Railay Beach - west coast Thailand
May 15 - 25, 2000
Dave Svilar, Ann Svilar
|Railay Beach is near Krabi on the Indian Ocean side of Thailand's southern coast area.|
After two long days in Bangkok I forced my poor, sick sister to get on the overnight bus to Krabi. She felt very weak from a sickness that I figured was food poisoning had sidelined her. I was hot to get to paradise and told Ann that she could recover on the beach. After riding the bus all night we reached the Krabi pier and waited for the boat ride to Railay, which is not an island, but can only be reached by boat.
Large limestone cliffs on Railay Beach.
If there's paradise on earth this must be it. Large, steep limestone cliffs jut up everywhere like haystacks. The jungle covers nearly every aspect of the cliffs that aren't shear. Water the temperature of a warm bath laps up onto white sand beaches. Rock climbing, hidden lagoons, caves, and cheap beer provide endless fun for the tourist. In addition, a bungalow within 100 yards of the beach costs less than $3 per night.
I thought Ann should be recovering from her sickness by now and believed that perhaps she was just being a wimp. After the first night in the bungalow I awoke to Ann's weak cry, "Dave." Just by the tone of her voice I knew we were headed to the hospital, but still didn't realize how dire the situation had become. I told her to pack her belongings and we'd try to find a boat. Urgency finally struck when she couldn't even rise out of the bed. My sister is one of the toughest people I know when she gets sick, so I knew she wasn't just trying to seek pity. I told Ann to wait while I frantically searched the beach looking for someone to take us to the mainland on his boat. No boats were running at the moment, but I was able to pay a man to charter a ride back to Krabi.
Returning to the bungalow I picked up Ann and hauled her lifeless weight 200 meters to the opposite beach. I waded into the water and threw her over the side of a long-tailed boat. On the 40 minute ride back to Krabi she passed in and out of consciousness. I shook her every few minutes and told her to raise her thumb if she was still alive. My sister has hypoglycemia, so if she couldn't get sugar in her blood soon she would die. No food would stay in her stomach, so it was an I.V. or else.
Upon arriving the Krabi pier I picked Ann up and hoisted her onto a lawn. The frustrating process of communication began as I tried to flag down a taxi. Pretty soon others on the pier realized something was wrong and came to my aid. With their help we got Ann into the back of a tuk-tuk and speeded towards the hospital. Upon arriving the hospital I began making gestures that resembled an I.V. The doctors caught on and soon Ann had precious fluids and sugar streaming into her blood. I finally breathed a sigh of relief when she regained full consciousness.
A couple of hours later after alerting my frantic mother and checking into a room I took a walk down the hall to check out the rest of the hospital. I had assumed that every other patient had their own room with a television and air conditioning like ours. Therefore, I was alarmed to find a room overflowing with locals, many of which looked sicker than my sister. Either these people couldn't afford a room like ours or Thailand hospitals cater to white people. Regardless we enjoyed our night in the hospital as it was by far the most luxury we had enjoyed in over a month.
You might assume that I was disappointed to be stuck on the mainland instead of paradise, but that wasn't the case. I made friends with three Thai girls that operated a restaurant not far from the hospital. These girls cooked excellent food and were excessively hospitable. After serving my meal they would come and sit next to me at the table and hound "Mista Dave" with questions. They were certain that my sister was my girlfriend, so I took one of the girls, Nongluck, up to the hospital to prove her wrong. Ann was a little surprised to see me walk into the room with a Thai girl, but it seemed to help brighten her otherwise miserable day.
Ann felt well enough to return to paradise the next day, so I went to pay the dreaded hospital bill. I didn't think there was any way I had enough money to pay for a hospital bill, so was pleasantly surprised when the bill for two days and a night in the hospital came to a mere $50. We returned to the beach, but Ann didn't perk up as quickly as expected. She remained too weak to even walk far enough to get her food. The new diagnosis for Ann's sickness was an allergic reaction to her malaria pills (mefloquine). Talking to others we were informed that we didn't even need malaria pills for this part of Thailand. Furthermore, everyone seemed to have their own horror story related to malaria pills. Unfortunately Ann learned the hard way and her trip to paradise was mostly spent laying on a bed in our bungalow.
|Determined to enjoy the beach Ann summoned all her strength just to enjoy an hour in the sun.|
|Stalactites hang down from the limestone cliffs over the beach.|
|A popular excursion is a tidal lagoon reached by a slippery scramble.|
Exotic "hidden" lagoon with steep, jungle-covered walls.
This is what I mean by paradise. Ann and I have dinner at the restaurant near our bungalow.
|This picture features water, sand and boats. Japanese men in Speedos can be seen milling about on the beach.|
|Some Swedes and I hired out this long tailed boat for the day. The driver's name was pronounced "Penis."|
|It was rock jock mecca on the cliffs. These are some of the characters I hit the crags with.|
|Scrawny man. My withered figure shows the effects of two months of traveling.|
|Warning to cyber perverts: DO NOT stare for too long at this picture of my sister. On the other hand, if it increases traffic to this site I can always add more.|
|Ann poses in the front door of our bungalow which she got to know a little too well due to her allergic reaction.|
-written November 2002