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Where's the beach gone?

THAILAND | Sunday, 24 December 2006 | Views [880] | Comments [2]

Nai Pan Yai as it has appeared for the last 7 days.

Nai Pan Yai as it has appeared for the last 7 days.

Misfortune born of my own stupidity I can handle. But bad luck that lies outside the scope of my influence, is a concern when it becomes part of a recurring theme. A week into my stay at Ko Pha-Ngan and not only had the weather continued its miserable existence, the whole beach disappeared! How is this possible? Stated quite bluntly, a Wellington was there.

For some unknown reason, possibly known only to one person, but I don't know who that person is, the height of the tide increased each of the first ten days that I was there. Volkas bungalow stood atop a moat of marooned flotsam. Beach side restaurants had sandbags piled high to greet diners. All businesses bemoaned the absence or early departure of foreign tourists and their money. Coconuts plummeted hazardously from trees with no connection to anything I am writing about here. Lounging in my hammock all day, over-burdened by the stress of existence, I noted that the tide doesn't recede far enough to permit a leisurely, and dry stroll along the shore until the late afternoon. Still the churning ocean contains far to much debris to consider swimming, especially with my luck making my noggin a shining beacon for any large object to home in on.

So yes, I had found a cheap beach side bungalow, and had everything I NEED to keep me occupied. But was a little bit of sunshine and some sand to tan on too much to ask? "Yes, you ungrateful little bastard" I heard everyone at work in their office shout out in unison. Vent no more I shall, and instead continue loquaciously with the theme of sharing stories that only further denounce any claims to intelligence I may have previously made.

Seeing any tap water pool in varying yellow tinges, that I was in no way responsible for, should have been enough to alert most people to its unhealthy nature. After days of increasing swelling in my tongue, first thought to be nutritional thanks to a love of beer, I concluded that the urine looking water most definitely contains something unfit for humans. While not moronic enough to actually drink the water, I thought without thinking that rinsing my teeth after cleaning would be too insignificant to have any detrimental effects, other than permitting me to continue my naivety long enough to become worth writing about. I did not expect thanks from other travelers for being able to back up my warnings with first hand experience, but instead expected only derision and to have to dine alone most of the time. This penultimate act of imbecility is surpassed only by my willingness to hop on a motorbike with someone who went to amazing lengths to prove they couldn't actually ride one.

And of the aforementioned love of beer? A love I can profess to not having in the abundance of dry ginger ale. Thailand produces two major beer brands of its own but still sees it necessary to charge the same for one beer as what most meals cost. With very little else to do of an evening, other than celebrate the fact the beach was again visible, I decided to put both beers, plus the locally brewed version of Heineken, to a two beer test. Chang, the cheapest of the lot, made me feel light headed just ordering my first with an alcohol percentage of 6.4%. Perhaps it is brewed with the same water that comes out of the tap here because I already had a headache after the second and decided to forgo any further testing. Quality comes at a price it seems. Singha beer is still a pretty hefty lager at 6%, but I felt relaxed with a slight increase in invincibility after quickly downing 2 of this tasty brew. The Heineken was equal with Singha in the taste department, but was also the priciest. Drinking Heineken is tantamount to eating say, pizza or a 4 n 20 pie here though. The local equivalent is far superior in price and often quality, so why resort to foreign delicacies?

And local delicacies were served up in large and sumptuous portions at my favourite haunt, the Nice beach resort restaurant. Having ascertained that sloth was not going to bring me any closer to nirvana, I thought I would see if accompanying it with gluttony could form a winning combination. I ate 3 meals in a sitting one night, enough to feed the entire wandering, dirty, constant bum sniffing brigade of happy and extremely sociable dogs that over-populate the place. If this dynamic duo of cardinal sins cannot help me gain any weight, I will have to forgo my dreams of becoming a sumo wrestler and settle instead for working as a flag pole, or a sundial, or even a chimney sweeper.

Amusingly and frustratingly enough, the restaurant has two Thai waiters, one who's a fluent English speaker, the other a fluent comprehension impostor. A warm welcoming smile counters the fact the latter obviously has no idea which planet I'm from. He justs nodded approvingly, wrote something down, probably a forgotten name for his Christmas card list, and took a vague guess at my order based upon which page of the menu I was holding open. I discovered this the hard way when half way through my first meal of fried rice I wondered why the tofu tasted so much like chicken. Luckily I am a forgiving man and can laugh off such trivialities as having my strongest ideal compromised by well meaning but maladroit staff.

Tags: Food & eating

Comments

1

H,

You must have swallowed a thesaurus with your chicken -the best lit (literature) yet!!

Stick to what you know(or at least possibly recognise) and always trust your gut instinct...clear good, yellow bad.

P.S you ride bikes not drive them (Aussie twit)!

Love you x

  Zoe Champion Dec 25, 2006 12:04 PM

2

Hi Harry, Don't worry the weather in Brisvegas has been grey and wet too, but at least it inspired me to get on line and read your adventures, miss your coffee! (though Danielle is getting more adventurous with her coffee art... fireworks on the last one of the year!!!) Keep well (or as well as your arse lets you...) remember don't let the bottom fall out of your world even when the world is falling out of your bottom.xxx
Stell, Simon and Dan the regular mugs.

  Estelle Dec 27, 2006 5:20 PM

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