Kuantan Firefly Park, Malaysia

“Please don’t use flash photography,” said the man who’d offered his hand to help me get into the boat. The moonlight bouncing off the water seemed to cling to his teeth as he grinned heartily and waved our little boat off into the dark water.

“Of course!” I replied, easily smiling back as I casually twisted my camera’s settings into No Flash mode.

Scooting to the edge of the bench I looked off to the far side of the river so I wouldn’t have to peer between the couple sitting in front of me. We’d been organized into four people per boat with one oarsman standing at the back, tugging the oars to his chest as he propelled us around.

I’d hoped to nab the front seat, but all was forgiven as I earnestly peered into the low trees hugging the river’s sides.

As we drifted closer what I’d see next wasn’t at all what I’d expected.

Continue reading “Kuantan Firefly Park, Malaysia”

Namtaloo Cave at Cheow Larn Lake

The cave yawned. Scraggly teeth adorned the ceiling. Impatient from waiting for the slower half of the group to catch up a boy from the group sprinted ahead to survey the subterranean hall. Glancing back every now and then to catch a nod of approval from his parents he navigated his way across the creek cutting the cave in half. In the shaded darkness of the cave his pink shirt stood out like a neon sign. He had clever parents.

A rocky perch provided a welcome platform for my camera. With the shutter speed set to ultraslow and my mind focused on anticipating a calm moment I waited to pounce. There it was.

Click. Continue reading “Namtaloo Cave at Cheow Larn Lake”

Cheow Larn Lake, Surat Thani Province

From the mouth of the park to the belly of the beast we travelled. We streamed through the ticket booth (40 baht entry after flashing my student ID) and zipped across the lake, flying towards a horizon broken up by rounded mountains. They lined the edge of Cheow Larn Lake, gnarled like the broken teeth of some Thai elder resting deep in a distant rural region. The boat extended before me as sleek and narrow as a lizard tongue snapping at the air. The air was moist and hazy. The region seemed to be exhaling. The sun hid behind a sheet of clouds—the roof of the mouth was clamped shut. Still, it was a far cry from the absolute darkness of the belly I would stumble through two hours into the tour.   Continue reading “Cheow Larn Lake, Surat Thani Province”