Last night the world didn’t end any more than it does any other night. In fact, during my lifetime, I can not remember a single evening when the world has ended. There have been many evenings when it has felt that way but this normally passes in a couple of hours.
We missed this non event in a bar where the Philippine couple were playing. This time their son, who is about 6 was with
them playing a pretend guitar. We guessed this was him starting his apprenticeship, following in his father’s footsteps.
In Thailand, apart from the many millions of motor scooters, you see the odd Harley Davidson ridden by large men with facial hair and black t shirts.
When we arrived, the bar was full of huge Norwegian bikers. Magnificent men, all of them handsome and scary. We walked over to where we recognized a couple we’d spoken with the night before and sat down at a couple of spare barstools. There was a huge and magnificent Norwegian biker talking to his friend nearby and, turning around he spotted us, me in a pink shirt, and he bellowed hello. We said hello back and he came over with a hand thrust forward to shake hands and introduced himself before asking if we are married and whether Nel would like to go back with him. I said it was unlikely, sorry to be awkward and apologized for being married, adding that perhaps he’d like to ask Nel.
Only joking! He bellowed. Yes I know I told him. We got on tremendously well, sharing cigarettes and having my ribs good naturedly cracked every time he slapped me on the back with massive Nordic mirth and massive Nordic hands.
He went on to tell us that he had lymphoma, leukemia and bone marrow cancer, and that he’d refused chemo three years ago, preferring Chinese treatment. He seemed to be doing well on it.
Nel danced the night away with her new best friend, Joy, a lovely Thai woman and a whole bunch of Nordic goddesses.
We spoke with a chap from Evesham way and his lovely Thai/Chinese wife who he’d met in a Thai restaurant in England. She is a lawyer and told us that we should report Nel’s dog bite to the police, who would come to take it to an island sanctuary for soi dogs where it can bite no more ankles. It wouldn’t surprise me if such a thing exists in Thailand, but she may have been telling us that to make us feel better.
Nel has just told me that the stuff about the dog island is really true, the Thai lady had been there, and there’s a bridge with a gate and vets visit to treat the sick ones. It’s a retirement village for naughty dogs.
Last night I ordered the fried chicken with lemongrass, supposing, naturally enough, that it would be fried chicken with lemongrass on it, not that the lemongrass would be fried as well. When it came, it looked like a bonfire on a plate and I poked it gently around with my forkanspoon.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not really that interested in food. I eat when I’m hungry and stop when I’ve had enough and, apart from a good curry, food really doesn’t really float my boat. I hav no interest whatever in spending two or three hours talking about how good the steak is, or the way the vegtables have been prepared, or what makes a spaghetti sauce good, or how good the restaurant down the road is and I would cheerfully pour Bolognese over the head of anyone who discusses the food further than ‘this is nice’, and, ‘how’s yours? Alright is it?’
But, and trust me on this, fried lemongrass is absolutely the best tasting thing it is possible to put in your mouth. And that’s it, I refuse to discuss it any further, and if you contradict me I will come around and burn your house down.
When the tide goes out, many thousands of tiny bubble crabs emerge from tiny holes in the sand and begin sifting the sand in their tiny mouths with tiny pincers. They deposit many many hundreds of tiny balls of sand in fanned patterns.
In places the sand for hundreds of meters around is tiny balls 5mm across and alive with tiny sand coloured crabs scuttling backwards and forward to their burrow.
They must think that we walk sideways.
Dennis is a character from a film. Well he should be. A five foot three 78 year old Scotsman who spent most of his life at sea in the merchant navy or in jail in Britain, the Philippines and Romania and was the sole survivor of the explosion on a coal ship from Auckland because he’d got drunk in a bar and met a woman and the ship left without him. His mates didn’t tell because they knew he was enjoying himself and that he’d get a train around the coast and join in a couple of days, which he did, arriving at the shipping office not knowing that the coal gas on ship had exploded and all 17 onboard were lost at sea.
His fiance is Joy, a lovely lovely 35 year old Thai woman and she calls him papa, or ‘somebody’
We met them in a bar and then bumped into them on the beach and went out for dinner with them and after that, for a few drinks and I laughed so hard at his stories that my head hurt.
Like the one about another time he’d got so drunk in Romania that he’d sold all of his clothes not realizing that his passport was in the pocket of his jacket and, wearing a Russian uniform way too big for him could not get back into the port or explain what had happened. This time the ship wouldn’t sail without him because of some Romanian maritime law, and there’d been a roll call.
He told us that he wandered around the black sea port the name of which I can’t remember, for a couple of days trying to find somebody who could speak English and explain to the port authorities why he needed to be allowed in and why he was wearing a Russian uniform and had no British passport.
And about the copper mine he’d worked in central Australia on his own that turned out to be worth many millions but he only had a camel and couldn’t transport it.
Or the time he was put in Durham prison for three months for knocking a policeman’s hat off, which he swore was an accident, but the judge thought he was taking the piss and told him to stand to address him. The poor bloke is so short only his eyes were showing over the dock.
I was sobbing with laughter and slapping the table. He’s the kind of man who you could listen to for hours and hours.
Yesterday his lovely young fiance Joy refused to go into the sea, saying oooooooh, beautiful white skin, and rubbing Nel’s arm and rubbing her own beautiful skin, saying she was ugly.
She taught Nel Thai while I was giggling with Dennis and she half spoke and half mimed that when they had first met he was wearing cut off jeans so low he was indecent and he had holes in his flip flops.
Dennis has lived in Australia for over 40 years and loves gardening bare footed which left his feet very hard and rough. Joy spent an hour on each foot, somewhere he told us he himself refuses to go because they look like they’d been chewed by a dog,
Joy also was joyous company, sharp and funny, and smiling and laughing and looking after the money and not letting us pay for food or drink or taxi.
The more he drank the more she’d say ‘no honeymoon tonight!’ Dennis pulled a comic face ‘oooh I teach you too much English, not teach you anymore!’
We all know about Thai hostess bars and we’ve been in bars where men go to be flattered and fawned over and have their money taken from them, but we also see many men with Thai women of about the same age who have children and married lives, here or back in Britain and seem happy together.
Well, despite the age difference, Dennis and Joy laugh and giggle and share everything, and he wants to take her home to Australia where he has daughters.
He sidestepped the issue when I asked how many times he’d been married. Joy told us she’s the last and he clutched his chest dramatically saying ‘I know! My heart, my heart!’
We’d both said when we met them the first time that they seemed genuinely happy in each other’s company and we wish them health and happiness and many more years together