The Return of a Beach Bum
02.04.2010 - 02.04.2010
We're back on the familiar shores of Ao Nang, having departed from Phuket yesterday early afternoon. The consensus seems to be that none of us will miss Phuket. The neighborhood we stayed in was lovely enough, with plenty to do, and close to the beach, but Phuket just doesn't feel like the rest of Thailand. I can't explain it, so that has to be my best interpretation of my own feelings about the matter for now.
Instead of lounging on the beach I spent my couple of days here holed up in the hotel room (for the most part), writing. Jenna and Zac didn’t understand the appeal while on vacation, but I had come on vacation with the intention of getting something accomplished in the way of my writing, and I have succeeded, albeit nothing impressively substantial. Still, I needed the time to myself and the quiet, and I got it!
I'm definitely an introvert. I'd certainly qualify that with the statement that I am definitely an introvert who is comfortable being extroverted from time to time. Still, after being around people I really need to recharge and allow myself some quiet time. Alone.
Zac did come back during the day to go to lunch with me, which was wonderful of him, and we sat and talked for a while before Jenna came back too. It was our last day in Phuket, and I think the beach had worn on them as well. There was a bit of laziness before the clouds yet again came rolling in and another monsoon raged in the afternoon.
Just like the afternoon before, a torrential downpour began with few signs other than clustered clouds and changing skies. No small warning drops, no tickle of thunder--just an immediate deluge. Almost at the same time (down to the minute) as the day before. Eventually the rain was followed by rolling thunder and too close for comfort lightning.
The three of us sat in my room and watched the storm all the way through. It was impressive and awesome, wet and in full force. I love that kind of weather. I love tropical rains, when the mornings are filled with sun and hot weather and the afternoons bring storms. The storms don’t stay long, maybe an hour, and then it clears. Once the weather has settled the smell of the air is like the first rain of the season, it feels cooler and more comfortable for your body, and the cicadas, crickets, and frogs settle in for a beautiful evening symphony.
Once safe to venture out again, Zac and I walked in the cool evening air to go pick up some tailor made shirts he opted to bargain for to go with his suit from Chiang Mai. They scam you here, putting out signs that say you can get one for 500 baht (like $17), but once inside they add the tailor fee, material fee, and a screw you up the bum fee.
Zac had negotiated two shirts for what he felt were a decent price, and the tailor apparently agreed. When we went to pick them up they weren’t yet ready and we spent about 20 minutes talking with him. Just to have a little fun we changed where we were from and our background information, not that the tailor would know or probably care much anyway. Zac was from Vancouver and I was from California. We were pretend hippies (and I probably looked the part in my hammer pants—yeah, I wore them!) and tried not to laugh through it. In the end the tailor was a really nice guy and I felt bad about it. Then I realized it really doesn’t matter and we were pretty silly.
The walk back to the hotel encountered far fewer people, probably not wanting to walk through puddles and fearful of another downpour (though once it’s done, it’s done). I watched my steps carefully, having had an incident in Ko Phi Phi after an afternoon rain that has left me cautious of walking after a storm. I had been swimming in the pool after dark because the rain had prevented me from swimming in the late afternoon. I finished up and got out, wrapped up in my sarong, and cautiously walked back to the bungalow.
There were large concrete slabs for steps, pebbled with thick stones that were a little too big to walk over in bare feet. I looked down to watch my steps as I went, afraid I’d step on one of the huge snails that slowly moved along the path with their huge, sharp shells upon their backs. My foot lifted and midair smacked something big, leathery, and wet. I wish I could say I screamed, but it was more of a squeal—and not the cute kind kids make on playground equipment as they swing around in great fun.
My heart was pounding and I looked over to see a HUGE bullfrog sitting (and seemingly annoyed—I will anthropomorphize) and looking at me. I looked back, not sure if the bastard jumped into me on purpose or out of inattention. Either way, it nearly scared the shit out of me. The resulting lesson was—watch where you walk after it rains, and prepare for anything.
So I did. I spotted rats and other gross animals as they crawled over garbage, ant flies and other winged creatures that loved to fly into your face like a doomed kamikaze, and lots of centipede like things. The rain really brings out the life desperately seeking it.
The remainder of our evening was spent playing cards and annoying one another in playful and imaginative ways. Zac and I discovered that Jenna hated our celebratory dances and songs when she lost at cards. Jenna quickly grew tired of us and left Zac and me to finish our bottle of rum and games.
We woke up the next morning, caught a taxi to the dock, and made our way via ferry to Ao Nang. It felt nice to come back, like visiting an old friend, and we’re comfortable here (although ready to go).
This trip has gone by quickly in retrospect, and was for the most part a good one. Thailand has been pleasant, beautiful, and memorable. And the food incredible. Coming here for the food alone is worth it.
I just had a woman walk by trying to sell me a massage and then offer a tattoo instead. How could that not be good times? Don’t worry, I said no to both. I don’t want to be touched and while “I got this tattoo in Thailand” might seem like a cool idea, “I got this hepatitis in Thailand” is not.
Now, without a tattoo and without hepatitis (at least I hope) we wait for our cab to take us back to Krabi for our flight to Bangkok. One more brief night in Bangkok and we fly home. Three and a half weeks has felt to be entirely too much time in Thailand, as well as not nearly enough. How that's possible escapes me.
I would return to Thailand if given the opportunity. The people alone are wonderful and represent their country with great pride and hospitality. The cuisine is outstanding, the beaches beautiful, and the mountains captivating. There is a little something for everyone in Thailand, and I highly recommend you find that something for yourself.