Prachuap Khiri Khan, Thailand
I'm an itching wreck.
I woke up this morning with the hope that my skin would have calmed down since the night prior—it had done just the opposite. I'm covered in 90+ inflamed insect bites—a parting gift from my time in Bangkok.
Photos I tried to take of the mess can't do it justice. My feet and ankles are swollen because of the heat, and the 50+ bites (from the knee down). My shoulder blades and arms (from the elbow up) are covered in unsightly, maddeningly itchy, red blemishes. Big bites have appeared around my waistline. It's pretty much everywhere, except where I was wearing my boxers. It should go without saying that it's quite miserable.
Some of these bites I recognize, while others I'm seeing for the first time (and worry me because of it). I think I've been hit by a massive three-combination knockout: Bed bugs + mosquitoes + those unknown blood-suckers I'd been killing since arriving a week ago.
I've exploded well over a dozen of those little unknown bastards between my fingers since leaving Bangkok. They've made a home out of the nooks and crannies of my backpack, especially the padded, mesh-backing.
I was picking them off and killing them on the bus; I was picking them off and killing them in my new hotel. I'm seeing little white ovals in some the spots they were hiding—eggs or feces, I don't know. Nor do I know if I've gotten the last of them—I keep spot-checking throughout the day.
I had to do something about the itching. Scratching is bad news, as it spreads the nasty things in life, and can lead to cuts in the skin (which can open the door to infection). There's too much of an area to cover with any of the anti-itch creams I've got on hand, so an antihistamine tablet would be the way to go. Sadly, I had forgotten to buy some before I left the U.S.
I found a pharmacy and used my best sign language and single-word statement sentences in English to describe what I needed. Two options came about: "Sleepy" and "no sleepy." I bought 'em both, for total of about US$2.50.
I have no idea what these drugs are that I was given (not uncommon), but double the prescribed dose of the Cetirizine Dihydrochloride "no sleepy" pills seems to have helped. I'll try the Loratadine before bed tonight.
I'm so happy that I left Bangkok—it feels great to be on the move again. I decided to big pass at the backpacker-filled tour buses leaving the Khao San area, instead taking a B$55 taxi ride to Bangkok's southern bus terminal (Sai Tai Mai).
Hey, I'm seasoned. Going to a bus terminal in the rain and getting on a bus filled with locals (completely absent of tourists) is average-day stuff—although far from the norm here in Thailand (where easily booked bus/island ferry package deals from travel agencies move backpackers around like cattle). Within 15-minutes of arriving I was on a bus and on my way out of the city. A solid six and a half hours later I was in the coastal town of Prachuap Khri Khan (having enjoyed that 1.5-hours when the bus was turned into a packed school bus for young teenagers).
I had forgotten that Thailand drives on the opposite side of the road than what I'm use to seeing—steering columns are on the right, drivers (hopefully) keep to the left. Again, I'm fighting my conditioning to look left, then right, before crossing a street (the reverse is needed here).
I think the big problem I'm going to experience here is finding Thai people than can read a piece of paper with my desired hotel, street, or city on it. It's not like Latin American languages, where I can write things out in Spanish or Portuguese and give it over for assistance—a Thai person reading something written in roman-script (even if it's the proper word, translated) is like me reading Thai. I've got to work on my pronunciation.
Prachuap Khri Khan
Prachuap is about the perfect city size for me—somewhere around 30–40,000 people. In fact, if the weather wasn't just an overcast ceiling, it might be a spot that I'd consider sticking around for a while.
There are only a handful of travelers here, many of them Thai. The city isn't setup for tourism, or to sell anything to tourists. It's a fishing village that's grown into a town, simply happy to zoom around on motorbikes, eat seafood, and listen to an annoying radio DJ that likes to keep interrupting songs with his ramblings while Who Let The Dogs Out plays in the background.
There are these large, isolated outcroppings of rock towards the shore in this region—as if the rest of the land eroded away, leaving small mountain islands of rock. Many of these push up against the shoreline, giving an interesting twist to the coastal horizon.
Runoff from the recent rains have made the ocean waters muddy (although still a great temperature). I imagine during the dry season this area, and the two bays to the north and south—locally popular for their beaches—are quite lovely.
I'm trying to (roughly) plot out my looping path through southern Thailand. I'm waiting to hear from my good friend, Aaron, to see when I'll have to be back in Bangkok (probably late-June) to see him. I'm considering many paths, including a trip up through Myanmar (Burma), as the weather is anything but beach-friendly at the moment.