Heading south over the Gulf of Thailand. Its exciting just to be able to say that. From Utapao International Airport which has to be the smallest airport I have ever flown out of, only two fights per day. A motley collection of fellow passengers and sorry to say most of them are sexpats from the fleshpots of Pattaya, with their young girlfriends. Two of them are huge roughnecks from the oil fields of North Dakota who I would not care to meet on a dark night, the girlfriends, tiny. There are a couple of families, two Swiss guys who seem a bit hungover and pale, that’s about it. Me of course, Kinda Blue, after saying bye bye to such a friendly family I am lost for words.
Notes From A Small Island. (Sorry Bill Bryson)
You may remember I fell in with a group of people on the ferry over to Samet and we all got together, every day I think. I found a fellow computer/gadget nerd in the Tim from the south of England, we may have bored the pants off the others but tried to geek out only when the others were away. His fiancé, Danielle, or Binnzey, was always bundles of Yorkshire laughs and what would we have done without her to figure out the balances of the dinner check.
They left for the jungles of the north and it was just five, admittedly one was eight months and another three years, but sure as …… we were five. Luca the Dad, who turned out to be a qualified Doctor, not a med student at all, announced we would rent a scooter, a scooter, not two, just one. After running into the back of a bus with my first born in utero I have a mild fear of two wheeled machines. But he seemed to have the situation under control and, after all, he was a Doctor. He picked me up from my hotel and we sped down to the southern tip of the island where he had dropped off Julie, Mom, and Paulina, eight month old, earlier. A pretty cove with an ok resort, painted villas in multi colors, nice food for lunch, not expensive, nothing is, then some package tour visitors from a small island off the North coast of Europe arrived, we left. Making our way North again I thought Luca was joking, but no, we were all five on the scooter. Amalie kept us all in the right mood, ie fearless, by giggling infectiously every time the driver beeped, which he did frequently. We were quite a sight. There are photos to prove it. We wended (?) our way up the coast, found a French resort, found a Russian resort and found one where we were not allowed to enter, $2,000 per night for the least expensive room and on up from there. How nuts is that.
Finally the eight month old (Paulina) announced she was done with such uncomfortable accommodations, so we dropped her off by the side of the road with Julie for a bit of a feed and proceeded to the next resort. Amalie and I were dropped at the gate while Luca went back to retrieve the rest of his family. Walking down the steep hill into the resort it suddenly struck me, ok, this is fine, looking after a three year old, but I don’t speak any German! It was fine though, she delighted in the fish pools, we made finger food out of sand, I bought her an ice cream and all was right with the world. The others caught up and we indulged in sundowner cocktails and I played the idiot with the setting sun. Back then later to the beach where we had found an eminently convenient restaurant where they threw blankets on the sand, put a table on top and served dinner. Perfect for small people, perfect too if one wished to indulge in the local hootch (rum), not too far to fall.
We had some moments, actually lots of moments. Here’s one: my money belt got tangled up with the string that holds my swimmies up, under my shorts. I had to, as it were, peer, to untangle the mess.”Is everything ok Tim?” said Julie, hesitantly. Hilarity ensued and I could only reply “debatable”. Lots of moments, but then it was off on the speedboat ferry to the mainland, a short taxi ride to the airport and fly away. They are now spending six months looking after Burmese orphans up near the border, Julie at the school and Luca at the hospital. I wish them great success and hope to be able to cross paths with them again somewhere.