Ao Nuan, Nel attacked by tiny lizard, a bloated pig and Papa Roger’s Bar

Lou Reed once wrote about his perfect day being one in which he drank Sangria in the park and fed animals in the zoo.
This song, appropriately called Perfect Day, has been widely interpreted as alluding in a romanticized way to his heroin addiction. I don’t know.
I can say, however that my only experience of morphine was in the back of an ambulance with a broken leg and it made me feel very, very sick.
Had Angelina Jolie been the ambulance driver, and she’d stopped on the way to the hospital to give me mouth to mouth and a neck rub, and then, after fixing my broken leg, taken me out for a cold beer and paid for a hotel room for the night it would still not be a perfect day as far as I’m concerned.
Not now, not since I have spent the day on a beach called Ao Nuen with my wife, who is much better than Angelina Jolie anyhow.
We ate banana pancakes with honey and proper good coffee for breakfast in town, which is a perfect breakfast, better even than cow pat moo. And then we buzzed up here down rutted dirt tracks on our little Honda.
This particular beach can’t be reached by the road so you have to walk a short way over a rocky path. The reason for this, I feel sure, is so that you don’t miss the view from the approach. That’s how I’d have designed it anyway, if I was god and I was in a generous mood.
The sand is the perfect white, and the exactly right coarseness that has the perfect softness underfoot and doesn’t hang in suspension in the shallow water and get in your shorts. This is a nice touch.
The ocean is exactly the right distance away, and the breakers are exactly the right height, interval, and sound, volume and pitch.
The water is exactly the right temperature, just far enough below ambient to feel invigorating for a moment, and then like a velvety caress.
The trees behind the beach are a perfect blend of colours and textures, and the sun, mindful of our pale zebra tanned completions, spends the exactly right time behind the fluffy clouds so we don’t burn, and there aren’t too many people here.
Who doesn’t love to see a lovely pair of puppies on the beach? I know I do. There was even that, the cute little scamps.
And in the distance, just out to sea a  mile or so, a Thai navy ship ready to despatch a troop of kick boxer marines to punch encroaching sharks, or swearing Englishmen with bottles of beer, I expect.
And Nel just pointed out to me an elderly gentleman sitting making an elaborate sandcastle. He might be doing it for his own amusement but it made us laugh too.

When we came back from the beach yesterday to shower before dinner, our house gecko was relaxing on the side of the bin. So, after taking some close up photographs, I picked up the bin so we could gawp at it more.
House geckos enjoy being upside down by the light fitting, where they can lunch on the insects which like to play by the lamplight and so I didn’t think that he would be too disturbed by lifting him to head height. Apparently he didn’t like it very much at all because, with no warning, he launched himself at Nel, little arms outstretched. Nel launched herself backwards away from him, her little arms outstretched and the poor little feller hit the tiles with a tiny slap and a shocked expression on his little face, I imagine.
Nel blamed me, which was fair enough, seeing as how it was my fault.
Or was it? It may be another illustration of the anger she seems to arouse in animals. Hm.


Our bin gecko

Happily, we have found that there are affordable restaurant around and we had a lovely slap up nosh at the Coffee House, where we had banana pancakes with honey this morning. Oodles of noodles with peanuts, spicy pork and a Thai salad, which is cabbage and bean shoots and possible carrots, garlic, onion, more peanuts to make it all yummy and crunchy and the hottest chilli, ground up with rice vinegar and soy sauce.  Salad! What? You wouldn’t want that with cheese and pickles I tell you. It’s like having a salad, but force fed to you with a hot poker.

On the way back from the beach yesterday, we walked past Roger’s Bar.
A tall, camp, neatly bearded man dressed in purple vest and loon pants invited us in. “Welcome to Papa Roger’s byoootifulbar” he slurred, with an expansive gesture and a European accent.
“We have luxury seating, for you madam” looking at Nel and indicating the plastic seats on the pavement. “And for you sir “he said looking at me, “the economy class, I think” gesturing to the plastic seats off the pavement and in the road. He smiled, camply. We assumed this man to be Papa Roger. 
We’ll be back later, we said, and we were, after stopping to take a picture of an enormous pig, he must have weighed easily ten tons.


An enormous pig. No idea where he came from but he’d gone an hour later, perhaps to the beach where he could pass unnoticed amongst the tourists

Sat on the pavement, and I didn’t ask for this upgrade, Papa Roger came to ask our order. We asked for two large Leos, “alas, everything in my bar is small” said Papa Roger with theatrical sadness, and lifting the bag he wears around his waist, thrust his groin obscenely before walking off to get our beers.
At Papa Roger’s you are expected to keep a tally of how many beers you have had. Papa Roger will help, and you will reach an agreement at the end of the evening.
This is a stupid idea, plainly, and often results in people paying for beers they haven’t had because they will feel guilty should they not be absolutely sure and will add on another one to cover it.
We were talking to an interesting man from Carlisle who told us that the night before, Papa Roger had gone out, so you were expected to collect your money after serving yourself, which is not as good service as a massage in the toilet.
The man from Carlisle had been to Cambodia and Vietnam, which he could not recommend highly enough. He’d done something called the Easy Rider tour, which involves a pillion ride through Vietnam.
His friend was the naive hapless type, and told hilarious stories about getting drunk and giving all his money away in Bangkok.
We also had a good time laughing with a bunch of Finnish men.
One of them wanted to find a Thai girl. His friends mocked him uproariously, suggesting he might like to try for a boy in Africa instead.


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