Published: November 9th 2009July 22nd 2008
Day 8 Part One: Kuiburi to Prachuap Khiri Khan
The next morning, I swam in the resort’s luxurious beachside pool while J got in a little weight lifting at the gym. We embarked at 9 and after biking for a short time, realized I was exhausted due to dehydration from excessive diarrhea. Sometimes this diarrhea thing happens while traveling and I generally just ignore it. But the dehydration as a result was causing me to nearly fall off my bike with nausea, so we stopped and I drank heavily as well as taking some re-hydration tablets. I was feeling a bit better after a rest when, boom! all that water hit my sick bowels. I needed to shit! Immediately! But where?!!
I had no choice. I asked the shopkeeper if she had a bathroom I could use. You should know that most small shops here are run out of the front of people’s homes. She kindly pointed me to the toilet in her home, like most Thai and Lao toilets, a semi-private closet with a porcelain seat flush with the ground. I walked by her husband on my way in, just sitting down to eat his lunch in front
of the TV, a few feet away from the bathroom. (Yes, this is where this story is going.)
Feeling unbelievably awkward, but with my bowels pounding to escape my stomach, I squatted down and commenced to sweat through my clothes, from the effort, the heat and the dehydration, while loudly and explosively shitting. Twenty minutes later, mortified, I politely thanked the husband and wife as I exited their home. To make it even worse, I wasn’t able to leave the premises quite yet. I felt so ill that all I could do was sit on a bench out front and dry heave for the next twenty minutes.
As soon as I was steady enough to get back on my bike, we were off, feeling incredibly ashamed and disgraced, eager to put miles between us and that poor, suffering, kind couple. Twenty miles later we arrived in Prachuap Khiri Khan. We visited a friendly tourist info center and received directions to a town that sounded interesting, forty miles south. J went off to find a good place for lunch while I stayed by the harbor to take photos of the colorful fishing vessels.
A local man waved J
over to where he and his friends were sitting to introduce himself. Kwan spoke perfect English and had a brother who went to Iowa State. Kwan insisted we come with him to the most wonderful noodle place. J came back to get me and not having met Kwan, I was skeptical, assuming this was one of those pay-off schemes, so popular in Vietnam, where the guy leads you somewhere so he can get a cut of the profit. But I followed anyway, and Kwan led us to the restaurant, where he had already eaten his lunch. He was so excited and happy to have met us foreigners, he didn’t care that he‘d just been there. The soup was delicious: fresh yellow noodles, chicken, fish balls and aromatic, herb packed broth.
Kwan chatted away, asking a million questions, and suggesting we stay at his house for the night. He told us we’d could go out on his friend’s boat with him, eat fresh seafood for dinner, and go to his friend’s party together that night. We were shocked but also excited; nobody in Thailand had yet invited us to stay in their home! We were so curious to see what
it’d be like to stay with a real local! Kwan looked about forty, so we asked him if his wife would mind if he brought strangers home. He answered no, not mentioning that he doesn’t have a wife. I was still a little hesitant but figured we could check out his house and just leave and find a hotel if we weren’t comfortable.
We followed him to his place, an old four-story building two blocks away, right in the center of town. His father owns a photography shop on the first floor, and Kwan works for him, sort of like a messenger-boy, except he’s forty. Kwan works mornings, his dad works afternoons. We brought our bags inside, and Kwan’s dad didn’t even flinch. He made us coffee and made sure we were comfortable. (It's possible the friendly, foreigner-loving Kwan brings guests home all the time.) Kwan toured us through the massive house, four floors, and he lives there alone! His dad lives in a separate home in another part of town.
I needn’t have worried about Kwan’s motives, as we quickly realized him to be a very honest guy. He is a kind, curious, funny man, albeit a
bit of a bimbo or perhaps just constantly very high. He answers only one in about every ten questions, either because he doesn’t understand or because he is simply very high. We were never quite sure. He was showing us interesting items in his home, like his garden on his rooftop terrace and his photography studio, when all of a sudden he blurted, “Ok. Come on. We've got to leave for my friend's boat right now.”
Continued in Part Two of Day 8....