I go to scratch the remnants of a mosquito bite on my heel and suddenly remember-
I was in a different country the week before last. A tropical one where mosquitos loved the bajeesus outta me.
Don’t go, don’t fade already…
I feel the memories fading like a beautiful impressionist chalk painting that I spilled water on and the images are blurring together. Memory is fickle.
Don’t go, don’t fade…
So much happened in so little time. At times it felt like forever, and then, now it’s over and I check my pictures to insure it wasn’t a dream- although, more and more, that what life feels like for me.
It was a soft landing in Bangkok. I stayed in a very nice guesthouse on a beautiful piece of property where, if I had a need, for anything, it got met by the kind staff. I would enjoy leisurely breakfasts underneath the most beautiful Banyan tree I had ever encountered. My breath and mind slowed as I listened to the birds and luxuriated in the tropical air that my body had been longing for. I was in heaven. I had a huge soft bed, L’Occitaine bath products, and an American style toilet that flushed. I was blessed to stay there through a friend of mine. I was able to explore the hot frenetic metropolis of Bangkok and then return to the peaceful cool cocoon of my guesthouse. Life was good.
I then was referred to a friend of a friends beach hut that I could rent on an island called Koh Samui. The owner lived in Australia.
The first 48 hours could be a dark comedy staring Zoey Deshanel.
I decided to take an overnight train to a bus to a ferry. It was an 24 hour adventure just to get there. That didn’t include 3 hours of me being lost. The owner had sent me very vague snippets of video as directions. There was no actual address. I ignored my intuition that told me to ask for written directions and pretended I would know what she was talking about. I didn’t. I couldn’t make sense of any of it. I finally, defeated, sleep deprived and hot from walking around with my heavy backpack gave up and sat at a German restaurant. I had no idea what to do. The owner was MIA. After a while one of the waitresses could tell something was wrong. I said I was lost. I showed her the videos. (I had been showing anyone who would watch with no luck) and she recognized a stone wall in one of the videos.
She told me to leave my heavy bags and get on the back of her scooter and she would show me where it was. I would then come back and get a taxi with my bags to take me back there. All of this communication was mimed due to the language barrier. I had to stop myself from bear hugging her in relief and gratitude and instead tried to attempt the formal Thai greeting of “wai” which didn’t go over so well. No matter – I was ecstatic!
The accommodations were a bit more rustic which I completely understood for the price. (Next to nothing). It was a true beach shack with broken floor boards and a toilet that did not flush. I had to google, “toilets in Thailand” to figure out that the bucket next to the toilet filled with water and a plastic bowl was what you used to get the waste down. I had no clue. There were many roach friends in the bathroom whom I gave names and personalities. I always was polite and let them know when I was coming into their bathroom. I had philosophical conversations with them and grew to love and actually appreciate they were there. I felt less alone.
A few days in I really started to drop into the beach life. One day I was blissed out from a beach front Thai massage that cost ten dollars, ocean swim, and smoothies in the sun. I came in and took a shower. My eyes closed in bliss, I reached up to rinse my hair and felt something sting me really hard on the arm. I started scream/cry/laughing and flailing about wildly-
OMG! WHAT THE FUUC, HOLY SHIT, WHAT IS HAPPENING AM I OK? AM I GOING TO BE OK?!! WHERE ARE YOU? I DONT LIKE THIS GODDDDD!! WHAT THE HELL!! OMG! SHIT shit SHIIIIT!! Etc..
I never did see what it was. Just a big angry welt forming on my arm. I knew this was no mosquito bite. I waited for my head to turn around Linda Blair style. I still saw no evidence of a bug. I looked down at the welt with visions of crazy tropical bug induced viruses multiplying in my system. I had to get help.
Now, I had already been to my neighbors once to ask him about the electricity. I had no power when I arrived and was nervously checking all the outlets. He was a stoic Dutch man who said his electricity was working just fine. He then, by his silence, indicated that the convo was over. It turns out upon further investigation that I just had to turn the main breaker on. I figured this out after an hour of freaking out to myself, trying to get ahold of the owner and freaking out at God.
I then went BACK over trying to be really calm and collected and all nonchalant and what not- trying not to show the wild terror in my eyes.
Our conversation went like this:
Me: hello? Hello? Oh, excuse me, hi, I just got a crazy bite/sting thing and it came out of nowhere and it really really hurt, and I don’t know what it is, do you know what this would be?
Neighbor: silence….no, I’m not sure….silence… Crickets.. Tumble weeds.
Me: oh, ok, well, I’m sure it’s ok, I just, (trying not to tear up)
Neighbor: when did that happen?
Me: about 5 minutes ago
Neighbor: long pause- why don’t you wait and see if anything happens… Silence with a stern penetrating gaze..
Me: you know, that is s GREAT idea! I’m sure it’s nothing to be concerned about! (attempting to be strong and chipper)
Ok, thanks- I start walking away muttering under my breath..I’ll let you know when my arm falls off and take a swing at you with it, I mean, would it kill you to crack a smile?
My imagination is still going wild and my arm feels stiff where the welt is. To get some relief for my brain I walk to the nearest pharmacy and ask if they know what this could be. The first pharmacist does not speak English. Thumbs down. The second does, thank the dear lord! He motions me to him and looks at my arm under a magnifying glass, looks at me and says, “bee.” I try not to bear hug him and thank him profusely for letting me know I will get to keep my arm. I go home and listen to the waves.
I’m happy to report that the rest of my time in Koh Samui was easy breezy. The view of the ocean from the deck and the huts proximity to the beach cancelled out any wild life disturbances. At first, I didn’t want to stay, and by the end, I had fallen in love with the hut, the people and yes, even the roaches. I started to scheme on how I could move there.
I know there is a metaphor here.