It’s Earth Day and we decide Charity Travel should do someting about it. So we go planting mangroves with the Freeland foundation! Freeland is an organization that fights trafficking of animals and humans, and is active in national parks in Thailand. It is a great experience to travel to the school with the enormous name by taxi. We lose the way twice and get a bit stressful when we traverse the coastal wetlands on our way. When we finally get there, the instruction session is halfway: a teacher tells the story of the precious mud coast and the function of the mangroves we’ll plant on it. Then he demonstrates on one sapling how to put it in the mud with our hand or feet.
We all go out to the actual mangrove field and the organizers have arranged for three wheelbarrows of saplings. We dip into the lukewarm water and wade to the places where we want to plant the trees. We hand each other the young trees and I put a few dozen of them in the mud using my toes to push the roots in. It’s an interesting experience, even though it only takes 40 minutes and could be done more efficiently. But that is not the point. We are served lunch, a delicious buffet of vegetalbles, tofu, shrimps and other seafood. After lunch, we move back to the city and make a modest donation to Freeland, which pleases them greatly to my delight. Their actions are normally sponsored by corporations and they don’t seem to be used to private donors.
It is late at night and it has started raining heavily. We don’t know where we are anymore.
Our desire not to be here wins over my conceived virtuous parsimony and we take a taxi to the bus station. Everything is so simple of you have cash in your pocket. I brood on that trivial observation as – no, not as, I hate as, as purports detachment and cynicism – while our taxi’s windshield wipers struggle with the pouring downfall. At the station everything is straightforward, we buy tickets, have a quick noodle soup with fishballs, and board the bus that brings us to Hua Hin, where we will arrive in the middle of the night.
There are still some guesthouses open. A local, room-to-rent place is cheap enough and we don’t really care, we just want to sleep.