A Sunday walk

Rubber tapping

Rubber tapping

Raw latex

Raw latex

An undiscovered beach

An undiscovered beach

We walk round the northern end of the island. There are no villages here, just rubber plantations, hills and the coastline from which a good concrete road has been carved out. And there are no cars on the island, so it is beautifully quiet.

Making latex sheets from the white sap of rubber trees is a cottage industry. We watch a couple work on deep trays full of jelly-like goo, kneading it with hands and feet until it is transformed into flat sheets about a centimetre thick. They lubricate them with a detergent-like liquid, stack them up, then feed each sheet through a mangle in a process that closely resembles pasta making. The finished sheets emerge from a second mangle that leaves a pattern of criss-cross lines on them and a number identifying their origin.

Tourism is not the be-all and end-all on Koh Sukorn. Rubber and fishing are just as important. The beach we come to at the furthest point of our walk is as lovely as any we have seen, but it is completely deserted and a few derelict cabins at the far end suggest a venture that the tsunami put paid to and has not been taken up again since.

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About ihavedoneagoodayswork

I am a retired teacher of English as a foreign language who has worked in different parts of Asia - east, west and south.

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