Koh Surin Day 4 (Feb. 2, 2012)
After another mosquito battle and organizing my bags for departure, we met for a classic Thai breakfast of rice porridge. Rice is a constant, of course, as are shreds of ginger, but the other ingredients can vary widely. Ours contained shrimp, fried garlic, and a bit of cilantro. From dishes on the table we could sprinkle on chillies for punch, and white vinegar for added freshness. We also had some shredded, dried, sweetened pork “floss” from Kasma’s snack bag, which offered some chewiness and extra protein.
We left early for nearby Ao Suthep, which we had not been able to snorkel on our first try due to the current. With the waters calm, the main challenge was the low angle of the sun, which didn’t provide as much visibility as usual. Perhaps that explains why some seldom seen big fish let us sneak up on them including large star puffers and a many-spotted sweetlips. With the minutes ticking away before our noon check-out time, we sped across the narrow passage to Koh Mungkorn (Mungkorn Island). Although it was subject to major bleaching last year, the reef is not closed, and a couple of other snorkel boats showed up during our time there. The most unusual sightings were a scorpionfish, and some divers laying out a measuring tape on the reef. Very mysterious, but we have to go.
Cue quick shower and change, furiously fast final packing, and key returned just in the nick of time. We relaxed over our final island lunch. No surprises: a fried fish. Also, breaded pieces of fish fried and served in a preparation similar to sweet and sour, shrimp and squid with mixed vegetables, and chicken curry. The pineapple had ripened a bit, and we tried to finish off our boat snacks before heading down to the beach to wait for our return “ferry.”
The View Is Green
The speedboat was crowded, and became standing room only during a sudden cloudburst when those up front rushed back into the main cabin. We raced past the storm and packed our van with great anticipation: soon we would have our hot showers.
The Kuraburi Greenview features nicely designed rooms with dark wood floors and walls. In the shower, water flows down through a slate chute, with a waterfall-like effect. (At least, that’s the idea: it also can be a bit like a bucket over the head.) Shortly after our arrival, the storm came through, disturbing the surface of the resort’s vast pond. Once it cleared, the beauty of the lushly landscaped grounds was evident even in the overcast of late afternoon. I felt it was best enjoyed through the window from a well air conditioned room.
We met in the dining room at a table set in front of the stage: karaoke was inevitable. Although the waiter suggested cashew chicken, Kasma maintained that we could eat spicy Thai food. The appetizer of pork satays with peanut sauce was a bit tame, but the hot and sour shrimp dip with crunchy vegetables showed no compromise. Green curry with chicken, fruit salad with hot and sour dressing, and a crispy fried fish with sweet chili garlic sauce proved a potent blend, but we had leafy pak miang cooked in coconut milk to help cool the palate. A tardy arrival (due to kitchen error) was a mixed seafood salad with an oddly tomato-ey dressing. For dessert, we got a round of fried bananas served with honey for dipping.
The resort’s karaoke machine needed quite a bit of adjustment of mic levels, but I still managed to croak out a few tunes. This was my first public rendition of New York, New York, which was I was tempted to sing as Krung Thep, Krung Thep — the Thai name for Bangkok — but I think I might wait until it’s a more polished act. Eight Days a Week and Piano Man went fine. There wasn’t much enthusiasm among the rest of the group, so we called it a night.
Tomorrow morning we leave this oasis for another rustic destination: Khao Sok park, home of an enormous lake, er reservoir, where we will once again cruise around on a noisy longtail boat and enjoy a cold shower.