EPISODE THIRTYTHREE – FLYING FISH
“There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore like an idiot”. (Steven Wright 1955 – )
Don’t Mosquitos bite?
My back is very much on the mend and I’m feeling almost normal again. Back pain has a depressing effect on me as I believe it does on most people who suffer from time to time. I spent a long time at my desk again and at five pm took a short walk to 7eleven to get some airtime for my cell phone. I didn’t get back to my room until eight thirty! You may wonder why when the walk to 7eleven takes just five minutes.
I was enticed into a bar by a bunch of girls who shout and scream every time I go past. It was very hot so I thought a nice cold beer would go down well. It did and so did the many others I ended up drinking. The owner, whose name sounded like ‘Mosquito’, was entertaining a group of female friends who were far too old for my liking but good fun nevertheless. They asked, or rather told, me to join them at a big table. In retrospect that might have been a mistake and a contributory factor to drinking far more than I would normally have done. To cut a long story short, I was just about to leave when ‘Mosquito’ stood up and called across the table to me.
“I think you should sleep with me tonight”.
“Are you serious?” I replied, trying to look extremely embarrassed and not too flattered.
“Because it will be good for me” she said.
“But will it be good for me?” I replied.
“Of course it will”.
“OK, but I must go and eat now and have a shower then I’ll come back later”
She seemed quite happy with that so I made my exit without too much fuss. I relayed the story to Pueng when I got back and she said:
“You know you’ll have to pay her”.
“You obviously haven’t seen her”. I replied
“Are you going back?”
“Yes, back to Cape Town and very soon!!”
Out of curiosity I called in for a beer a few days later. Mosquito was hanging on to a customer at the bar. She greeted me ‘Sawasdee ka’ but never asked why I didn’t go back that night to take up her kind offer. A few beers later I heard her say to the man at the bar. “I think you should sleep with me tonight”. Ahhhhhh, I see. Pueng was right as usual.
Kata Lucky Villas, apart from having beautiful tropical gardens, has approximately one million frogs, toads and crickets, which at night all compete in a cacophony of sound to see who can make the most noise. In addition there is some big Koi Carp who are lucky enough to be underwater and able to drown the sound out.
One of the Koi ponds is next to the restaurant and this morning I was the only breakfast guest. Sitting quietly eating a plate of fruit I was suddenly startled to see several large Koi flying through the air, flapping like a flock of pigeons before diving back into the water only to leap out again.
I had never heard that Koi can impersonate Flying Fish so I stood up to investigate their idiosyncratic behaviour. It was then that I saw the head gardener who was in the bushes by the Koi pond trying to repair the fish pond water filter. It obviously hadn’t occurred to him that it might be a good idea to turn the power off beforehand. Luckily he did have the foresight not to stand in the pond at the time so he only electrocuted the Koi and not himself; not so propitious for the Koi though. I was intrigued to witness his total lack of concern regarding the incident and wondered if his reaction would have been the same if I had seen a flying gardener instead of the Koi. Anyway, I’m pleased to report that the Koi are alive and appear to be well; just swimming a little faster now.
Tables and chairs are not essential when eating and most Thais will be quite happy sitting cross-legged in a circle on the floor, anywhere they may be. Even if there is a table and chairs you will often find they still choose the floor, particularly the older folk.
I considered the possible reasons and initially came to the fallacious conclusion that, as they consume copious amounts of beer and whiskey, it could be that being already on the floor saves them from injury when falling down. This habit or tradition more likely stems from a time when people didn’t have any furniture.
A fork and spoon are the usual eating tools with noodles usually eaten with chopsticks and sticky rice rolled into balls with fingers. Thais don’t necessarily wait for others to eat first but usually the host does. It is customary for the host or cook to place a small serving on another’s plate first. If you leave a little food on your plate after you have eaten that shows that you are full. Finishing everything indicates that you are still hungry. Traditionally Thais never leave rice on the plate as it is considered wasteful and rice has an almost mystical significance in addition to its humdrum ‘daily bread’ function. I get the feeling that this must be dying out because I often see rice left on plates. I’ve also heard it said that Thais never take the last bite from the serving bowl but I’m not so sure that custom is adhered to rigidly. It is considered polite to wait to be asked before taking a second helping. I am not surprised that I haven’t experienced that as Thais eat a lot and if they had to wait to be asked they would probably die of starvation! Do not lick your fingers. Quite right and a very bad habit of mine!
I went to Patong on my motorbike yesterday to check out a business that I was told looked quite interesting. The owner, a guy called Terry, from Plymouth, England was quite a jovial fellow with a real West Country burr. The business for sale, as it so happened, is not operating and was only operating for 4 months. When he told me that it was a good business and didn’t require any staff I was a little stumped for a reply. So I just said ‘I’m not surprised because in my experience businesses that aren’t operating generally don’t need any staff’.
I was fascinated at how enthusiastically he was trying to sell a non-existent business and how nonchalant and unperturbed he was about asking for a sizeable sum of money or, for that matter, any money at all. But, I should have guessed; he had an ace up his sleeve. Would you believe the price was negotiable!
Patong, like Pattaya only smaller or rather not so big, is hell on earth to me. People obviously find something attractive about it otherwise they wouldn’t flock there in their thousands, but I’m afraid I can’t. In high season it is like Bangkok by the sea!!
I nearly got wiped out on my bike because I didn’t know that Patong has the most brilliantly thought out traffic system I’ve ever experienced. I was either going ONE WAY or the WRONG WAY which is a bit disconcerting when there is so much traffic. And this is low season. Where else on earth is there a system where you drive on the left in one road and on the right in the next. The guy who thought it up must be an undertaker and probably the richest man in Patong.
My stay is shortly about to end. It has been many things but primarily a stimulating sojourn filled with new experiences, some exciting, some difficult to understand and some very funny. I have collected a lot of information and I have a strong suspicion I will be back very soon.