All in one day on my street in Bangkok I saw a very good-looking farang (foreigner), who was old enough to know better, in a big wide straw hat…wearing no shirt…showing off his severely “cut” abs…attracting the stares of the Thai women and the rest of us who are not use to seeing shirtless farangs who forget they are not on the beach anymore! ) But much better viewing, however, than the overweight European women in shorts and bra in the City of Angels where those things should never be seen!
The same day I saw a father and his 2 year old boy walking by one of those paid women beggars who sit at the foot of the stairs to the skytrain holding a borrowed infant. The little boy had been eating chips out of a small bag and he held out his bag to the infant as he passed by with no prompting from the father…so heart-warming to see his natural generosity! I saw a young Thai guy wearing a T-shirt that said in English “Merry Clitormas” instead of Merry Christmas! And I visited for hours with some newly-made friends at the sidewalk tables at the Parrot Cafe run by a Dutch guy and where you can get good brewed coffee.
Now I am on the island of breezy Samui where I am helping my daughter-in-law and her mother set up a small tasteful Thai-style “restaurant” on the beach in Lamai that Doug leased before he temporarily returned to the States last month. There is a water trench that winds through the restaurant that Luk wants to fill with fish. Yesterday we bought a side-by-side refrigerator/freezer and a wicker table and chairs. This is great fun! Luk’s mother is gregarious and an excellent cook so we hope for success! I am suggesting to Doug that he offer good American and British breakfasts that are difficult to come by on this part of the beach. They will have a juice bar and Luk will go to Bangkok to learn how to operate and make coffee with one of those nice Bon Cafe machines. She is all excited to make artsy fartsy designs in the foam. )
Luk and I stopped by the Thai immigration office on Samui to check on my visa regulations. You have to leave Thailand the young good-looking officer says. Aren’t there any other options for me…I don’t want to leave Thailand! You can marry, he says. Can I marry you, I ask? Yes, he says. But I already marry! Me too, I say. And we laughed! Anything I can do for you, you come see me, he says! So much for those mean immigration guys! As we were leaving, I wanted to tell the young waiting backpackers in dreadlocks to SMILE! ) It might help them a bit!
The A/C doesn’t work in Doug’s bungalow where I was originally going to stay, so I am in a lovely artsy beach hotel with an ocean view and so close to the water you can hear the waves through the sliding glass doors! I’m walking distance half way between the bungalow and the restaurant. Luk’s mom has been bringing morning rice and pork soup to my room in the hotel and cooking the late afternoon meals for us in the restaurant-to-be. The other evening a farang from Hungary and his Thai girlfriend were walking the beach so Luk’s mom invited them to finish off our generous meal. Talk talk, talk!
I’m driving Doug’s pickup on these narrow ring roads around the island which is much better than renting one of those little jeeps that are hard to shift. I just have to remember to stay on the left side of the road and watch for cars and motorcycles who want to pass on both the right and left of me…sometimes on both sides at the same time!
Today we are taking time off to rest. Luk is sore from working on the restaurant and will not be grilling pork sticks out in front of the restaurant by the road. Wednesday, Luk and her mom and I will take the ferry with Doug’s pickup to Suratani and on to Trang Province south of here where we will see grandma and pick up Luk’s mom’s motorcycle and a few household items. Doug and Luk will be giving up their beach bungalow in February and moving into a walled off section of the restaurant to save money. Hmmm. We’ll see how that works out! )
I would love to take the ferry to the diving island of Koh Tao where there are no cars and where I haven’t been yet. Or Koh Pha Nang famous for the full-moon parties…only pure white sandy beaches with restaurants jutting out into the water. But no full-moon party for me!
So now I need to figure out how I am going to get out of Thailand before February 9th and where/when to come back in. A van to Panang Malaysia? Or a flight to Singapore? Maybe a week on the beaches of Krabi before hitting Bangkok again? I get the crowns on my implants in March in Bangkok before flying back to the states. Whew! I’m tired already!
And that, so far, with the exception of watching the heart-wrenching devastation in Haiti on my hotel TV, is my time on Koh Samui.