Day 2: Visited the shooting range

I woke up before the alarm went off. I looked at the time on my phone and realized that it was before 7am. So I had proven that I had no problems waking up early enough to go on the island tours. Two things stood in the way though.

One, I did not make any booking for an island tour yesterday so it was too late for me to join any tour group.

Two, I am not an early-riser by nature. I had no problems waking up early but it did not mean that I like it. When I checked my phone and saw the early hour, I gave a groan, rolled over to my side and closed my eyes. “It’s too early to be awake,” I thought as I drifted back to sleep.

Eventually the alarm went off and woke me up. I got dressed and went for breakfast which was served at the Wanna’s Place. At first glance, it seemed like the selection was pretty small. After taking a closer look, I realized that while the quantity wasn’t a lot, there was actually quite a variety of options to choose from.

There were six types of jams and sauces, as well as the usual butter, to go with my toast. I was most intrigued by the pineapple jam as it was not common.

There were white bread, wholemeal bread, multigrain bread, croissants as well as sweet pastries.

I was also quite impressed with the cold cuts and cheese platter. It may not look like much but most hotels don’t offer it for breakfast. I took a bit of every cheese and my favorite was the salty, green-speckled one.

There were also some cooked dishes available. I tried the fried rice, fried noodles and green curry. All of them were tasty although it felt a bit strange to eat curry for breakfast. I finished my breakfast with a small dish of something labelled as homemade muesli. It looked like oat porridge sprinkled with some raisins. It was thick like yam paste and tasted cold and sweet. I rather liked it and for the rest of my stay, it was the dish that I finished my breakfast with.

The only thing I did not like was the orange juice which was thick and sweet. It did not taste like fresh orange juice and I suspected that it was made from a cordial or concentrate. There were other juices but I did not feel like trying them in case they all turned out to be the same thick stuff.

I went back to my room after breakfast. My room was in a building which was two storeys tall, with two rooms on each floor. My room was on the second floor but it was facing the back which was full of trees so there wasn’t much of a view. My neighboring room was facing the sea. I stopped at the landing and tried to see if I could see the sea from the second floor. I could see a tiny bit but most of it was covered by the trees. I felt a bit comforted to know that I wasn’t missing out on a great view.

This time I headed left when I left the resort. Along the way, I passed by many restaurants and souvenir shops and walked into town. Most shops not opened yet because it was still early. Only the local tours and taxi (tuk-tuk) companies were opened for business at this early hour. Tuk-tuks from the same companies were gathered at the same spot and there was a big placard nearby showing the local attractions and fare prices. As I walked past them, they called out to me, offering their tuk-tuks for hire. They were not aggressive and left me alone after I smiled and shook my head. I was tempted to hire one but I had promised my mother not to take any taxis on this trip so I had to keep to my promise. I would never hear the end of it if something happened while I was in a taxi.

I rounded the bend and arrived at a part of the district that seemed to still being developed for tourists. Everything looked new and here and some parts still had of construction going on. There were wide pedestrian sidewalks and restaurants. Some coconut trees were planted along the walkways to beautify the place but they provide little shade. I walked passed all the usual chains which appeared at tourist locations; Starbucks, Subway, Häagen-Dazs and Mövenpick.

It was very hot and my t-shirt was drenched with sweat. However the buildings lining the street were mostly one storey tall and did not provide much shade to hide from the scorching sun. I was almost tempted to visit Starbucks so that I could hide indoors. But I decided to persevere and continue walking.

Soon I left the tourist district with all their shops and hotels and came to a part of town that the locals lived and the tourists seldom ventured to. It looked and felt older, with a lived-in feel and not as beautifully maintained. I walked past a mosque which was under renovation. I was surprised to find a mosque as I thought that it was more likely to find Buddhist temples in Thailand instead.

Finally I threw in the towel and stopped one hour later at a family-run cafe called Coffee Arthit for some iced coffee. I was so glad to get out of the sun that I didn’t mind that the cafe did not have any aircon. The coffee was cold, milky and quite sweet. It seemed that Thais have a sweet tooth. As I drank the coffee, I suddenly felt a breeze at my back and realized that the staff had positioned a standing fan so that it was blowing at me. Their thoughtfulness was greatly appreciated.

