On 1 March I said good-bye to my son Doug and his wife Luk and Ting Tong…their little Shimizu…and caught a Bangkok Air flight back to Bangkok (Bangkok Air built the airport on Samui so they won’t let any other company fly in there) where I then transferred to budget Air Asia to fly to Chiang Mai in the north.
They had wanted Ting Tong to sire some puppies with Mark’s female (Mark was the guy who owned the last house I stayed in) but whenever we tried to get them together Ting Tong would run and hide. “Ting Tong’s a katoey!” He’s a katoey!” Luk squealed. For those of you who don’t know, katoeys are “lady boys” or transexual Thai men who are usually more beautiful than the women themselves…tall, slender, elegant…and they are wonderful entertainers. As a point of fact one of the local hospitals has a famous surgical sex change unit occupying an entire floor. The doctor there will even do vaginal rejuvenations. Look that one up on the web!
I will miss them all. Doug and Luk would often spat and then minutes later it would all be over and I would hear giggles and “Sexy man number one Hollywood!” Then “Sexy lady number one Thailand.” David, an American builder from Michigan who owns a cafe up the street and is married to a Thai said “Oh, yes, they will spat but in a couple years it will die down…it’s usually due to language or cultural misunderstandings.”
David’s wife is an excellent cook in his open air beach-front cafe across the road from four houses he built to sell and had installed WiFi in them all…so all I had to do was drive about 600 yards up the road and sit in the cafe with my iBook laptop to check my email while drinking coffee yen (iced coffee). Or use my headphones to call my other sons, Greg and Josh, in the U.S. using Skype, free peer-to-peer telephony software developed by a Swede and an Estonian a couple years ago. (Check out “skype” on the web.) If both parties have Skype installed the calls are free. Otherwise the calls cost practically nothing. I have about $10 credit, have made more than half dozen calls for several minutes each and I still have about $8 credit remaining.
The last night on Samui we went to John’s Seafood for dinner for Luk’s 27th birthday. The upscale restaurant has about 50 tables right on the sandy beach and features a traditional Thai dancing show. During our meal, a large wedding party from Australia all took turns lighting fires under huge white cloth lanterns down by the water while making a wish.
The lit lanterns floated up into the night sky among the stars over the Gulf Of Siam while a singer sang “I Will Always Love You.” Enough to bring tears to the most hardened cynic. We took home the birthday cake we had brought for Luk’s birthday. Who would have had the heart to upstage a party like that? Luk called her mom on the phone and we all sang happy birthday together.