Molotovs, cocks, White Hat Lady and jetski’s

We have become accustomed, back home to petrol stations that now sell all manner of sweets, sandwiches, sausage rolls par baked and sprayed with WD 40, greetings cards, newspapers, pornography, charcoal, cigarettes and CD’s by artists who may have had a record in the top 40 in 1985 and who have since been cruising the world’s oceans, crooning at fat Americans.
In Thailand, petrol is sold differently. In Cha-Am, for instance, there is one petrol station, which is a self service dispenser at the road side where you pull up, insert your card and fill your motorbike tank while the engine is running.
Apart from this, there are many many street vendors selling glass bottles of petrol, in racks in the midday 35c heat, next to the beer and coke and newspapers and squids being grilled on charcoal, just like Molotov cocktails racked up. Young children crash their motorcycle into the curb, finish their phone conversation, throw a sea creature on the barbie with one hand whilst filling their tank with the other. A western health and safety officer would certainly be so purple with rage that he would evaporate in minutes.
There is no phrase in our Thai phrase book that translates as hey don’t you think that’s asking for trouble? If there were I wouldn’t have had the basil and chilli curry. 

The sun in Thailand is much closer than back home and hovers around sixty feet above the beach and I don’t care what Brian Cox says.
Because of this we have been pleased not to have burned or melted every day. Yesterday however we were a bit more reckless and sat outside of the shadow of the parasol. I swam for hours and did something I’m not normally given to, I sunbathed. We both now have Norwegian tans that give off an eerie pink glow after sundown, except for the creases across my belly that didn’t receive the uv’s and give a zebra skin aspect.

After a full week’s worth of microwaving we took a walk to the fishing village down the coast a bit where we photographed men wading into the surf and casting weighted nets over small schools of small fish, pulling in ten or fifteen at a time. We were careful not to get in the way and they didn’t seem to mind us and when we left I smiled and they answered with a deep bow and a big grin. They really are lovely lovely people. We carried on down to see the harbour where the boats which had been out all day about a mile offshore were landing boxes of creatures of the deep. We were the only westerners around and just wondered around smiling at people, it just gets to be a habit.
On the way we went to see a big white six armed Buddha and photographed him too, but on the way back, set just back from the path we came across a monument to an ancient warrior king who’d fought the Burmese back in 14something. There was a statue on a plinth surrounded by 200 brightly painted plaster cocks, or roosters, and I bet you’d got the wrong end of the stick then didn’t you? The biggest of these were bigger even than Foghorn Leghorn, eight feet tall or so! We photographed the massive cocks too.

A very useful phrase is mai ben rai, and it’s a polite way of saying ‘no, thank you, I do not wish to buy a fruit bowl shaped like an elephant, or a lenticular of a fish jumping, or another big bag of fruit, we already have more pineapple than I will ever eat in a lifetime,or pay to be dragged along behind a jetski straddling inflatable banana, or an ankle bracelet, and it usually works very well. Yesterday however, the lady was very smiley and lovely and Nel now has an ankle bracelet and a wrist bracelet which she didn’t really want but which she now points at whilst saying mai ben rai to others who want to sell ankle bracelets to her. That was the hardest sell we’ve had but even so, she had such a lovely smile, Nel got suckered.

Every day on the beach White Hat Lady comes by selling fruit, a pineapple, which she chops up very proficiently with a very sharp knife and skewers on wooden sticks, mangosteen, lychees, tiny bananas and oranges. You buy from me, White Hat Lady! She’s lovely too and today I bought grapefruit as well, which came supplied with a bag of sugar, chopped chillies and salt. Well we were willing to try. I am not willing to try again. It was the sugar, the chillies and the salt that spoiled it for me. Especially the salt.

Thai people are, almost without exception, slim and elegant, and the fattest man we have seen so far was falling off his motorcycle, one of those with a steel frame welded on, it may have been a taxi. We heard a crash, looked round and it had fallen over. We didn’t see whether it had been moving or whether he’d just tipped it over when he’d got in but he ended up on the floor with it on his head. Several people lifted it off him and he was fine but we’ve been warned not to get involved, especially don’t call an ambulance or you may have to pay for it.

Weirdly coincidental.
We bought some little speakers to plug into the phone so we have tinny music in our room and yesterday morning I put Kirsty MaColl, Tropical Brainstorm on and then later I was swimming about 100 feet out when a jetski came at me. I swam out of its path but he seemed to steer at me. I was waving my arms and just about to dive under when he saw me. Luckily they stop very quickly and he grinned at me. I don’t know whether he was buzzing me or just didn’t see me.
The worst of it was that I was emptying sand from my shorts, which were round my knees. It would be an undignified end, that.

Right, just going to see if the ice is melting. Oh no, that’s back home. What I meant to say was, just going for a swim in the warm warm ocean

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One thought on “Molotovs, cocks, White Hat Lady and jetski’s

  1. Hey guy’s….sounds amazing….think I’ll just stick to sugar on my grapefruit though…Shouldn’t be laughing…but got a mental picture in my head of Andy’s face when being confronted by a jetski whilst removing the sand from shorts…..:)

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