I spent an enjoyable hour at Coffee Arthit, slowly drinking my coffee and reading a book on my ereader. A group of young people dropped in and the staff moved the fan to blow at them. I was a bit sad but I didn’t mind the loss of the fan very much because I had cooled down by then. Then a Caucasian couple riding a scooter stopped by for brunch. I suspected that they had rented the scooter and I thought it was a good way to travel around Krabi. The traffic was not heavy and there was only one main road at Ao Nang. I would if I knew how to ride one.

As I sipped my coffee, I wondered what else could I do. It was so hot that I did not feel like walking anymore and I had played with the thought of walking back to hire one of those tuk-tuks to drive me to a tourist attraction. Then I checked my location on Google Maps and discovered that I was near the Ao Nang Shooting Range which was at the edge of the town. Apparently I had walked further than I thought. Since it was only another 15-20 mins walk away, I decided to go there instead of turning back.

The shooting range was not visible from the main street and I had to turn into a small lane to find it. It was very quiet and there was nobody else except for two people and a short dog. The woman behind the counter spoke only Thai but the shooting instructor spoke quite good English. As for the dog, he was more interested in sleeping than in studying me.

I had never used a real gun before so the instructor recommended the two pistols which he said were easy to use and the recoil wasn’t powerful. I think they were the Colt Ace and Colt Python. I bought ten bullets for each gun and we proceeded to the shooting range. The instructor briefed me on safety instructions and taught me the correct way of holding the gun. Then he loaded the Colt Ace and let me have a go.

I was surprised when I held the gun as it was heavier than I had expected. I didn’t know that guns are so heavy. Because of the weight, it was harder and harder to hold the gun steady towards the end. My arms were tired after shooting ten bullets. It made me wondered about those action heroes who could hold a gun with just one hand and still be able to hit their target.

Then I tried shooting with the Colt Python which was different from the first gun. It could only hold six bullets and had a hammer that I had to set before each shot. The instructor demoed first, showing that even if I did not set the hammer, the gun would still fire but there was more resistance. Since he wanted me to pull the hammer before each shot, I did so. The Colt Python felt more powerful and the recoil was greater. There was also a smoky, metallic smell in the air after I had fired a few bullets. After the first few shots, the instructor asked me to try getting a headshot. I was surprised and excited when I tried and succeed. After trying both guns, I think I liked the Colt Python better as I could stop after six bullets and rest my arms while I waited for the instructor to reload the gun.

It was pretty obvious which were the Colt Ace and Colt Python shots because the Colt Python used bigger Magnum bullets. The instructor said that I was pretty good for a first-timer. I didn’t tell him that I actually had some practice with shooting games at the arcade although I always failed terribly. I am not able to take photos inside the shooting range so I had to buy photos taken by the instructor. It cost about 300 – 400 baht for two photos. It’s not cheap but I thought that this could be the last time I held a real gun in my hands so I bought them.

Altogether I spent about 4000 baht at the shooting range. I told Bell about how expensive it was but she comforted me, saying that the main thing was that I enjoyed it. And it’s not as if I could do this back in Singapore.

I headed back to the beach after the shooting range. It was still sunny but it did not feel so scorching hot anymore.

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I went to the western end of Ao Nang beach. There were hotels and restaurants along the stretch but it still felt pretty quiet and peaceful. I sat at the edge of the beach, under the shade of a tree and enjoyed the scenery.

Feeling thirsty and hot, I tried to buy a cup of fruit juice from a nearby stall but the sullen woman behind the counter did not understand English. I wanted dragonfruit juice but she just kept asking, “Orange juice?” Finally, feeling somewhat frustrated, I ordered orange juice in the end. The manager returned at this moment and he proceed to prepared my order. My heart sank when he reached into the fridge and pulled out a jug of orange-colored liquid. He ladled it out into a blender with some ice and a colorless liquid. After blending it all together, the mixture was poured into a plastic cup and handed to me. I took a sip. It was just as I suspected, thick and sweet and did not taste like real fruit juice at all. After this experience, I decided not to buy any more fruit juices in Krabi.

