Existence in paradise is always temporary. We found a slice of it 7 hours south of Bangkok, on a dam/national park. A short boat ride through rocky peaks under a setting sun brought us to our floating home for two nights.
Putawan, a tiny floating village, gets it’s name from the little 2-year-old boy who apparently owns it. If it werent for his small stature and incomprehensible baby babble, you might believe it. He certainly had an innate sense of presence. During dinner the first night he serenaded us… Lesson: never give a child a microphone.
After a few glasses of Sang Som, Thai rum, Lada and I joined a group of Thais loudly throwing money around on a board game I’d never played before. The board was divided into 6 squares, each filled with a different drawing: crab, fish, shrimp, tiger, cock, and some sort of bowl thing. To play you simply placed money on the squares you thought would win. When all the bets were down, someone picked a ticket from a bag, peeled off the backing, and revealed the 3 winning squares. Landing a square payed out 1:1.
They were about as used to playing with a half-drunk farang as I was to playing with a group of Thais. As soon as I started throwing money down on the tiger, shouting tiger, and fist pumping, they started to love me. It took about three bets before I landed the tiger, at which point hollering and hand slapping spread like a contagion. Lada was translating as best she could, I just smiled and yelled the english and/or thai names of the squares I was betting. I retired after losing 40 baht or so ($1.30), which felt like money well spent. They all called me Tiger from then on.
After a somewhat rough sleep, breakfast, and my first decent dookie in 3 days, we headed out on our private long-tail boat to explore the hidden treasures of this massive expanse of wilderness. I took way too many photos, probably.
The highlight of it all was when our guide and captain, Dang, took us to a lone, jagged rock outcropping. He said we could jump off of it if we wanted. My heart beat faster when Lada translated, excitement welling. Then when I saw the ledge he proposed we throw ourselves off of, that excitement morphed into fear. But I climbed it, nearly tearing the skin off my feet, and followed my fearless guide over the ledge. It’s amazing how certain painful and nerve-wracking activities can be so much fun. I jumped twice more before calling it quits. Lada threw herself off the boat for her excitement. We got both on video.
Later that day we ate some more, napped, paddled a leaky sit-on-top, swam, napped, and then headed back out to look for wildlife. Monkeys and toucans were everywhere.
That night’s sleep was much better since that large group of Thais had moved on, and no one was around to wake us up a 6am with excited shrieks and splashes. We probably scored a solid 10 hours. After a relaxed breakfast, we headed back to the car and on to the next adventure.
All in all it was a wonderful and unique experience. Just Lada and me exploring a Dam park with a Dang captain. Priceless.
Location:Lanthong 5,Bang Phut,Thailand