Thursday 2nd December
We understand it's snowing in England but find that difficult to believe as we breakfast under a clear blue sky. We took the speed boat to Koh Maak for a 7 night stay at Monkey Island. It will be our longest stay in one place since we started our travels on 13th September. We may get to unpack the rucksack and maybe wash some t-shirts but may find the call of a hammock too strong.
We have less than 2 weeks left of our adventure and unless it warms up a bit in England, I'm going to look very silly getting off the plane in shorts and flip-flops!
The speed boat ride was very bumpy but mercifully short. After phoning the resort they arrived to pick us up in the truck with 2 wooden park benches attached to the back.
We're in 'C2' (Chimpanzee Hut 2) with our own bathroom and running cold water, a fan with a flex that doesn't quite reach the socket, a mosquito net and our own spider. It lives above the toilet but don't worry if it falls, it's far too big to fit into the bowl. The effect of the Thai food and the presence of the spider have opposing effects on the bowel. I pulled a little too hard on the fan flex in an effort to make it reach the socket and the bracket came away from the wall. No I'm not a muscle man, the wall is a sort of thin bamboo veneer not bricks and mortar. The problem was quickly solved with an extension lead and new screws, which the 'caretaker' instructed his son to get. He only understood the instructions when his father employed the universal sign language for screw and screw-driver, implying the lack of a word for said items in Thai. I have noticed a distinct lack of DIY and home improvement shops in Thailand.
We walked along another sandy, coconut fringed beach in the heat of the afternoon sun and reflected on the fate of those poor souls living in the frozen wasteland called the UK. Green Curry for me and Amie had Fish and Chips in the misguided belief that a percentage of the price would be used in the relief effort for those less fortunate than us i.e. you poor snow bound suckers.
We retired early, tired from all the laughing. I'm not sure what the time was but I woke feeling refreshed and it was still dark. On finding my watch, it was 10:01, which reads the same both ways up as I realised when I couldn't believe that it was still 8hrs before sunrise. It is strange getting used to 12 hour days in what feels like the height of summer.
Friday 3rd December
Woke to a hazy morning and breakfasted while a fleet of pirate ships disguised and fishing boats, massed in the bay. We walked along the road to locate shops and restaurants for future reference.
Amie is gainfully employed on the computer, happy not to be worrying where she has to be next. As for me, I'm in the narrow hammock and it's only my unicycling and slack wire skills that keep me from an appointment with the grass 3ft below. A fly buzzes at my ear, happy in the knowledge that if I try to swat it the hammock will flip over and send me to the ground and grass stained knees. Still, no fear of frost bite and I'm not going to get a snow ball in the ear from the neighbours kids. It's all swings and roundabouts really.
The spider that was shooed away by the proprietor, has returned. I am given the task of shooing away said spider again. I used the broom, supplied to sweep sand from the veranda, and the spider disappeared once again. Amie can now pee in peace!
We went to the village for lunch as the sky was overcast. Amie had a delicious chicken soup and a watermelon shake (not milk shake, it's made with lots of crushed ice). Boy these guys know how to put flavours together. We returned to the cabin with biscuits, water, beer and toilet paper - a luxury in these parts and barterable above beads (though we'll probably just use it for its designed intent).
More insect repellent needed as, despite the humid atmosphere, it's still not rained or snowed! Yet another dog decided to follow us back to the hut, threatening to fight off rabid assault from all sides. He settled under the stoop and then decided that he'd be more comfortable on the stoop. I waved the broom and he retreated to the adjacent hut. A shout of 'sit' was followed as only that order should be. I expect he is after free passage out of here but he's mistaken and doesn't know me as well as my friends and family. He's gone now in search of some other poor sap.
Pirate ships continue to gather in the bay. It won't be long now. "The Black Freighter" plays on my ipod. I don't think enough has been said about this magnificent pocket sized piece of the 21st century. I could never have been drawn away from my music collection for 3 months without it. So there we are, it's an invention equal to the wheel and far in excess of the spinning jenny, the French language and the poi (what's all that about?).
Amie with her back trouser pocket button caught on the hammock was a sight I wasn't allowed to photograph but I'm sure you all know her well enough to imagine the spectacle lol.
