KBL part 2 - Tuesday, February 17, 2004

We must have needed a vacation after traveling so fast and furiously through Israel, Turkey, Africa, and Honk Kong for the past two months. We can't seem to leave our little paradise in Koh Bulon Lae (KBL). Nope, don't want to take a boat trip to another island, get on a train or plane. We just want to sit. And that's we are doing. It's even an effort for us to leave the area and walk 1K to go to another restaurant for food. Why leave here? Everything goes on our tab, and it's cheap and really tasty! This has been one of the most relaxing and fun parts of our trip.

What do we actually do everyday? Not much. It's amazing how the days just seem to pass by quickly with not much to show for it. They have a good book exchange here which we've just about exhausted and read the Bangkok Post when it's available to catch up on bird flu details. One of the toughest decisions of the day is deciding which half of the beach to lie on and whether you want to take a swim before relaxing in the sun.

Walks along the beach at sunrise are chock full of thousands of interesting shells and coral from the reef just 30 yards off the coast. The random designs on shells remind us of the coats of cheetahs, zebras, and leopards we saw recently in Kenya. M has a little collection displayed on our porch. She is just ripe with ideas for necklace designs. I think that's what happens when you are on the beach for this long. The minute you come home, there's no way you'd wear a shell or shark's tooth around your neck.

We've enjoyed trying some new and interesting foods. The island is a mix of Thai and Malaysian influence since it is so close to the border. We have noodle dishes about once a day. M is in heaven, as there are so many different varieties of soup: with our without meat, shrimp, pork, squid, lots of veggies, several types of noodles, with coconut milk, lemongrass. Pad Thai and curry are also staples. Green, yellow, red, and mossaman curries are all yummy. We had no problem finding good seafood such as king prawns, barracuda, squid, and snapper. Dave's new favorite dish is Laab Kai - a cold salad of spicy chicken, beef or pork with cilantro, red and green chilies, and cucumbers. Mmmm! As expected, it took a few days for our bodies to get used to the new spices and foods, but no problems since then, luckily! No bird flu for us. No one seems too concerned about eating chicken because as long as it's well cooked, it won't hurt you.

Since an Italian woman and her Thai husband run the resort, there are many Italians and Europeans vacationing here. It's pretty cool, people come here alone, with their kids, with parents or friends and spend a month or two relaxing. How much trouble can the kids get themselves into? There were a lot of naked kids running around with tanned bums just as cute as can be. Well, that is except for the evil Swiss devil children who were aggressively terrorizing the cats and other kids. The kittens and cats provided constant entertainment for everyone.

We bonded right off with an Australian couple from Melbourne on their honeymoon, Sarah and Mark. Mark is a professional chef and Sarah has taken a new job with a wine distributor - they certainly eat and drink well! Mark has traveled all through SE Asia and wanted to bring Sarah here on there Honeymoon. Great choice mate! We enjoyed a relaxing sunset cruise with the honeymooners.

Some years ago Sarah spent a lot of time rock climbing in the states and met too many Californians. She brought back the term 'Dude'and all it's iterations to our vocabulary. Thanks Sarah, we've been saying it way too much lately. They are a lot of fun and hope they can come visit us in the states sometime, or better yet maybe we can visit (someday), eat some great food and Aussie wine. Yeah, we need to head back down-under one of these days. We really enjoy it and our 3 months wasn't enough time.

The Roger Moore version of James Bond was on Koh Bulone Lae. This handsome, 47 year old, tanned, Austrian had the air of an international man of mystery. He always seemed to have a gleaming, white smile on his tanned face, a cocktail or wine in hand, a cigarette (complete with 4" cigarette holder), and an interesting story to tell. He was one of the nicest people we met on the island. He lives there for 6 months and returns to Austria to run a lakeside resort in the summer months. Nice life. Of course, he was too stealthy for us to get a picture of him!

We spent some time hanging out with a Danish couple and his parents who have been visiting the island for 7 years. John was about 6' 6" and tipped the scales at close to 260. He would have been a good prospect at tight end for the NFL. Funny thing, he's the last person you'd expect to specialize in hair and make-up for fashion shows. M is remiss that she didn't ask for a haircut. Not a problem for D.

Twice while we were on the island, kids from elementary English school classes from other islands came to KBL to speak with tourists to improve their English skills. We'd be sitting on the beach reading, and a bunch of giggling kids would come up and ask us "Where you from?", "You like beach?", "What you name?". After 10 minutes of basic conversation, we were invited to a party complete with games and food. It was really fun! The kids treated us like royalty, serving us food and drinks non-stop. Dave won a prize for his aggressive playing of musical chairs. Anyone who knows D would be suprised that he even went up in front of a group of 100 people to play musical chairs. OK, I threatened just a little bit... My shy husband had a blast but was red as a tomato (sunburn maybe?) when they awarded him a little elephant key ring!

I was partnered with a 12 year old about my size to play a game in which we had to stand on a piece of newspaper that is folded in half after each round of music. Our jobs as partners were to keep our feet on the paper not on the ground. The kids REALLY enjoyed this one. Some of the male tourists were paired with these girls from class. The Thais are so modest that the place was roaring with giggles when the guys had to pick up the girls to keep their feet off the floor. It was great!

We plan to vacation in KBL again someday. This island is so peaceful, not very developed, and off the normal tourist route. We may have found a little paradise and hopefully Lonely Planet won't find out about it!

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