Kev told us, and we had no reason to disbelieve him, that there are no dangerous spiders in Thailand. By that I’m assuming he meant none that are venomous. However, the one that we saw yesterday would do some damage were its web to fail and were it to fall on your head.
It would no doubt fracture your skull.
A hand is a unit of measurement standardized today to 10.16cm and only used for the measurement of horses these days, not for spiders, and why this should be, I have no idea. I suppose that when people refer to a big spider as being ‘as big as my hand,’ they are alluding to the fact that a spiders legs look similar to the fingers on somebody’s hand to illustrate their hyperbole, and not the ancient system, which is based on the width of a human hand. Well this spider was as big as a horse. Well, certainly bigger than a pony, though not as big as a hippopig, which, as I have already said, weighs thirty tons, I imagine. This monstrous spider hung over the road to the beach on a web which was made from spider steel cables, many, many times stronger than the old hemp ropes, which is what they used to spin their webs from, using tiny spinning wheels which they keep up their arse. An Asian Coel is a big bird that might provide a tasty morsel for the giant Thai horse spider. It is also an excellent sound to use as an alarm tone. The famous Gow wow bird. Kev and Jayne found out what it is. In Thailand it is customary to take off your shoes before entering someone’s house, or the room you’re renting, or a shop. If there’s a pair of flip flops outside the door, or a pile, then it’s probably a good idea to take yours off too. Show some respect, you arse! However, in Cha Am there was a house/laundry/hotel where there had been little ramps installed to enable you to ride your motorcycle straight indoors. And a pile of flip flops outside. Another of the strange anomalous sights that we find really difficult to understand but no doubt is perfectly reasonable to Thai people. I expect that many of the things we see around us every day are not as they seem. Thai life is so different to ours. Thai houses are by no means similar to where Kev and Jayne live. They really are doing pretty bloody well by local standards where people might earn the equivalent of six pounds per day. Yes, of course they can live on that and eat far, far more cheaply than us but we’re spending that much on breakfast here. Somebody we were talking to who works in one of the car factories earns £1.60 an hour, and they work long hours. The blokes at the cafe club, where we eat often are there when we roll up for breakfast and they work til ten or eleven at night. They have got to be quite friendly towards us now, since we had a laugh about me completely mispronouncing ti kia buree kap when I was trying to ask for an ashtray, but it’s no wonder they’re less smiley here. Going on holiday is something they don’t understand culturally, except for the wealthy, obviously. We don’t really understand the sleeping arrangements either. Here, there’s a little room next door with a couple of computers you can use, for a fee, and two of the sons sleep in there, with the lights on. The proprietor of this place was asleep in front of the tv when we got back from the beach earlier, and I don’t mean curled up in a wing back chair with a mug of cocoa, I mean laid out on the tiled floor with his head on his hands. When we were at Cha Am we walked past the pavement shops at night time when they’d gone to bye byes and there might be a whole family in there behind a cotton sheet in a space the size of our bathroom. These are are people who have only gone to a seaside town temporarily with the purpose of setting up a shop on a pavement for a bit, to try to make some cash while the tourists are there. On the way from here to town we pass a small fishing community, where the hippopig lives, and people seem to live and sleep and eat on wooden platforms with a wooden roof over them. People often sleep outside. We saw this when Kev and Jayne’s neighbours had friends to stay over at new year, people slept outside on the patio, and it’s not a thing that only poorer people do because they have to, Jayne was telling us that one of her students, who are all the better off, was sleeping on the patio one night and woke to find a monitor lizard staring into her face. That would be scary. Last night we saw an ugly scene. We were in the island bar, where guitar boy works. Him, and the other bloke who works there give us big, goofy Thai smiles when we walk in. I think they’re brothers and the woman who sits behind the bar keeping score is their mother but Nel says not, she says she’s too young, but who’s Nel to say, being a grandmother and looking far too young to be? We were talking to a couple we’d just met, him a scouser and she from Glasgow, nice, interesting people, who, surprisingly, were the same height as us, he’s six two, six three, and she’s just five foot tall, exactly like me and Nel. I noticed this and asked them. That’s how I know, I don’t go around measuring people or anything like that. Anyway, I had my back to what was happening so I didn’t see a couple of men were getting nasty with a girl who works there. It’s not an underwear bar, but the girls will sit with single men and encourage them to spend their money, flirting and giggling at everything they say. They don’t pay us any attention except to smile hugely and say hello cos we’re a couple and it’s business. The two little fellers who work behind the bar clocked what was going on and went over to sit close. I didn’t notice any of this going on. Nel said that the Russian man was expecting the bar girl to go with him and when she said no he started to hit a little Englishman round the head. I didn’t know this was happening, being turned the other way, talking. Now the little Thai barmen were getting angry and asked them to leave, but these blokes were drunk, and stupid. The English man went outside and they followed him. I turned round in time to see the little Thai barman, who’s about 18, break the Russian’s nose, knocking him over backwards onto the road. He lay there for a while, then he regained consciousness and got up, his eyes both black and bloodied and his nose splattered across his face, and he went to put his arms round his friend. Not so hard now. Of course we didn’t want to see that, but he got what he deserved, and he really wasn’t expecting it. The police came and spoke with the little Thai bloke. We didn’t see what happened next but I suspect that they weren’t very sympathetic to the Russians. Really, you don’t want to mess with the Thai men, they’re all Bruce Lee’s. Kev and Jayne told us a story about a big German man who had come to Thailand with his big Harley Davidson, kicking the little scooters out of the way, thinking he was a hard man. He was killed in less than a week. Really, don’t piss off a Thai man. And then tonight we went to Romeo’s, a restaurant on the way into town managed by an Italian man, Francesco, and we spent the night talkin with a Russian couple whose names I can’t rember now an hour later. He’s a chemist and she’s a doctor. We felt bad because she doesn’t speak any English and we don’t speak any Russian. He speaks English well, but she was left out of the conversation. They looked Asian to us, being from the caucus region and they’d obviously worked hard to make a good life for themselves. We spoke about lots of things, but mostly politics, and I am proud to say that I am more socialist than a Russian man whose name I can’t remember. I only don’t remember his name because it was so foreign sounding to us, not because I’m not interested. It was very instructive and fascinating listening to his views and his impressions of the west. They were educated people and well travelled. His knowledge of his country’s history, and ours was astounding.
Fights often break out about who spotted the deck chair first
If you want a sophisticated ride without drawing too much attention to yourself.