We are promised great festivities on Sunday. It's the kings birthday and Father's Day here in Thailand. He's 86 now and people love him. They live in fear of his son taking the thrown; his daughters do much more for the Thai people while he, the only son, appears to enjoy the high life. If the boat back to Trat or the bus to Bangkok or the plane home don't make it, you all know why. We are fools to put our trust and secrets into the hands of this 'personal diary' we laughingly call a blog.
Saturday 4th December
Walked to the town (Ha!) for provisions, beer, lilo and anti mozi spray so the day was a blur of eating, floating, spraying and drinking. More watermelon and pineapple shakes for Amie and a beer or 2 for me, whilst reading our books on the veranda. Once again I had to remove the spider from the bathroom, he re-appears in a slightly different place each time trying to catch us out but Amie is very good at finding him with the torch.
We dined at the local restaurant - green curry for me and chicken fried rice and banana pancake for Amie. 2 large beers and a sprite for Amie knocked a large hole in 400bhat (£8).
More pirate ships in the bay and I think they're moving closer.
Sunday 5th December
Less pirate ships this morning, so I guess they're surrounding the island. Swam while the sun shone but it's clouded over now. A new wider hammock has replaced the old one. I guess the proprietor, fearing a hefty health and safety claim if I fall, has decided to act on the safe side - a first in Thailand.
TV coverage of the King's birthday in the restaurant and a few loud fireworks. The Bangkok celebrations looked spectacular with the road to the palace packed with people holding candles in Lily shaped shades and magnificent firework display.
No spider today, perhaps our persistence has paid off.
Monday 6th December
Sunny again today. More provisions needed. Beer, crisps, fruit and toilet paper. One prepared pineapple and half a watermelon was 70bhat (£1.40), just as well we stocked up on extra toilet paper.
Spider was back again! The broom was once again utilised.
Swam and lazed in the hammock all day. On returning from the restaurant at 2200hrs the tide had ebbed a long way. It's close to full moon and I suddenly realised that we only have high tide once a day.
Tuesday 7th December
Slept fitfully trying to work out why this should be and then why we have two tides at home and then why we have four in the Solent and then eventually, why bother at all when it could be in all day like a giant swimming pool without chlorine. You will understand that I am feeling tired this morning. I may retire to the new hammock this morning.
I've just noticed the chair on our veranda. Not that I haven't seen it before and I've even sat on it on several occasions but it's the style of it's construction that intrigues me. The seat slopes backwards as does the back of the chair. If you sit upright with your back against the back of the chair, it tips backwards. So to avoid falling over the back, your bottom has to be positioned half way along the seat to make it stable or the back has to rest up against something solid and there is little in the Thai world of construction that meets this description. Now I have friends who enjoy DIY and you will all, Barry in particular, be familiar with the expression 'sanding down'. This chair has been varnished and then, it appears, liberally sprinkled with sand giving it a rough non slip texture that, if it hasn't already got a name, I will christen 'sanding up'.
The spider was in the shower part of the bathroom this afternoon. Amie tried to get rid of it by turning the shower on and hoping the spray of the water would scare it off but it seemed to like the water. I managed to get rid of it again. We've obviously invaded his home but Amie keeps telling it, he can come back after we've gone.
Swam and did my best to keep fluid levels up. Dined on Massamam curry. Amie had the chicken soup in coconut milk and Thai herbs.
Wednesday 8th December
Our last day on Koh Maak. Plenty of swimming under a clear blue sky with coconuts bobbing by in the water. The coconut palm, to me, resembles the dandelion seed that gets carried off in the wind. The coconut, the seed of the coconut palm, is carried off on the tide to another beach to grow.
We packed our bags and before heading out for dinner, Amie spotted the spider in the bedroomg - I used the broom to remove it but instead of running up the wall and out through the roof, it jumped and ran down and under the bed. I moved the bed a little but I couldn't see it. Amie had retreated to stand on a chair, so we decided to go for dinner and hope that the mosquito net would keep the spider out of the bed.
I dined on Massamam curry again while Amie had Chicken with Cashew Nuts.