This is supposed to be the end of the dry season. Well, it is the opposite of dry. Meghan, Mrs. T. and I went for a hike in the Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand yesterday and in the first 3 minutes of our walk from the hotel to the Park entrance, my shoes were full of water. They stayed that way until I took them off 6 hours later. Meghan made the comment that her toes were past the prune/raisin stage and were probably turning transparent. Forget about Gore Tex® here, you need a good pair of waders!
Since we got into town the night before last, the clouds have spent more time raining than not. The good news is all this rain cools things down quite a bit - and it is beautiful here. Tropical flowers like heliconia grow from the ground outside, not from pots or in a greenhouse. Little frogs and big insects sing us to sleep at night and songbirds wake us in the morning.
We have been pretty good about watching for leeches - I picked a few off of Meghan and Mrs. T - but one got me. We stopped for a break at a ranger station and I noticed a red spot on the ankle of my sock that grew larger through the rest of the day, thanks to the very effective anticoagulant in the leech’s saliva. Luckily there is no spread of disease via leeches - only mosquitos, etc. It’s weird how they walk like inchworms, stretching out and waving about, sensing which direction has the most heat, planting their front end then bringing their back end to meet the front. You see them at times, on the trail, scanning for a host, waiting for us to walk by. Apparently there is some record that a guide holds for finding 186 leeches on himself in an 8 km hike (same distance we did).
Also, we have gotten used to geckos cleaning the bugs off the ceilings for us at night - they are all over SE Asia. They are pretty daring, sometimes taking on large bugs that are half their size and weight, swallowing a bit more every 15 minutes or so. However, last night I saw a 5 inch long praying mantis (bigger than the majority of the geckos) hunting right alongside the geckos for the same bugs! I bet they give the mantis plenty of room! Can I use some punctuation other than an exclamation point? OK, there I did. It’s getting late - time for bed.