Thandwe and Nagapali Beach

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Well, we got safely to Thandwe after a layover in Yangon. While in Yangon I found a 128 MB CF card for my camera at a reasonable price... I just had to ask about 7 stores before I found one. I am much relieved.
Yikes! When we left the airfield we discovered that a group of VIP's was visiting Ngapali Beach the next day and all the hotels were full. We ended up at this run-down former military convalescent home by default. It wasn't even really a hotel and was very strange. We were irritated at first, but of course it turned out to be wonderful.
Sam and I had been debating on the plane which luxuries we wanted to enjoy at Ngapali Beach; the large room with private veranda at Hotel A or the isolated individual bungalows at Hotel B. We just had to chuckle when we got this cubicle and two swaybacked beds. Actually, I really liked this room. It needed a desk, though. But this was the primo room, the windows opened out onto the Bay of Bengal. Some other folks had a room the size of a basketball court, with two beds in it. Heh heh.
Morning on the beach. Good seashell hunting here.
You'll have to forgive me for these rock photos, but I found this fascinating. There was this rock formation coming off the hillside and jutting out into the water. The rock strata were at about a 45 degree angle, and it had eroded away over the centuries in some really fascinating ways.
See this little blobby knobby thing, there were dozens of these in rows, kind of equally spaced apart. Everything on these rocks was in rows and columns. Sam is looking out over the bay and assessing the snorkeling potential.
As the rock has eroded away it's left these rows of sharp stone... some were really like knives (but not this one)!
Went on a little walk through Thandwe. This is the main drag from the airfield. Well, it's the only drag, really. There really aren't many roads out in this neck of the woods.
Some houses along the road. See how tidy it all looks? People sweep the dirt here. Every day you can see folks out sweeping the dirt of the yard to keep it nice looking. It works.
OK, back to the beach. I think I'll take a walk and see what's down this-a-way!
Well howdy there, little missy! I made friends with this girl and she became my companion the rest of the day. She helped me collect seashells, took me to the pagoda on the hill, and all sorts of good things.
Our hotel is the only place to stay on this entire cove, and it's plopped down next to this fishing village. Here are some drying mats, and my ever-present little friend.
So, you just have these things to put fish parts in to sun-dry them, see? I don't know why I was so fascinated with these things. Oh, the hay is on the beach so the fishermen can lay out their nets without getting them all sandy and stuff, I think. I don't really know, but it is to put the nets on, for whatever reason. Huh? Oh, you want to see the fish more closely? Ok.
Mmmm, yummy.
Now, I saved the coolest part for last. All the little fishes get sorted by size and laid out on mats to dry. Off to the left (where you can't really see it) is a mat with bajillions of these little tiny fish that range from dime-size to half-dollar-size. They look like piles of those little round dried silver leaves you see sometimes. The bigger fish get organized very nicely, as you can see.
Fishing boats on the beach. We had gotten to the hot part of the day and the fishermen had retired to the village.
Oh, this is cool, too. The beach was covered with these little holes and tiny balls of sand, making these cool patterns which this photo sort of shows OK. I stood very still and watched, and these little tiny crabs live in these holes in the sand and make these balls. See the close-up, next photo.
Ok, here's the crab-hole. The balls are about BB-size or a little smaller. Now, I had guessed, based on many hours watching The Discovery Channel, that these balls of sand came from inside the holes and were formed as the crab dug the hole and rolled the excess sand out. But no!! The crab comes out, rolls up a ball of sand, kicks it behind him, takes a couple of steps and makes another ball of sand, and on and on. This seems to be his job. Anyone have any idea why? I am baffled.
Here's a little stream I encountered down at the end of the beach.
I climbed up to a little pagoda on a hill, and had a very nice view of the Bay of Bengal. We're not too far from Bangladesh and India at this point.
Ah, nice. Beautiful, clean, warm water. The water is soooo clear here.
Man, it was hot. It was winter, so the temperature was only about 85 or so, but the beach was roasting. I walked back through the fishing village. Once you get under the trees the temperature drops something like 15 degrees.
A couple of kids from the village.
I came across a coconut-processing plant in the village. They invited me in, hacked off the top of a coconut with a dah (like a machete), and gave it to me to drink. Man oh man, it was good. There was a LOT in there, too!
Here's how you husk a cocnut. There's a big metal spike sticking up out of the ground, and you shove the cocnut onto that to peel off the husk. Husk goes in one pile, nut in the other.
Hot and tired, I retire to the hotel for a little relaxation. They could really stand to get some patio furniture at some point. Here's me outside my room havin' a cold one (sort of) and a smoke, and cooling my badly sunburned feet-tops.
My little girlfriend got all dressed up and came back to visit me at the hotel. She's not much on smiling...
... which I can't say about her friend, who was just miss giggles the whole time. My gosh, what an adorable thing!! Oh, and she gave me the necklace made of seashells you see here, which is about my favorite thing I brought back.
This is how you communicate when you can't say a word. She's drawing a chicken here. We had loads of fun drawing pictures in the sand! We also had a blast giving each other presents of beach debris wrapped in leaves. I bought them some tamarind juice, which I think made me to coolest guy ever in the universe.
I let them take pictures of me... and that was the end of the visit!

The next morning we flew to Sittwe and got a boat to Mrauk U! Go see it in the next gallery...

On to the next gallery!