Monday, 19 December 2011

The experience that is the Deep Water Solo - (FINALLY) wrapping Railay (Part IV)...

Team Taylor Deportation/Repatriation Countdown

Days left in Singapore: 2

Days left until arrival in the Queen City: 9


And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City.  Team Taylor took the day off from working out today, but I have no complaints, as we've always known that the next couple of weeks would be a shooting gallery in terms of fitness vs. calories/carbs/fat grams.  My money is on the calories, carbs, and fat grams, but hey - that's what  New Year's resolutions are for, right?

All I can say is that I'm glad I was wandering around in the
world's safest city with this cash - the thought of it still
makes me sweat.  On second thought, Come oooooon, 11!
So the day was a great one for the Bull.  Jenny and I were treated to separate farewell lunches, with the Bull hitting up Akashi (the Japanese place) for another salmon Teryaki whilst Muffin hit Thai Accent for a final fiery curry.  We then closed our Singapore bank account, at which point we were given something we had NEVER seen before -  A THOUSAND DOLLAR BILL.  Seriously - that one note is worth $785 USD!!!!!  Jenny and I just about wet our pants - I do NOT like rolling around with that much cash tied into a single sliver of paper.  Needless to see we are cashing that puppy in for Hong Kong dollars as soon as possible!

We had a team "end of year farewell" about 5:30, at which point the Bull did what he typically does when his time ends somewhere - compose and recite a poem.  This one was much shorter, used ZERO foul language, and made no disparaging remarks about anyone (unlike the usual Transition ditties), but I was proud of it and think that it went very well.  It was then over to Brotzeit for a pair of farewell pints with Emma, who's off to K-L tomorrow for Christmas (nothing says "let's celebrate the birth of baby Jesus" like spending a week in a Muslim country.  Then again, as Team Taylor is hitting the craps tables in Macau for Christmas, I guess it's all relative...).

But enough of that - it's time to make good on the promise I made to you all eons ago and slay the dragon that is Railay.  And so, ladies and gentlemen, let's return to East Railay on a Sunday morning, as we talk you through the experience that was the Deep Water Solo (DWS).

So here's the deal, Jenny had been desperate to do one of these since her visit to Railay back in October, and I had NO IDEA what I was in for.  However, I was game to try anything once, and since it was already booked, I was game for the day and DETERMINED to make a better showing than my rock climbing experience.  Oh, sooooooo, so naive.

We showed up on Tonsai Beach (the "other" beach in Railay, which is only about 250 meters from West Railay but requires a long tail due to the tides and rocks) about 9 AM and walked up to "Wee's Climbing School," the tour operators for the day.  We started meeting the other folks, including a guy named Eric who's one of the pilots for Discovery's "Flying Wild Alaska" (he and his sister Katie were really cool cats, by the way).  We also met our guide, another little pygmy climber named Tun (not to be confused with the rock climbing dude - Tu).

The X chromosome half of Team Taylor relaxing before
the start of the day's deep water solo.
So 9:30 arrives, and the boat isn't there.  9:45 comes and goes, and all Tun can say is, "Go pick shoes."  And so we go into the back to select our shoes, thinking that it will be like the rock climbing - a STACK of new shoes ready for the taking.  Instead, we find shoes that look as though they've been outside the Green Zone in Baghdad for the last 9 years - NONE OF THEM ARE INTACT.  I settled on a pair that had what could only be described as bullet holes through both of them and were so filled with sand that 30 seconds into wearing them I was pretty sure I'd shaved off 4 layers of skin.  But hey - it's not like we're about to scale a vertical cliff drenched in sea water, so I'm sure being comfortable or having secure footwear isn't really important.

Let me tell you what was important for Tun - SMOKING WEED.  Seriously - the driver pulls up in the boat, hops out, and starts walking toward shore with his dry bag.  All the folks on the tour start walking toward the boat, but the driver waves us off. He then proceeds to roll a joint, climb under this blanket contraption with our guide, and START SMOKING THE WEED OUT.  I mean seriously?  SERIOUSLY?  They popped up 5 minutes later high as kites.  THESE are the people taking us to scale cliffs?

