Kui Buri: Last stop on the way to Namfon

The town to which we are headed is Kui Buri, a “lonely place,” according to the gentleman helping us at the bus station in Surat Thani. To us, it is a place of relief because until a couple days ago, we didn’t know if we’d even make it there.

It has taken us more than a week to reach the source of CAT in WATER. Devastating floods sent our adventure into a circuitous course, and left us uncertain of whether we’d be able to connect with Namfon once we arrived. Our first attempts to contact her in Thailand only exacerbated fears. After several failed calls, the Namfon we reached sounded harried and troubled. “I am not sure who is calling,” she said. “But I am in a flooded area. I will have to call this number back when I reach drier ground.” Click.

Even though we had exchanged many emails and phone calls with her, we still bear the anxiety of being strangers, and lowest priority in a time of much upheaval for her. Her home is in Bangkok, and she is trying to help rescue animals. Our choices are few, and we decide we must just try to move on, at least edging our way in the direction we know we must go. We are committed and indebted to so many. We put it in Faith’s hands that everything would work out.

Jo and I decide to make plans for heading towards Hua Hin, a resort area popular with Bangkok residents, just north of the Khao Sam Roi Yot area. We hope to make contact with Namfon in the afternoon.

Our last day in Phuket is filled with bus arranging, money gathering, and figuring out where we might stay. Things seem to go wrong at every turn (see Thailand, country of smiles? More like country of trials.), but one thing turns it all around for us. A second call to Namfon reaches someone who sounds as happy to hear from us as we are to hear from her. Everyone is well. Namfon’s house, so far has not flooded, and she is making way to finally leave Bangkok.

We are of like minds for meeting up, and she informs us that her assistant will pick us up in Kui Buri. From there, it is off to get the lay of the land of the northern research sites, and we will stay in Namfon’s bungalow in Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park until she arrives. Our diggs then will likely involve staying in the guesthouse in a town with one restaurant and one market — a very different Thailand than the one we have experienced so far.

We can’t wait. Kui Buri marks the true beginning of the fishing cat journey.

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