|I suspect we’ve upset the God of good timing. Once again, the best laid of plans.....booked and confirmed Yu Bungalows (where we stayed last year – fantastic little houses surrounded by jungle but only minutes from the action) for 3 weeks of much needed rest. Arrived to find Yu (the owner) trying to explain, in broken English, that:
a) the whole place had been booked by Thai teachers who were staying for 3 months; and/or
b) the rain had washed half the bungalows away; and/or
c) her son had left for the army, therefore there was no one to clean the bungalows.
Still have absolutely no idea why/how/what happened to the booking but luckily good old For You House was available. OK, so the windows don’t lock, the bed is very lumpy, the once white sheets are light brown and the pillows have a distinctly musty smell – but hey – what do you expect for $12.70 a night! The safe works, as does the air conditioner, TV (when it’s not raining) and fridge. We’re happy!
First mission on moving in was to stock up on beer. We ordered 8 cartons of stubbies from the local grog shop and asked if they could be delivered. When we gave the address as For You House they asked if we were re-opening the bar!! Embarrassed to admit they were solely for us.
Now for our long awaited “getting healthy regime” – really necessary after 8 weeks in Tasmania of no exercise and partying just about every night. We fast walk about 10 – 12km each morning along the beach, into the hills and back again. Then a lovely swim to cool down. Takes about 2 hours plus each day but we’ve stuck at it. Added to this is a healthy diet, mostly noodles, rice, fruit and soup. No dairy, very little meat, nothing fatty or fried. You can then imagine the lovely anticipation of getting on the scales after 3 weeks. “Here Peter, hold my pack, shoes, earrings etc…..” “put the money in quick” How much have we lost??? NOT A BLOODY GRAM - can’t believe it, the scales must be wrong, holy shit! All those kms of pounding the beach, getting up with large hangovers… NOT FAIR!
Which leads into another story. Ao Nang is being invaded by...um...I’ll call them “The Potato Eaters” from Potato Land (obviously). I’m not nearly as squeamish as Peter and my original story actually named the country but he reckons I’ll cause offence as this is an open forum. Maybe he has a point. So, I’ll leave it to your imagination who I’m talking about. Potato Eaters (OK, OK, most Potato Eaters) are easily recognised by:
a) drinking beer or vodka on the beach at 9am;
b) huge ugly tattoos on every spare inch of body (and that’s usually a lot!) – first prize goes to a young woman with ZIPPS, yes, ZIPPS tattooed up the backs of her copious legs;
c) no response to “good morning” or smiles, no eye contact, in fact no facial movement at all;
d) the assumption that no person is too old, too fat or just too gross to wear tiny little bikinis or speedos.
I could be nasty for hours! However, said Potato Eaters are usually massing on the beach as we finish our morning trot and I try really really hard not to be snotty/feel virtuous/start panting like I’ve just run a marathon (i.e. because you obviously haven’t!!). Serves us right that we’re still the same weight!
Luckily happened to be here for the Loi Krathong festival. Basically it’s a Buddhist ceremony celebrating the end of the monsoons (thank God – it’s rained almost every day), thanking the water (rivers, seas) for life and symbolically letting go of bad deeds or thoughts by floating a krathong, made of intricately folded banana leaves, beautiful orchids and other flowers, into the sea with 3 incense sticks and a candle. Ao Nang beach was the centre of festivities with traditional dancing, singing and huge fireworks. Fantastic night.
Also chanced upon a beach wedding – a couple from KL with relatives and guests from all over SE Asia. We just sat on the sea wall watching (along with other rubbernecks), the 40 or so well-dressed guests staggering around on the soft sand in high-heeled shoes. Was rather cute in a frilly, let-the-plebs-look-on, expensive kind of way. The bride actually arrived in the Tourist Police bubble car, with the siren and lights going. Later that night both the bride and groom were driven around town waving at everybody. Great fun.
Finally, our massages. There is still a price war on in the massage parlours of the big
hotels facing the sea – between 10am and 2pm it’s half price. Absolute heaven, after all that walking, swimming and then a quick shower, it’s off for an oil massage and on treat days, another treatment. Bliss, especially as we’re both a little weary with all the exercise. There is something extremely relaxing smelling the Tiger Balm, hearing the sea and the Thai women chatting and, best of all, turning your body over to someone half your height and weight with small delicate hands to be oiled and massaged for an hour. And the price of all this pleasure? $4.75 - obscene really. Of course we give fat tips.
P.S. 8 Carton of beer equals 192 stubbies. We did our best and managed 7 cartons which equals 168 stubbies which equals slightly over 4 stubbies per day. Doesn't sound so bad when it's broken down - did I mention the sneak drinks at Mr Cock's Roadside Bar?? No wonder we're still fat.