|Friends walking along Laem Sing beach one afternoon|
It's not as easy as you might think to blend in with a crowd of people when you're the obviously different-looking outsider, but things like parks, waterfalls and beaches can be good times to try.
A beach is a beach, in some cases, but if you take the time to look a little more closely there's almost always a variety of interesting items - and if you're not paying attention, you miss them.
|A small group of mollusks, clinging to a rock|
It's not just the chance to do some people watching, although sharing the experience of being there with others is a benefit in and of itself; there are often opportunities to interact with others along the way, even if it's on nothing more than the "isn't this a beautiful place?" smile after making eye contact when you notice someone examining shells clinging to a rock as the water laps over them.
|Moving with a purpose, a sand crab works to clear his hiding spot|
Sand crabs are usually pretty skittish about something thousands of times larger than they are as we humans come walking along, but this one was hard at work pushing pellets of sand out of the burrow it was digging, moving them out around the hole it would duck into with lightning speed if it sensed any danger.
Several people of assorted ages back home are always happy to see whatever unusual shells I bring back for them. I don't tend to lug back a sack full, but every so often there's one worthy of dropping into a pocket and taking back to the room. I rinse them off and put them into a small baggie that I wrap in clothing to get it back home with the shells intact.
The children above were just picking up things to throw into the water most of the time, but you'll see even the smallest of visitors occasionally pick up some new "treasure" and tuck it away to take away with them, and who can blame them? Sometimes the smallest mementos are the most precious reminders of a trip to the shore.