Check out the white shirt in the center of the picture.  THAT'S MUFFIN!!!
That being said, the ride out was very smooth, and 30 minutes later we'd arrived at the first spot.  We then all jump out and start swimming for the rope ladder that's dangling from the cliff face.  Eric went up first, and Jenny was right behind him.  That girl was AMAZING!!!  She went about 15 meters up and THEN JUMPED OFF!!!!  It was EPIC - she is fearless, and I was amazed. 

Now let's play "where's Jenny?" in the photo.  Can you see the teeny little bullet torpedoing toward the water?  FEARLESS I TELL YA!!!!!!!
Rope ladders - no problem for the Striker. She laughs in
the face of sheer cliffs, high winds, and choppy seas...
As for the Bull, I was so exhausted from rock climbing the day before that I could barely get ONTO the ladder.  And whilst I did manage to get onto it, I couldn't pull myself up.  Yes, that's right, folks - I NEVER EVEN MADE IT ONTO THE CLIFF FACE.  Instead, I spent a good 6 hours swimming in the ocean.  Again, it was a (rather large) let down, and for the second day straight I was disappointed in myself and inability to at least get onto the rock.  However, when I looked at everyone else, most of whom were JACKED with muscle (seriously - we're talking muscles on their back along their spine where there should be nothing but skin), I really couldn't be that upset.

After about an hour on that rock, we wandered over into a little cove, where we swam, wandered through some caves, watched folks try bouldering.  And whilst everyone found bouldering impossible, our guide was able to hang upside down using ONLY HIS FINGERS AND BIG TOES.  I mean, it helps when you're high as a kite and weigh only 40 pounds, but still...

These guys are about 50 feet up.  the guy in the center was
the one from our group who went about 100 feet up - AMAZING.
And speaking of high as a kite, before we went to spot #2, Tun and the driver BLAZED THE CHEEBA AGAIN.  Basically they smoked through a mini-digeredoo, and they emerged from the bushes looking BAKED.  But 10 minutes later we arrived at the next spot, which was INSANE.

Tun in a rare "non-weed smoking" moment - teetering on
the edge of a cliff.   I think I'll stick with project plans for a living.
So the next spot was advanced, and only 2 guys in the group even made it up the ladder.  Of those 2, one of them got over NINETY FEET UP and at one point was straddling a stalactite and the cliff face in a complete split - it was AMAZING.  He ended up going about 100 feet up and then wandering back down to eventually jump from a different stalactite - AMAZING!!!!  Honestly, watching this guy climb was worth the price of admission (~$27 USD for the day including lunch).

"Sawadee's a beautiful day..."
It was then back to the original spot, where the gang messed around for a bit (and I continued swimming) before we headed back to Railay.  All in all, it was a really good trip, even if I couldn't participate.  We then showered and headed to (where else?) Last Bar, where we spent the evening scarfing down Barracuda and belting out lyrics along with the musician.  And in a cool end to the trip, the musician came over and talked to us a bit, as he'd seen us, well, EVERY NIGHT at the place.  He was really good (from the Philippines), and it was a nice chat.

Team Taylor called it a night about 11:30, as we were EXHAUSTED and ready to return to civilization.  Despite all the hiccups, this place was AMAZING and really should be a MUST DO for anybody with an adventurous spirit or who loves rock climbing.  It was just BEAUTIFUL - stunning scenery, bountiful activities, and some great food (oh, and REALLY cheap :-)). 

Picture of "forbidden activities" in the van for our
transfer back to to the airport:  no guns, no dogs, and absolutely
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print.  Team Taylor is FINALLY back to even, baby!!!!!  WOOOO-HOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!  Chat tomorrow, for the FINAL BLOG OF 2011!!!!


 Sam and Jenny

No comments:

Post a Comment