It’s New Year which can only mean one thing for the natives of Salakkok, it’s time for the annual ‘Running of the Pigs’. This age old tradition is rumoured to have been influenced by Pamplona’s event of a similar name. However, unlike it’s Spanish counterpart, the act of releasing a single wild pig onto Salakkok Pier – in place of a herd of bulls along a main street – hasn’t proved to be a big draw for tourists . . . or indeed locals.
In fact, at this years event only myself – in a bid to record what could, and probably should, be a dying tradition for posterity – and a couple of local fisherman were present. Anyway, here’s the traditional ‘Pig on a Pier’ photo. It may be the last time such scenes are captured and even the pig appears somewhat wistful at this prospect.
Very few things in life are more exciting than the sight of a pig on a pier and a bad road accident is one of them. On 5 January a builder’s truck slid back down the hill leading out of Kai Bae and flipped over. There were a couple of people in the truck and they weren’t moving when they were pulled out and taken away. These photos were taken about two hours after the accident happened. (Thanks to Euan for the call.)
A couple of things to notice:
Firstly, how plucky tourists weren’t going to let rescue workers, a backhoe, an upturned truck, a pile of building supplies and a few litres of gasoline on the road put them off getting to the beach. Secondly, and more importantly, the total lack of police on the scene, bearing in mind it is now two hours since the accident and the main road on the west coast of the island, is blocked leaving tailbacks in both directions with hundreds of people stuck in traffic jams.
None of the people near the truck are wearing police uniform and there weren’t any police motorbikes, vehicles or any sign at all of any men in tight fitting brown uniforms on the road in Kai Bae village. You’d have thought they could have made an effort to show up, even if it was only to fine all the foreigners riding bikes with no helmets who were held up in the queues. Day off perhaps?
We’ve done the ridiculous and the dangerous. Now for the sublime. When people whinge about Koh Chang being a ‘Paradise Lost’ they tend to forget that only certain parts have been buried under concrete. There’s still a sizable chunk that has lush greenery growing on it, although you wouldn’t realise it if you holidayed solely on White Sand beach. The naysayers tend to forget that all you need to uncover the hidden treasures of Koh Chang is either a) an explorer’s fortitude and willingness to trek for miles over rugged terrain in order to seek out the undiscovered or b) a cold beer, a Lumix with 10x zoom and a friend with a new catamaran from which to take photos. (I opted for the latter.)
That photo was taken during a trip from Bangbao to Salakphet on the new Koh Mak catamaran. The 52′ boat, which can hold up to 72 people, will be used for day cruises and sightseeing trips and can also be chartered. It will also run as a ferry during bad weather when travel by speedboat between the mainland to Koh Mak is too uncomfortable or dangerous for passengers. A few more pics taken whilst sailing.
And finally, congratulations to Baan Chang Thai elephant camp, in Klong Prao, on the birth of their new elephant calf on 3 January. If you’d like to go along and see him, take photos and feed some fruit to his mother feel free to do so. The camp request a donation of 99 baht for this – which seems very reasonable as spending some time watching him interacting with Mum and the mahout is a very memorable experience. A few photos below and more in the Baby Elephant Photo Gallery.