Bits of concrete I hate, a ‘brown smell’, Francesco’s guitar, a green snake and a pretty dress

Leaving aside the many exuberantly  superfluous speed bumps which I have already talked about, another piece of concrete I hate is the sand slippery ascent to where the Reggae Bar stands. Here, a clenchingly frightening climb, riven with deep cracks rewards the careful rider with the opportunity to bounce off a foot wide boulder, set into the road and worn to a smooth glossiness by many years of Hilux tyres and motorcyclists knees, and faces.
With sheer luck, the first time, and foreknowledge the second, you will negotiate this obstacle and bump down the four inch kerb that marks the point where the concrete finishes. It doesn’t seem to have been designed this way, just sort of slumped into it.
In many ways the baked mud road is preferable to the concrete, it certainly looks less hard, but this is a comfort only to the degree of being allowed to choose the colour of the bullets, were you to face a firing squad.
Daily, the reasonably stable mud surface is comprehensively sprayed with water, we assume to keep the dust down. And to provide an extra dimension of slippery excitement.
This eccentric collection of potholes and dry stream bed left from the wet season is the only route down to the beaches and is where the Hilux taxis come into their own. The scooter rider must meanwhile pick and creep around the holes and the many hundreds of sharp, fist sized granite rocks that are set into the surface. And usually dodging approaching Hilux taxis, quad bikes, and old ladies on scooters with a child, and a fridge.
A couple of days back, we were heading to town when we heard a bike behind us. Pulling over, we were overtaken by three boys on a bike, one of them yelling and waving a stick. Happy to let them by, we were then overtaken by another three boys chasing them, on a bend with a bike coming towards us. They swerved, just avoiding us and the oncoming bike with nothing but luck and maybe Buddha on their side.
On the way down to one of the beaches we regularly bum on, there is another broken tangle of concrete slabs, and this one has the additional exciting enhancement of many of the steel reinforcing rods poking from the surface.


This is a steeper descent than you can tell

On the way there, we pass along a section of road which has a strong brown smell. There, a ditch has been dug, exposing various diameters of blue pipes carrying various diameters of brown water.
Why this hellish cat’s cradle has been excavated is anybody’s guess, but nobody seems to be in very much of a hurry to bury it again.
Another of my least favourite bits of concrete is down by the pier, where the boats come in. There, a hole was repaired by throwing a sandbag into it, vastly improving your odds of falling off your bike instead of just bouncing down a hole.

In Romeo’s the other night, Francesco played us an album by a band he was in during the nineties. They’d had some success, as support to various bigger Italian bands, touring and partying. We talked about music and the next evening he bought his acoustic guitar out after the other diners had left except for a table of Thais who were drinking a bottle of whisky.
It didn’t take me long to break the top e string and two picks but he had some more strings.
The tiny waiter, Ny remained convinced that we were actors, Torm told us, and even though she’d told him that we’re not, he said that maybe we just didn’t want people to know we are actors on holiday, and he kept taking sneaky pictures of us.
After replacing the string I’d broken, one of the Thai blokes sang a few songs. The Thai table were then asking Torm if I am a famous musician.
Honestly, I know I’ve mentioned this before, but they think you’re a singer if you can get to within a crochet of a couple of semi tones towards the right note, and I wonder if this is anything to do with it being a tonal language. If the tone changes the meaning of the words it surely has out of tune built in, either that or the words wouldn’t make any sense.
We’ve noticed that Thai people can communicate over distances. Here on the beach a few evenings ago, a bloke in a little fishing boat a couple of hundred feet off shore was talking to his friend on the beach and they barely raised their voices at all.
Well, anyway, we had a lovely old time of it at the restaurant and the next day Torm mailed us some pictures that Ny had taken.
Ny was sure that we were actors. We in turn were sure that he was a boy. It turns out that he’s not, which explains why he looks so young. Francesco had told us that he is the boyfriend of the cook, who we all agreed looks older than him. It’s all a bit confusing for us.


While I was playing ‘Knees Up Mother Brodie’ the Crazy World of Arthur Brown was happening behind me.

We were down on Nuan beach yesterday, which we are calling the ‘Gay Bay’ now for reasons I shan’t bother to go into. We were reading – well there’s not much else to do apart from swimming, when a bit of a sandy commotion broke out. I looked up to see startled people scattering and jumping away from a meter long green snake that was making its way quite quickly across the sand. Of course it wasn’t dangerous, possibly, but there were a lot of people who weren’t going to give it the benefit of doubt and I don’t imagine I would have, had it slithered across my beach towel, to be honest.
The green snake quickly slithered up a tree on the beach and a small crowd of people quickly gathered to stare at it. Fair enough, you don’t see them on the beach in Cornwall.


What crabs do when you’re not looking.

The people who own this place have got out of the high speed internet game and instead have gone into inflatable turtles. If you’re wondering if you just read that right, I’m wondering if I just wrote it right, but yes, I did.
Where they used to keep computers, in the son’s bedroom, there is now a cheery display of blow up turtles and rings and buckets and spades and sunglasses. They’re also selling dresses, and the mother was sorting through them when we went out the other night. She held one up to Nel as we walked by, so she bought it and put it on. This pleased the lady very much, who said ‘pretty dress’, which is as much English as we’ve heard her speak since we’ve been here.
Even the father smiled and made a comment when we came out. That was nice


One thought on “Bits of concrete I hate, a ‘brown smell’, Francesco’s guitar, a green snake and a pretty dress

  1. Talking about the roads in Thailand – one of our Thai friends said that when he was younger he was travelling, at quite a high speed along a main highway. They then got onto the start of a bridge that was in construction but with no bollards or anything to stop or warn them. He said it just went totally silent in the car and seemed like time had slowed down as they had no time to stop and flew off the top at about 2 metres off the ground before landing on the road. They remarkably were not harmed, only the car took damage and they were understandably shook up. Only in Thailand 😉

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