An early start was called for to catch the morning boat to Satun, and so I left the deserted camp bleary eyed and fortunately managed to bag a taxi pronto, tearing the guy away from his breakfast. With the average income being 4 dollars 50 a day, he would secure his dinner before it. The trip across the island to the main settlement Kuah revealed it to be uniformly cut and folded for tourist consumption with even a 4 lane highway to spoil any illusions of an untouched paradise. Time precluded a very tempting Starbucks at the jetty terminal, as did the duty free bottle of whisky I'd been threatening. Unfortunately neither the pier or ferryboat were conducive to photography so I just had to settle for peeks of Langkawi's symbol, a very large statue of a red eagle (Langkawi translated) and the island flashed by the boat obscured by dodgy glazing. Landing at the pier outside the city of Satun, Thailand immigration was the usual synch, only to be hit on by very persistent touts whose game I immediately became determined not to play. Such was the aggressive monopoly I knew it had to be a stitch up and so elected just to get out of there on my first Thai share pick up truck. Known as Saewnthwang, literally "2 benches", it was reassuringly filled with locals. Another one connected me to the unobvious bus stance where predictably I found that all the other travellers off the boat had arrived independently of me, but paid way over the odds. A case in point was Tyse, a young Danish guy I ended up sharing a room with in Krabi that night. Whilst I had paid 221 Baht for the bus, he had been stung for 400. Bastards every one. I really didnt mess around these days though, my prevailing sentiments of feeling old and unloved meant that these parasites copped the rap big time from me if they pushed it too far. If I stopped short of a middle finger or expletive, I'd answer their pushy "Hey, where you going?" with something like "I'm going to have the rest of my life". I understood theyre just trying to make a living but it was daylight robbery and you lose patience after the same guy asks you 20 times.
Off the bus in Krabi it was a lot later than I had expected and so I elected just to stick with Tyse and an English couple and stay in town. The brand new hotel with starchy sheets and a towel proved it to have been a good move. With my lightweight swimming shorts having become default apparel due to the heat, I shopped around Krabi-ville for more, finding it a remarkably normal haunt with not as much English spoken as I expected. It turned out that its famed beaches were actually some way from town though and the hotel actually proved a saviour in a town devoid of a decent restaurant or pub. The indiginous food market of stalls proferring all sorts of fruits and gooey concoctions turned my stomach with its gelatinous glaze and reek of steamed pork.