12th - 15th August (Internet cafe on Rayley beach with bandaged ankle)
Ralf, the german policeman, is about 6 foot 4 inches tall and reminds me a lot of Phil in looks and build - he is a nice chap and speaks good english. Ralf gave me a lift to Krabi, then we had to get a longboat across to Rayley beach where we met up with Ralf's rather iffeminate aquaintance Sam who looks uncannily like Jack Dee when he smiles.
Sam has a Thai friend who works here called Tam.
I have spent these few days mostly with these people and some other Thais (including 'Bong', our climbing instructor) from the climbing centre 'Cliff Man'. I am staying in a basic bungalow with no view and a spaniel that yelps in a high pitch for about twenty minutes from 06.30 onwards for 200B called Rapella, it has a nice powerful cold shower. I have done two and a half days of climbing and have loved every minute of it, unlike windsurfing i have taken to it pretty well. Ralf is bigger and stronger than me but he really struggled and gave up after one day. I have done eleven climbs so far and learnt some skills including belaying (where you control the safety line from the ground for the climber), and leading (where i do the first climb attaching the safety line as i go and then passing it through the anchor point at the top before being lowered to the ground).
I find the climbing really challenging which is probably why i enjoy it so much; when i really struggle to get past a point and my legs are shaking because i'm using so much energy but eventually get past it and on to a ledge where i can rest it is so exhilarating like nothing else i've ever done. Also, when you climb, you are thinking of nothing else, real escapism. Falling off is really depressing but if you try again and get past it that feels great. Climbing shoes hurt like mad because they need to be small so that they cup your feet into a claw shape. I've seen some excellent climbers including a japanese girl who was pretty much hanging upside down off of a rock - she said she had been climbing for two years. I hope i can carry on when i get home, using indoor climbing walls for practice. Today, i fell from just inches below the final anchor point, meaning that the previous tie off point was about two metres below me and i fell about four metres -
this wouldn't normaly be a big problem but i didn't manage to push away from the rock and somehow twisted my left ankle as i tried to stop from smashing into the rock, hence the strapping. My camera was strapped to me as i was planning on getting a nice shot of the bay from the top, luckily that survived intact, my ankle and my pride suffered more as i gradually got to the ground in an ungainly fashion. Rain stopped proceedings shortly after that anyway and i am hoping that i will be okay to climb tomorrow.
I have eaten a lot here and spent too much money mainly because the german guys are here on holiday (they are staying in a posh hotel) and always order loads of starters to share with every meal. My highlight has been spicey pizza at mom's kitchen. I have to keep reminding myself that it is still cheap by u.k. standards.