In all honesty, I would rather rub creosote into my skin than suntan lotion. Suntan lotion is smelly, oily, sticky, coconutty and horrible, and your wife makes you rub it on her back. Women seem to enjoy rubbing lotions and creams and oils and all manner of cosmetics into their skins. This in the belief that a rucksack bulging and straining full of Boots the chemist will bestow immortality upon their skin whilst shortening the life of the man, straining and puffing and having strokes under a bright blue rucksack. And all this before a day sitting under the sun, which reputable scientists tell us is very very bad for the skin and ages you into a leathery thing like a bacon rasher with whisps of smoke coming from your hair.
Suntan lotion makes your shorts stick to your legs and your t shirt stick to your arms. It makes sand stick to you, everywhere, and also insects, twigs, pigeons, kites, fluff and parasols. Worst of all though, it attracts sharks. Last year there were 75 recorded shark attacks, all of them on people wearing suntan lotion, I expect.
Sharks have even been known to thrust themselves out of the surf and take oily sunbathers in the same way as crocodiles take dogs and cats and cows, lying in wait just below the surface of the water with just their eyes and blowhole showing.
Sharks also run on electric which they find using special organs located on their fins. Using these special organs they can home in on people electric which they get by eating their legs, and this is even more devious than having noses which can smell blood from up to a thousand miles away, I expect.
A shark can sniff a grazed knee from over a million miles away and, using electric fins, swim so fast that you don’t have time to get out of the ocean before they have bitten your knee off and swum away with it
I am a strong and powerful swimmer, I imagine. I also imagine that my strong, powerful strokes are propelling me at thirty knots, laughing with the dolphins, teasing turtles, outrunning sharks and barracudas – which are the pointiest fish in all the oceans.
I’ve been practicing front crawl like I remember my dad used to try to teach me, and I imagine that I am slicing through the water like Ian Thorpe, in world record smashing times. I imagine.
Then I stand up and realise that I have moved six feet in twenty minutes and have thrashed the water so thoroughly that for a sixty foot radius, the ocean is standing in stiff peaks like beaten egg whites.
This afternoon I woke with a hangover in 33c temperature with the aircon not running. This is a serious condition and, with sweat gushing from every pore, I stared at the aircon unit to mend it. Frustratingly, this didn’t work and I was stumped as to what to do next. All my best efforts exhausted, I had no choice other than to get out of bed and poke it. Frustratingly, this didn’t work either and I was forced to get dressed.
On the way out to the restaurant for coffee and banana pancakes, we told the girl on reception that the aircon wasn’t working. She didn’t understand what we were trying to tell her, so we took her to the room to demonstrate how it wasn’t working. Oh, she said and pushed the on switch. The girl’s a genius.
The reason for the hangover was that we went out to a bar last night. We’d met a 78 year old Scots man and his 30 year old fiance in the restaurant a couple of nights before and they’d invited us along on Thursday, when there would be music.
We have seen a brilliant young band in one of the bars on the seafront three times now. They are all excellent musicians and the girl singer is willowy and beautiful even by Thai standards. Kev told us they are called Black Rose, which probably sounds better in Thai than in English. Some things just don’t translate nicely. For example, it seems that the hotel where we are stopping is a family business and reception is normally manned by two girls who are usually ironing sheets, or scrubbing the tiled floor, or watching tv (television). One of these girls has a tiny baby. When K&J were here last week, they asked the baby’s name, she is called Honey, I don’t remember the Thai word but the closest translation in English, Kev told us, is bee water, and we have no reason to disbelieve him.
Ice translates literally as hard water. The Urgent Food on the menu, we guess, is fast food. Still nobody can tell me what fried yellow powder is.
Anyway, the singer with Black Rose, the beautiful willowy girl has a great voice and they did a brilliant heavy cover of The Cranberries song, In Your Head, this girl all the while doing kooky little dances and chattering and giggling between numbers.
They also did a heavy cover of Gangnam Style and a young bloke came out of the audience to sing hip-hop style, dressed in rapper bling. Great fun! We were the only white people there and when we left, the other singer, a young bloke, bowed to us and thanked us in English with a big beaming smile.
The music in the bar last night was a bit more sedate for a mainly older, mainly English expat crowd and were a Philippine couple with keyboard and backing music, cruise ship style, doing Gloria Gaynor and Robbie Williams and Boney M.
Everyone enjoyed themselves enormously and the expats we were talking and drinking with invited us along tonight for the end of the world, with rock and roll. We are looking forward to it.
As far as I can ascertain, nobody knows what time the world is going to end, but it is a certainty that it will end today. With this in mind, I rushed through my morning ablutions. Nobody wants to meet their maker whilst sitting on the toilet and I was relieved to get it out of the way before the big bang, or the sun goes out, or the world is eaten, or whatever. And so, feeling minty fresh, we went for breakfast.
We have seen many many things that are strange and curious to our western perspective. Hospitals that work efficiently and quickly, where you are seen within five minutes of arriving and where you are charged less than eight pounds for a rabies jab instead of the fifty pounds we were charged for each of the six jabs we now know were unnecessary before we came. We’ve seen cuttlefish on sticks, pigs faces on barbeques, human kindness and generosity, and this morning, a dog with a crash helmet. A pink one. He was trotting along with a look of pride and joy on his face and a pink motorcycle helmet by the chin strap in his teeth. Look at that! He probably said when he put it down by where his mate was sleeping. Look what I found! Don’t know what it is but it’s shiny, and pink!