Today we went on another little adventure. Since we could not get our groceries yesterday because the stores were closed, we decided to rent the scooters and head back into town. We also wanted to stop by the Lanta Animal Welfare (LAW) site to see how we could help out. We had heard great things about how this charity was helping with the local dog and cat population and thought we should check it out. Since the day involved animals Lea took a break from her non-stop studying to come with us, which was great. We rented two scooters from the shop across the street and were off in a flash.
We arrived at LAW about 10 minutes later and met with the staff immediately. We knew they were always looking for volunteers to walk their dogs and sure enough a coupe of minutes later we were off walking Noodle.
After walking Noodle we made our way back to LAW and checked him back in. The kids felt good about the mission of LAW and decided to donate some of their charity money to the organization. Lea even bought a cute tank top and we bought Wrigley a little stuffed animal.
The only bad thing we could say about LAW was it's location, which we deemed to be somewhere on the surface of the sun. By the time our walk was over we were all so hot we thought we were in danger of combusting. We had planned on taking a tour, but decided that having four people melt while viewing their facility would not benefit the organization in any way. So we said our goodbyes and jumped back on the scooters.
On the way to the grocery store we stopped at the smoothie shack to get a little ice cold refreshment. We have passed this little shop three times and every time we stop and get a smoothie - $1 each.
The grocery shopping went smoothly and we jumped back on our bikes and started heading to Time for Lime for lunch. Since we struck out yesterday we were all excited to go today. Peter and I were in the lead and stopped and waited for Stacie and Lea at the turn off to Time for Lime. We waited and waited and after about 5 minutes we knew something was wrong. I immediately became worried that they had been in an accident. We raced back toward the grocery store and a couple of minutes later we found them on the side of the road with a flat tire. I was relieved.
We decided to leave the bike, grab a taxi for Peter and Stacie and Lea and I would go get a table at Time for Lime, where we would regroup and make a plan. We got there quickly and went to get a table - sorry - no luck - they are not open for lunch, bummer.
Lea and I made our way back to the main road where we met Stacie and Peter and gave them the bad news. We decided to cut our losses and head back to our neck of the woods. Lea and I raced ahead on the scooter while Peter and Stacie hailed down another taxi and negotiated the fare.
When I arrived at the rental shop I started to try to communicate what was going on. Now when you think rental shop you are thinking walk up to the customer service counter and have someone with a name tag help you. Indulge me for a moment while I try to paint you a picture of this rental shop.
This is a family run business which is conducted in a concrete building which doubles as the family's home. There are about 10 scooters to rent, but in case you don't want to rent a scooter you can get your laundry done there (which we have done several times). When you enter there are generally 4 or 5 kids running around, someone fixing a scooter and a baby in a makeshift swing. To rent a scooter you give them your passport and you are off. This is not Hertz, but the people have been extremely friendly and we have had no issues.
Now back to the story. When I arrived back with one bike instead of two you could see they were a little worried. Coming from the US where you have roadside assistance and cars are maintained to a high standard, I figured they would be apologetic and would try to make things right. I was wrong. They wanted me to go back to the bike, take it to a repair shop, get it fixed and then bring it back. We went back and forth for a while and while I was arguing my position, I still understood they had not only my passport, but my clothes, yep we had dropped off a large load that morning when we rented. After a while they guy I was dealing with said he would go get the bike, but I needed to pay for the repair. Just then Stacie and Peter showed up in the back of the taxi. While they were getting out I walked over and gave a brief update - "they want us to pay for the repair" and while I was doing that the guy I was talking to took off to go get the bike, then they brought in the heavyweight - Grandma. The Corleone's had the Godfather - these guys have the Grandmother. She was badass and was not about to let me get out of that shop without paying for her bike. The negotiations started all over again, only her english was not quite as good as the sons. So it went something like this -
Badass grandma - "you pay! - any shop here - same, same! - you pay!"
Me - "huh?"
Badass Grandma - "You pay new rubber!"
Me - "no - you pay - I had to pay for a taxi"
Badass Grandma - "you pay - same same!"
This went on for what felt like an eternity, and finally we agreed to split the difference. The daughter was clearly not happy with Badass Grandma and was uncomfortable with the situation. We had been the lion share of their income over the past few days and she was worried that we were not coming back - and she was right. She tried to make things better as we were leaving with a big smile saying "see you at 6:00 for laundry!".
We were finally done and in desperate need of some lunch. We went and got something and were back home for the afternoon before we knew it.
That evening we hit the beach to watch another spectacular sunset.
Please believe me that my pictures do absolutely no justice to these sunsets. This place must be considered the sunset capital of the world. The range of colors that fill the sky are simply breathtaking. I wish I had the ability to capture the essence of these moments, but I simply don't. Just come here and see them for yourself, like these two are: