Saturday, January 5, 2013

Ngapali Beach, continued

Drying fish

Back to our took us through two small villages with many open air businesses on the side, selling everything from foods to car parts. Passed one area that was definitely the repair shop where all kinds of motorbikes, motors and a car or two sat in various stages of repair. Along the roads people strung out blue netting where they spread out sliced fish for drying. Throughout the walk we saw young monks with their food bowls, going from home to home where people shared their rice and other foods. It seemed that the youngest monks, generally boys around 6 or 7 years of age had this task. It's not uncommon for young men and women to spend a month or a year or more as a monk during their lives. Other places were restaurants where people ate as well as homes right on the street, again with the dining right in front...perhaps the easiest way to get to talk with your neighbors...or see what they're doing...
Parade for local temple
We stopped to watch a group of young men playing a game of something. It looked like a cross between soccer and volleyball. They kicked and hit the ball as in soccer – no hands allowed – but the purpose was to get it over the net as in volleyball. Saw the game played all over the country! We also managed to run into a parade, the purpose of which was to raise money for the local temple. Never a dull moment.

We finally located the bay that would lead to our path up the hill. As in Japan, all Buddha statues and temples have to be at the top of a local hill...the highest one possible. The fishing people come here during the fishing season to bring in their catch to sell to the local people, restaurants and hotels. Most of these people live in temporary huts along the beach, moving on with the fish during the course of the year. We walked along the water's edge, watching the boats as well as the tiny crabs making their homes. These crabs make pellets out of the sand, pushing them out of their holes. The intricate patterns they make in the sand are amazing. The pellets range from minute to a good cm in size.

We may be walking down the beach but it's also a road for the tuk-tuks and other vehicles, bringing people to the start of the trail to the Buddha. While it was quite easy for us to walk across the sand berm and onto the trail, it was not so easy for the vehicles. The sand was chewed up, soft and rutted. Straw had been thrown down for traction but I think it was getting dug into the sand more often than not. The trail, however, sported numerous vehicles so eventually they did seem to make it though the barrier.

Protecting the land
The statue is one of a standing Buddha, facing out to the sea. He holds the earth between his fingers with his other hand facing out to the see to stop tsunamis or cyclones from entering the bay. He was successful in 2008 when the typhoon struck the southern part of the country...they only had a minor backlash from the storm. The view of the open ocean and surrounding islands is spectacular from the top. It's a place where local people come on holidays to celebrate with their families. We saw lots of people up at the top enjoying picnic lunches.

We took an evening stroll along the beach that night, watching the women carry large fruit baskets, stopping to sell pieces of the fruit to gathers. Young men played at kicking balls around, barefooted...must have tough toes, dads playing in the water with the kids, sandcastles under construction...a very busy place with both tourists and locals enjoying it. Don't know the story behind it but there's a mermaid sitting on a piling in the ocean, looking out to sea. She posed nicely for numerous shots at sunset.

Next morning, after an equally luxurious breakfast, this time with beautiful avocados, we took off for a bike ride, heading back towards the airport. This direction we passed many more hotels, most in use and a few under construction. Sure hope the occupancy picks's not real busy...but then again, the hot tourist season seems to be after Christmas so we shall see. Nice for us because it's easy to get around but I know they need the business. We passed another small fishing village and numerous tourist shops, all located very near to the entrances to the various hotels. The bikes were perfect because we could stop easily and look at various things. Little did we know how common all of the tourist items were to become.

Although this is primarily a Buddhist country, the people, as in Japan, have embraced Christmas so there were Christmas decorations all over the hotel as well as in some of the shops in town. The hotel had a special dinner with local dancing and shows…including even a visit from Santa.

No comments:

Post a Comment