We’re sort of getting into a sort of routine. I wake up and go sit outside smoking, and writing nonsense, and being bitten by mosquitoes, and wait for Nel’s alarm to go off at nine.
She will wake and then go back to sleep and a while later I’ll wake her again, and she’ll get up.
I’ll put anti histamine cream on the bites I’ve just got from being outside smoking, and then go outside for a cigarette and to feed the mosquitoes again.
And then, an hour later when Nel has done all the mysterious things that women do in bathrooms that would take a bloke under twenty seconds to do, we’ll put on our swim stuff under our skirt, or shorts, in Nel’s case, pack our bag, fetch the little Honda and head off for breakfast at the cafe club.
A refreshing glass of water at the cafe club in Thailand comes with chillies
I don’t know what makes it a club rather than just a cafe or restaurant but literal translations don’t often work and it’s hard not to laugh when you read a menu that advertises gizzards, or fish with nothin inside it, or urgent food.
T shirts are often hilarious too, Jayne said that mostly they don’t understand what’s written on them, which is a good thing or their mothers would never let them go out wearing it.
We saw a girl in Bang Pon who was probably about twelve wearing a shirt that had the title of the Dead Kennedy’s song Too Drunk To F— on it, and she was just going about her business as though there was nothing at all even mildly obscene blazed on her back in four inch day glo letters. We saw a man with “I heart my wife” on his t shirt and I’m sure he wouldn’t have been wearing it if he’d known how horribly twee it made him look to anyone who can read English. Or maybe his wife makes him wear it.
Choose lard! And Funny Soup were another couple, they just seem to be two or more English words chosen arbitrarily by a random word generating machine.
This seems to be the method used by the advertising agencies too.
We were in the cafe club last night for dinner, and, after the power came back on and we’d all put away the little torches on our phones, the tv was promoting some kind of football game between two English teams who I presume wear red.
It was advertised as RED WAR! I mean, you can see what they’re getting at but it’s a bit histrionic isn’t it?
These are subtle tonal differences that come from a very slightly imperfect translation.
What made us laugh though were the sponsors of RED WAR! that an unsubtle announcer shouted, with an accompanying company logo that zoomed at you from the screen. YAMAHA! Zoom! Yamaha company logo! CHANG BEER! Zoom! The elephant logo!
Ok, it’s football, red wars! Yamaha and Chang beer, both appropriately macho.
Then, EURO CUSTARD CAKE! Zoom! And a yellow smiley face. What? Euro custard cake? What in gods name is that?
So, on the way to dinner.
We were motocrossing down the track that leads to town avoiding hitting the speed bumps.
Speed bumps! As though there’s a safety issue with people speeding, and not with people banging down a four inch deep hole in the road, engine guard smashing on the concrete, or the road just crumbling away underneath your wheels, and actually, now I think about it the speed bumps are mostly crumbling away as well, and are places where the dingos hang around late at night, waiting for someone to have the road collapse beneath them so it can eat his face off. It’s health and safety gone mad!
So, we were motocrossing along on the way to eat.
There are two things you should be aware of on a scooter in Thailand. Your mirror for one, and your other mirror for the other one.
This is because although you believe in your very soul that you are travelling at a speed which is just about as fast as you should go to still be able to avoid holes, and spot speed bumps and dingos.
You might know absolutely that you’re being safe and sensible and you really really don’t want to split yours, and your wives knees open on a jaggedy concretey bear trap, and then a ninety year old lady will come by on the inside, expressionless and holding a six month old baby, and be transporting a fridge on the back of her Honda 70 too!
There is also the ‘wait for it to look like an accident is inevitable’ rule, which comes into play when you have made eye contact with a bloke on a tiny Honda with a frame and a vat of boiling oil welded to it, so you know, you know without a doubt that he’s seen you and that he won’t do anything that might be in the least dangerous, cos he’s got a vat of boiling oil on the seat next to him with a lighted barbeque under it and probably a small baby too, then at the precise moment that it becomes too late to take avoiding action, when you’re a foot away from him say, only then will he pull out in front of you.
These things happen several times a day, but, careful as I am, nothing had prepared me for a hippo in the road.
There was a bin overturned, one of the big ones, and I clocked it straight away, so I slowed right down and checking my mirrors, moved out around it. All’s well.
It was a stretch of road that was unlit by any houses or street lighting at all, and, out of the darkness, surprisingly, a hippo loomed.
Only it wasn’t a hippo, it was the twenty ton pig we’d seen the day before, a black pig, in the road, in the dark. Bloody hell!
He seemed to bear us no ill will and it was too late to stop, or go to another island, so we passed without incident, unless you’d call soiling myself an incident.
There was a family a couple of hundred yards away coming in our direction and so we stopped. I know for certain I wouldn’t want to come face to face with an almost invisible hippo pig in the dark without warning, and so we tried to tell them.
They spoke no English and the father tried to ignore us, but the mother was obviously moved by our excited condition as we made wide arms and oink noises.
Hoping that our mix of semaphore add hippopig impressions had prepared them we carried on our way. We imagined them encountering the hippopig and it suddenly becoming clear what we were trying to tell them.
“Ah, of course, this must be what they were trying to tell us with their oink oink, the twenty ton hippopig. Now I see”
We’ve not seen them since.
As we arrived in town the lights went out.
Koh Samet high street in a power cut
Kev and Jayne had told us that this happens fairly regularly. I don’t really understand how it doesn’t happened quite, or even very regularly, when a bird lands on any one of the thousands of strands of cables stretched between lampposts for instance.
It was ok though, it wasn’t a black out or anything, so we spotted a small gap into which I could park, if I moved a scooter out of the way slightly.
Nel couldn’t lift the back end so I got off and asked her to hold the little Honda for a moment.
Well, she held the throttle, and moved it slightly, and it took off into the kerb taking her with it.
The bike and Nel fell sideways, hard.
Luckily only a couple of bruises to Nel and no damage to the bike cos they would have stung us for that I expect.
Nel, with the Honda the right way up
The lights came on as we were our food arrived, which was lucky. It’s best to be forewarned and you can’t spot the chillies easily by candlelight.
Another rabid dingo
One of a lovely pair of puppies we saw on the beach has a bit of a lie down after polishing off a tray of drinks.