Nel ordered the carbonara for dinner with chillies on it. She’s like that Nel is, and at home she will pour vinegar onto a steak pie. The smell of hot vinegar fills the room like mustard gas.
Tomato sauce is another favoured condiment, used to garnish everything from eggs on toast to a lovely juicy steak. But to ask a man from Milan to put chillies onto carbonara, well it broke his heart. We’ve become friends over the last couple of weeks but Nel pushed it a bit then, I’m afraid.
Francesco was biting his lip and fighting back tears, no doubt thinking of his mama and the dishonor he would be bringing to his family.
He’s not been the same since that day, Francesco, he’s a ghost of his former self and wanders the streets of Koh Samet muttering ‘carbonara’ and crying.
ARE YOU HAPPY NOW NEL! LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE TO FRANCESCO!
Later that evening, as Francesco sobbed into his beer, we noticed the cat that hangs around playing with something down by the roots of a tree so Nel went over to see what was occupying the cat’s attention. He’d caught a flying fish somehow and was flipping it back and forth. Well, it wasn’t a flying fish before the cat started tossing it around, it was a brown fish and we couldn’t figure out how it had caught it, we hadn’t seen the cat swimming, but we hadn’t seen the fish crawling either so we thought it must have pulled it out of a rock pool. We put it back in the ocean and then I felt sorry we’d taken the cat’s dinner but I wasn’t going to go find it another one, so live with it, cat.
Actually and amazingly, since writing this yesterday we went back to Romeo’s last night for dinner and the cat caught another fish the same as the night before. We were bemused by this, well maybe it was pulling them out of a rock pool but surely not even a cat is quick enough to catch small fish at night, so I looked it up online and it turns out that it is a crawling fish after all!
Well I’ll be bollicksd!
It was one of these!
Nel and Torm and Romeo, the Chihuahua
Yesterday we went over to the mainland again, ostensibly to go to the bookshop, but anything that’s a change from beach bummery is a welcome diversion. It has been humid lately, very humid and up in the thirties, we sat eating breakfast and sweating, you could watch your own shirt getting damper by the moment, but strangely it doesn’t seem to be clammy clingy sweat, and you never smell BO on people. Maybe it’s the diet but you just don’t seem to get whiffy, or maybe it’s that people just don’t tell you.
Anyway, we walked down to the market and bought a cold cold drink. Nel had orange juice and I, in a moment of uncharacteristic adventure, thought I might try the Chrysanthemum.
What was I thinking? I looked it up later and it was Chrysanthemum tea, poured over ice. It wasn’t very nice but at least I hadn’t taken pot luck with the ice cream.
As we sat drinking and sweating I read the list of ice creams available. Is a bean a legume? It’s certainly not an ice cream flavour. And it wasn’t like it was regrettable mistake in a moment of madness either, because after they’d made the red bean ice cream, someone must have thought they were on to a winner with the veggies and made black bean flavour too! When I get back I’m going to bring out a range of meat yogurts.
There was ‘Job’s Tears’, which I guessed is a biblical reference and not Steve Jobs, or maybe it is and it tastes of Apple. Haha!
But, and at the risk of overstating it now because I know I have made you aware of my dislike for the stuff, but there was Durian fruit flavour! Sweaty chicken corpse! My god, the inhumanity!
Many of the shops and taxis here have ‘no durian’ signs on the door. Why oh why would somebody eat something so obviously repellant that you’re not allowed to take it in a taxi or a bus?
Sunthorn Phu wrote the epic 30,000 line poem Phra Abhai Mani partly on Koh Samet. Apparently he started it in prison in around 1821, where he was incarcerated after after some kind of fight, and he completed it around twenty years later.
The story starts like this, and then I’ll tell you something weird…
It’s all about the adventures of two brothers, the first for who the work is named and the younger, called Sri Suvan.
Phra Abhai Mani has a magic flute which puts his brother and three friends to sleep and which attracts the attention of a sea monster giantess lady who takes on the form of a beautiful maiden and kidnaps him, taking him to her undersea cave against his will.
He has no choice but to acquiesce to her demands and they have a son between them.
Eventually, Phra Abhai Mani tells his son, Sin Samudr, that his mother is really a sea monster giantess who is keeping him against his will, and his son vows to help his father escape. This they accomplish with the help of a family of mermaids and flee to Koh Samet and the protection of a wise hermit and a hundred shipwrecked sailors from all nations, pursued by the evil and angry giant sea monster lady who wants her errant husband back.
Her evil angry sea storming, wind blowing powers are stayed by the wise old magic hermit but she continues to make a right nuisance of herself until Phra Abhai Mani, who has the magic flute remember, whips out the big guns and plays her a tune so soulful and beautiful that it puts all of his shipwrecked hermity friends to sleep and so affects the giantess that she dies of a broken heart right there on the beach.
The story goes on and on with many interesting adventures, but the weird thing is that when the new pier was built, a bronze statue of the giant evil sea monster lady was installed in the water, right at the end of the pier, which is designed like a long pipe, Phra Abhai Mani’s flute.
Whilst the statue was being put into place, it cracked across the chest, right where her broken heart is. How weird is that?
Torm told us this story last night in the restaurant, where we can look across and see the repaired statue being sunk into the water, off the end of the pier. She said it was a national news story at the time it happened.
Personally I think they should have left the cracked statue where it was, with a plaque explaining the story.