Last days of vacation (for Sarah anyway)

Feels like we’ve been here for months and months already, when in actual fact it’s been more like four and a half weeks. The daily routine of wake up – go swimming – find adventure hasn’t gotten old at all, and we are still happy to eat Thai dishes for every meal possible.

Last week we strolled down along the beach to a little restaurant perched on the edge of the water. We split a whole fish caught that morning and served sweet-and-sour style. It was absolutely delicious and not too sweet at all; the cook had rubbed salt and spices into the fish’s skin and surrounded it with heaps of root vegetables and pinapple. Colin got the head end; he figures because it is where the delicacies are and he is ‘the man’; I think it might be because as ‘the man’ he’s got a stronger stomach for those weird bits and doesn’t mind working harder to extract his meal. Anyway, such a great meal.

On Saturday (not that days of the week mean much here; I had to look at a calendar to be sure) we went up to Chills to go snorkling. Chills is a small, relaxed resort just up north where our wide bay ends. They’re right off the same reef as we are, except you don’t have to swim for half an hour to get out there and the reef is a little more spectacular. This time we spotted eels, giant clams, nudibranchs and probably fifty species of tropical fish. I finally got a sunburn despite having sunscreen on my back.

The guys at Chills are pretty cool so we stuck around all afternoon and evening. The owner and a couple long-term guests are from England, and after a year or two on the island they find themselves eating mostly western food and hanging out with other ex-pats. On this island it certainly isn’t hard, though I’d rather go the other way and absorb more Thai culture and language. We ended the night with homemade banana custard and V for Vendetta out on their deck.

About the language, well, I really haven’t had much luck so far. I’m still feeling pretty down on my ability to memorize new words and sounds. Forgetting the tonal portion, it isn’t that complicated a language, but my mind seems to hold it like a sieve. Of the few dozen words I know and have said hundreds of times, I still mix them up sometimes or draw a blank when I need them. The unfortunate truth is, learning Thai is a whole lot harder than I’d imagined it would be, and getting by with just English a whole lot easier. And I am a lazy, lazy person.

Aww, dogs love Colin so much. :) I fed ‘momma’ some leftover rice and fish this morning and she’s come up to beg scratches from Colin for the last half hour. He’s trying to coax her onto the deck so he can sit and read in the hammock while doing it. She has three puppies that are off somewhere else right now, but she brings them up and down the road new and then. The traffic really freak the poor things out, but probably better they learn early. I’ve been wondering how many of the scarred up dogs around here met with a car at some point. They fight a lot, being dogs, but some of them are missing so much fur it can’t be from fighting alone.

I’ve got another cold – goddamit it~! – but am feeling well enough today to go exploring. Colin wants to ride up north and look for good beaches. I’m still horribly nervous of those big hills and dirt roads but at least I don’t close my eyes as much as before. ^_~

Last… Friday or something, we rode up to a freshwater lake near Sreethanu (pronounced Seetanoo) village. We rented a dinky manpowered bicycle-boat and tooled around the edges looking for wildlife. Some of the pictures are up on Flickr – bright red dragonflies and such. We’ve heard there are huge carp in the lake as well, which was small enough for us to lazily circumvent in about an hour. It’s little trips like that that make the bike totally worthwhile I think.

Oh, there go the puppies!

So I’ve promised to start working on December 1st. Still ironing out some stuff when our up-and-down connection permits it. I really hope it smooths out once the weather in Bangkok improves; if it is the weather that is doing it. We’ve always got our cell backup for when it really conks out, but it’s hard to download large amounts of data over a 5kbps connection. ;) Colin’s laptop of course is still somewhere out there in the void but I won’t start worrying for at least another week.


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