It rained hard, as we followed the guano miner’s daughter, Chanraem, through a maze of brilliant green rice paddies, ending at an unexpectedly lovely, teak house, landscaped with fruit trees and flowers. We waited on the porch till Siri came to meet us.
At 96 years of age, Siri Tanomsri found it difficult to remember details of his interview with Merlin at Rakang Cave 23 years earlier, but his 81-year-old wife distinctly recalled Merlin taking her picture at the cave entrance. That photo ran in BCI’s Fall 1990 issue of Bats, “Return to Thailand.”
We recorded the hour-long interview and left noting the exceptional health of these people as substantiation of the head monk’s comment at Khao Chong Pran Cave in response to Merlin’s inquiry regarding the often exaggerated claims that bats are dangerous sources of disease.
I know many old and healthy guano miners.”
We jumped in the Batmobile for the two-hour drive to Bangkok. At our hotel restaurant, we exchanged memories and mementoes of the two-week trip with our fantastic guides and new friends, the BatThai team. Daniel would be with us for the next week, and then we were on our own for the fourth and final week in Thailand.
Daniel, Merlin and I caught an early morning flight to Narathiwat, in the Deep South of Thailand for a week at the research station in Hala Bala National Park on the border with Malaysia.