The party gods are in various stages of recovery today. Some still lie where they landed, their surroundings awaiting the moment of bleary awakening, the consequent search for recognition. Others are gathered in small, laughing groups amid rashers of bacon and those feeble imposters: mimosas. Still more do the recap with friend or phone, and groan or vow empty vows when society necessitates.
All of them, to a T, are making fun of my pathetic attempt to join them.
I started yesterday with a yawn but a sense of adventure. After checking out of my beach bum bungalow before noon, some kind courier shuttled me across the peninsula in a golf cart so I could meet my second mode of transfer transportation: this seaworthy tractor with a trailer.
Though I’d been worried about my luggage getting wet, a secret angel had put it in a plastic wrap cocoon:
and the trailer meant I wasn’t going to have to wade cautiously through a lapping tide while trying not to drop my three bags. Great start! The thunder had retired, too, for a bit, and the rain was down to gentle from driving, so all in all I felt pretty good about the next six hours of travel. On to the longboat:
This, too, was a quick ride. Since the outboard was loud and other passengers nonexistent, I faced away from the driver and bellowed Sound of Music tunes while making my last assessments of southern Thailand’s wondrous natural beauty.
This ended quickly as we approached the crowded mainland and couldn’t find a place to port. My captain adjusted his plans by smashing, once again bringing to mind the moped incident of 2009. I had to scramble across a couple of other boats’ bows- almost on four legs, but with my bulging pack turtling my back- before finding a place to put down on the pier. I could feel the butt cheek wet spots on my shorts and quickly went from satisfied to ridiculous as we made our way to the tuk-tuk, which brought me to the van, which brought me to the airport. A big, giant, gorilla’s middle finger to the terrible Thai toileting that accompanies a bus trip; for my jaunt back to Bangkok I spent the additional $40 that it took to hitch a plane.
Excellent choice. Some airport’s little brother was trying hard to be a big boy in Krabi, so even though the food choices were poor and drink choices were zero, the little stall did have the last book I needed to finish the Game of Thrones series, and that’s all I really need to pass the time.
I emerged triumphant at the cab stand shortly after five, managing to not to punch the hovering, loud-speaking, phlegm-hacker right in his toxic alveoli, and hailed a taxi for the last leg of my trip. Pleasant talk radio droned until six, when it was interrupted mid-sentence by the ubiquitous national anthem, and I sat happily in the backseat playing Candy Crush and pretending I was Daenarys Targaryen. For most of the next two-ish hours. I say “most” because toward the end, the cab driver was having foreigner fits (this is what I call it when you can’t understand a word the person is saying, but there’s clearly an anger seizure happening) over traffic, because apparently it usually only takes forty minutes. I was feeling a little prickly, too, because I’d agreed to meet this girl at 7, and I had intended to shower, dress carefully, and practice having a conversation or two beforehand. I’m not necessarily sure I remember how to do any of that.
Thankfully she was running late, too, so after I painted some face and put my hairs into a place from which they’d immediately fall in a humidity-induced unspooling, I headed out.
Clubbing, she’d said! And ladyboys! And a rooftop bar that probably wouldn’t let me in because I didn’t have a closed-toe shoe!
For a half an hour I wandered, getting progressively more frustrated. You have to understand that the sidewalks here are an outdoor thrift mall, and the streets were just packed. The same-old, same-old elephant wares and t-shirts dominated my periphery, while my direct line of sight was constantly occupied by some moron idling at a complete stop in this one-lane-only herd of pedestrian traffic, usually either gabbing on a cell phone or staring blankly at his drug addled imagination. Even when not at a standstill, the pace infuriated me. If I decide to move, I generally do it purposefully, and there’s nothing that makes me more claustrophobic than slowly moving foot traffic or when statues breathe and block the escalator.
I stretched out my fingers a lot and raged.
Also, then I got lost. By the time I got back to my hotel room to try to contact this girl with an apology, I was kind of spent and had jettisoned my taste for adventure.
Alas, she’d put so much work into getting there, I returned to the streets. This time I got better directions and found her quite easily, and she turned out to be a sweetheart: this cute, friendly, Thai girl who speaks flawless English and a has boyfriend who lives in Portland.
Rooftop bar: check. Awesome views: check. Delicious chocolate martini: check.
Overwhelming exhaustion at the effort of nursing said martini for 90 minutes in order to a) keep my head together, and b) not actively guzzle: check.
At 11:30, I gave up the ghost. No way in bloody hell was I staying awake for ladyboys, even, and I guiltily bade farewell and sleepwalked home.
I was feeling pretty terrible about myself until I woke up in the best bed ever, read for a couple of thoroughly contented hours, then ventured out for one of the best sushi meals I’ve had all trip, up to and including Japan.
Sorry, party deities. I know I’m in your church, but without the presence of friends, your wantonness fails to inspire me.
I worship the gastronomical gods now. World without end, amen.