Chopsticks, why? Partially eviscerated frogs in ghoulish market place display and running away from scary gay men with our integrity intact.

Chopsticks. Why?
Can you imagine why you invent chopsticks and not a spoon?
True, chopsticks are far better if you want to prolong your dinner indefinitely, if you’ve nothing better to do, and not just for the rest of the day, but why not into early next week? Or next month? Well you can if you eat with chopsticks. What better way of wasting away than by serving it with utensils that make eating it impossible. I can’t imagine how China has got to be such a huge world power when the people spend all day eating breakfast.
There’s only one more difficult way to eat a meal, and that’s telekinesis, trying to will the food into your mouth using just the power of the mind.
Yes we’ve seen Chinese people putting away their rice with ease and speed, but that’s all done with special effects generated by a computer. In reality it will end up in your hair, and up your nose, inside your shirt and on the floor behind you.

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Nel knitting with noodles and cashews

We arrived in Trat today after a happily uneventful journey. From Ban Phe we got a songthaw, which is a pickup truck with seats in the back and a bit of a roof welded on. To maximise the seating there is very often a seat bolted on the very back, where the drop down rear door used to be, and this is where we sat to save having to drag our bags over everyone’s legs. Dangling out two feet  behind the car on an an extension, nervously. It does feel a bit exposed when there are motorcyclists and cars around you like a group of circling sharks, or something. Only without teeth, and in the road.
We arrived at Rayong in about twenty minutes and, looking around for a VIP bus ended up being directed to a minibus again. Fantastic. And so we had to watch again as the driver threw our rucksacks at a young girl on the front row.
These unfortunate recipients of our luggage seem to take it quite in their stride, like it’s par for the course, as though if you *are* going to get on a bus then you have to expect that you might be hit in the face by a quarter of a ton of face cream and books and be lacerated by straps and buckles.
The journey was about two hours and wasn’t too terrifying. A bit warm because the aircon was operated by the driver occasionally pumping  one of those rubber bulbs that you use to blow grit off your camera lens with his foot, when he remembered to.
He seemed to know the difference between the brake and the accelerator pedals though, and moderated his use of both. We were very glad about this. And he had a clever technique for getting to the front of the line at crossroads. He’d get into the left lane, and for the first few times he did it I’d assume we were turning, but then he’d swing right and cut in front of the cars who’d queued calmly, and sit out before the white ‘stop’ line, feet from the cars coming from left to right and right to left. By means of this subterfuge, he cut the journey time by probably many tens of seconds.
We were dropped at the bus station, but that was ok, we got another songthaw to where the guest houses are and were immediately accosted by a bloke who wanted to show us his rooms right where we’d got out the taxi, sweaty and bothered and confused. This is always a problem. As soon as your feet hit the floor there’s someone leads you away before you have a chance to look around you.
It was real cheap but we’re willing to pay another quid a night for a shower/toilet combo and so we left and found a room in a place down an alley run by a lovely little old lady who showed us a room which is even more basic than the one on Koh Samed. There were two single beds, so we showed her our wedding rings. ‘Owww’, she sang, and ‘Yi’ and mimed pushing the beds together, smiling, and wrapped her arms round herself, indicating that we could cuddle up if we moved the beds. All the time she had a big big smile on her wrinkly old face.
The room is like the operating theatre in a 1940’s sanitarium, all baby blue wall tiles, and we have spiders instead of lizards. There’s a tv (television) that plays AlJazeera and another couple of English language stations, and there are some pictures out of a book sellotaped to the wall, and not even very neatly.
We had a WiFi connection last night, and we listened to an old radio 4 show online.
Before that though we’d dumped our bags and went to look for food.
On the street market there were some partially eviscerated frogs that had the insides of their stomachs on the outside. They were big frogs too, about eight inches long or so, and they were yellow.
We were green, however, and went to find the vegetarian option.
There is a cafe run by a chubby smiling lady and we ordered pad Thai moo, which you’ll remember is pork, and she bought us chopsticks to eat it with. Noodles! Nel looked more like she was knitting than eating and I’m sure I did too.
I looked across the road from where we were sat and opposite these is a road sign in Thai, and with an English translation underneath. It said Rat Anuson Road. If there was, I couldn’t see it, and I don’t think I’d recognise one if I did.

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Beautiful Thailand from the balcony where I smoke.

And so we went for a walk out last night, after showers.
Except for the fact that there are a few westerners on their way to Cambodia or Koh Chang it’s an ordinary Thai town and there’s not a lot happening so we just walked to see what we could find. There was a big smiley face shouting hello at us as we walked by a bar and so we walked in. From the street it was quite difficult to see inside, it was all a bit dark so we sat and asked for a beer, and it was around about then that we realised that all the staff were men, but not really manly kind of men, not the kind of men who like girls, say.  They weren’t proper ladyboys, they were men in men’s clothes wearing Julian Clarey make up badly. Well, we’d seen this before, but looking around it seemed that us hetero’s were way outnumbered.
We sat talking about this and that, the music was ok, and then they came sashaying across to say hello.
That’s ok, we chatted with them. One of them said he had a bungalow on some island nearby and he called me across to look at a map on the wall to show me where. While he was showing me, his arm went round my waist and started getting lower. Hm. We began to wonder if this was something other than just a bar, if maybe there were other activities going on perhaps.
It got to the point where they wouldn’t leave us alone and one of them stroked Nel’s hair telling her ‘beautiful’ and swooning and fluttering his hands. It was all getting weird and a bit creepy so we paid up and left, promising we’d go back for breakfast tomorrow.
We’ve not walked down that road since.

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Nel being coerced into playing a Thai drum by a weird gay man. This sometimes happens down the Barge too

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