird trade and some have a particular kind of bird trap to catch these fruit eating birds.  While here in this culture, I look beyond my own personal feelings about caging birds (we actually had an exhausted trained carrier pigeon on our balcony last night...cats going crazy, but he would not move...he continued on his journey by morning)

Bird Singing Contest outside of Nichada
The Thai's hold bird singing contests (or golden voice contests) and we did come upon one outside of Nichada, where I am staying. I took this photo from the motorbike but we did decide to stop to see how the competition is conducted (mostly in rural communities by the way).  Lots of whistle blowing, and bets being made, the referee listens and counts each note apparently.  We never figured out the rules but it was fun to watch.  

So I guess the caged birds sing because they and their owners love for them to sing...and perhaps bring some extra Bahts..  I can also tell you that morning, noon, and night the trees sing out full of mynas, oriental turtle doves, peaceful doves, barbets and so many others in the canopy below us.   Keep singing..for now this bird is still free.....xoxo PG

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wonderful, Mahvalous, Prodigious Thailand

PG looking like Survivor Girl
January 3, 2012 -         We are staying on the Island of Krabi on the coast of the Andaman sea which is a labryinthe of erupting vertical islands and long tail boats.  The town is called Ao Nang and is filled with inns, shops, cafes and Thai Massage shops on every block.  You can also catch a boat to the isolated beaches of Phra Nang Cape, where the famous former hippie colony of Railey Beach is located.  (more on Railey Beach soon)     The bays and coves of Krabi have sheltered pirates, merchants and sea gypsies for thousands of years. 
Couple of Sea Gypsies

 In fact, here's a couple of blonde sea gypsies I spotted right in front of me!  Let's Go! Krabi!

Today we visited ThanBok Khornee National Park on Krabi for some kayaking on a lagoon through beautiful mangrove forests and giant limestone cliffs. After getting off to a rough start with coordinating paddling efforts and going around in circles, we got our sh** together and off we went.   The peaceful kayaking took us through caves dripping with sharp limestone stalactites and erupting with stalagmites.   The cliffs were amazing and our companions were all super cool.  
Entering First Cave

 We finished up in a large cave called the Big Head Ghost Cave with ancient cave drawings estimated to be over 3 thousand years old.  Yours truly had to climb through the cave barefoot as I have a fear of wet flip flops...and some of you will know why.  See the pic below ...and can you tell why it's called Big Head Ghost Cave?  

Big Head Ghost Cave

Okay so here's a word I've been wanting to use on my blog since I got here, because..well because I'm feeling very prodigious right now...wonderful, mahvalous, PRODIGIOUS!  Onward to Railley Beach today.  I hope you all have a prodigious day too..  

Peace and Love...xoxoPG

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Fly with the Greatest of Ease..

December 30, 2011 - Our visit to Chaing Mai in northwestern Thailand was awesome..  a much anticipated zip lining experience across the rainforest canopy is a must-do.  We hired a skilled driver for the day , traffic is in a constant state of snarl in the populated areas, best to leave it to the pros.

The day started with a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep,a temple high in the mountains (over 5,000 feet) overlooking Chaing Mai (Mount Thai Suthep) lunched at the butterfly and orchid farm, and then finally a visit to the rainforest.  Our driver hooked us with with an eco-friendly,  private zip-lining experience run by local Thai's (no tied up Gibbons for human amusement).

Outfitted with harnesses, helmets and gloves and two hang-lines, we flew from treetop to treetop with cables and pulleys on a cable high above the forest floor...super fun. Now, yours truly PG has a fear of heights which was quickly surpassed by flying through the air with the greatest of ease.  We flew connected with about 12 platforms, the most impressive about 500 meters (about 1/3 mile) emerging from the jungle and flying low across a beautiful lake.  On this particular leg, we were hooked up on our backs so that we could fly like "superman" across the lake...oh, and since its a long flight this position would enable us to make it all the way across...  Well not for your truly.  I almost made it as my guides waited patiently on the platform.  I got about 15 yards from them and then started going backwards back across the lake.  What the heck!  HELP!  I heard lots of laughter on the shore and I continued to drift until one of the guides hooked up and started his way across to rescue me.  At the same time, I went into rescue yourself mode and started to walk my hands across the cable to meet him.  I highly recommend a zip-lining trip.  Once you get past the do I land fear, it's an awesome flight.

Heading to the beaches of Krabi today, more adventures to come!  Thanks for following me on my trip.  PG is savoring it all...  Keep your eyes open...xoxo PG