Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Tan Sadet Waterfalls
Wednesday, Sept. 2nd.
The beach just south of Thang Nai Pan is called Tan Sadet. It is much smaller and more "secluded" than Thang Nai Pan (which is saying a lot). The entire beach is powered by generator and it shuts off at 10 o'clock every evening.
Sabrina, Rasmus, a couple from London, and I hired a longboat to take us to Tan Sadet with the intention of hiking to a series of three waterfalls just a couple of kilometers behind the beach. The boatman was wearing an Arizona State University "Sun Devils" t-shirt. I was tempted to explain to him what an evil shirt it was, but ultimately decided that he probably wouldn't understand.
When we arrived at Tan Sadet, a girl was jumping on a very large trampoline on the beach. As soon as Rasmus saw her, he looked at me with mouth agape, "We have to do this!"
After jumping on the trampoline, we made our way up the steep dirt road to the waterfalls. The road was dangerous; we were slipping and sliding on foot. Multiple, deep and gnarly ruts wound down the center and the sides of the road. A middle-aged German man, on a huge Kawasaki dirt bike, came roaring down the road and stopped to ask us for directions. He was wearing a t-shirt and shorts (the standard uniform for anyone on a Thai island). His right elbow was skinned badly and tendrils of blood poured down his forearm and dripped from his wrist. He was all smiles, laughs, and merriment (like a kid with a new toy). After learning that the beach was just a kilometer down the road, he insisted he was fine and went tearing off down the road behind us.
The waterfalls were not as impressive as we all had expected, but the rocks were cool and we climbed them as far up and down the river as we could. Rasmus was determined to see a snake, but was left unsatisfied.
As we were leaving Tan Sadet, our longboat's engine went out about 80 yards from the shore. I am wholly convinced it was the gods' retribution for our boatman's t-shirt. This event forced us to make an at-sea boat transfer (which made everyone involved uneasy, but proved uneventful).
Back at Thang Nai Pan I had a chance to sit and talk with Ben and Camilla (the London couple I went trekking with). Ben spoke lovingly about the traveling he had done prior to ten years ago. For the last ten years, he has been living in London and has had his own small business. At some point it occurred to him that he wasn't doing what he wanted to be doing. So, he sold his car, his flat, and his business and plans to travel until he finds something he wants to do: six months or a year, he's not sure. Such stories always inspire me.