After the disappointing so called “orange juice”, I decided to get a nice drink. So I walked to Nopparat Thara Beach where I saw a quiet cafe when I was there yesterday. Along the way, I was waylaid by a promoter for an Italian restaurant. He was the black sheep of Ao Nang as the other promoters leave me alone after I indicated that I had no interest. But he refused to let me go. Even though I smiled and shook my head as usual, he continued to speak loudly and tried to push the menu in front of me. I quickly sidestepped him and continued on my way. His aggressive tone and attitude put me off and I made a mental note not to eat at his restaurant. Unfortunately I do not remember the name of the restaurant, I only remembered that the restaurant front had the colors of the Italian flag and was located near the western end of Ao Nang beach.

I continued to Nopparat Thara Beach without further incident and found the cafe easily. It was called Doi Chaang Coffee and located just opposite Nopparat Thara Beach. There were no customers in the small cafe and for a moment I was afraid that it was closed. Then I spotted someone working inside so I pushed open the door. I picked a seat by the floor-to-ceiling glass windows so that I could look out. The cafe served the usual coffee drinks available like latte, cappuccino, etc but I decided to get the coffee that was named after the cafe, after making sure that it would be served cold.

The coffee was sweet and milky but not as sweet as the one at Coffee Arthit. I sat and continued reading until the afternoon sun shone brightly into the cafe, making it too hot to remain where I was sitting. So I left.

I went back to the resort and sat in my room, enjoying the cool air from the aircon. I continued reading but soon the stillness of the afternoon lulled me to sleep. It was 5pm when I woke up. I headed out and signed out a towel from the counter at the swimming pool. I thought it was nice that The L Resort let guests sign out towels to use at the pool and the beach.

Then I crossed the road to Ao Nang Beach and found a spot to lay down the towel. Sometimes I read and sometimes I looked at the scenery. It felt really peaceful. Everybody at the beach minded their own business and nobody came to bother me.

At around 5:45pm, I noticed that the sun had bathed the beach and the nearby cliffs in a warm light.

In another 15 mins, the sun was near the horizon. I took a photo of my sandals which had followed me to Ecuador, Netherlands, Hong Kong and now Thailand. The setting sun evoked the most sentimental feelings and I thought fondly of the pair of sandals.

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As the sun set, a kind of hush seemed to fall over the area. People spoke quietly and most just sat and watch the sunset.

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5 mins later, the sun had disappeared behind the land mass.

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Even though the sun could no longer be seen, its light was reflected on the low-lying clouds, turning the sky into shades of gold. It was a truly beautiful sight.

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To my surprise, the light seemed to intensify. The color of the clouds was reflected by the sea, bathing the whole area in a lovely warm glow.

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As the light slowly disappeared, parts of the sky turned a pinkish-purple.

Another 5 mins and it was starting to turn dark. People starting packing up and leaving.

I was one of the last few to leave the beach. I lingered to catch the last of the dying light. Then my stomach growled, reminding me that it was time for dinner.

I dropped the towel off at the resort before heading to a restaurant called Blue Mango Restaurant & Bar for dinner. It was about 15 mins walk away from the resort. Blue Mango served Western and Thai dishes.

I had a Caipiroska which was made of vodka, lime juice and brown sugar. So it tasted tangy and sweet.

Today I decided to go for a local dish. It would be strange if I came to Krabi and did not eat a single Thai dish at all! So I ordered a Massaman curry. I had never heard of this curry before but I saw its name in the menus of a few restaurants I had passed by earlier in the day. So I guessed that it must be a famous local dish. It was a nutty, thin curry and also little spicy and sweet. There were chicken, potatoes and carrots in the curry. The portions were quite exact; two of everything. There were also some peanuts which had softened a little in the cooking but not soft until mushy.

I returned to the resort after dinner. As I walked past the reception, I thought about the island tours but in the end decided against booking it. I just didn’t feel like waking up early the next morning.

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