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Published: August 8th 2007
I Love The King, I Do . . .
Monday is The Kings Day. Zillions of folk wear yellow to show their respect. I had a shirt specially made to measure by my Armani tailor in Chaweng.
Mondays in Thailand are Long Live The King days.
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej is a most respected King. At home we have a Queen. Nobody's sure exactly what her job is but it seems she makes a tidy living by waving a bit, opening hospitals & having lots of holidays.
Over here they have a King. He appears to not want to do the Queen type stuff, choosing instead to spend his time & money actually doing things that benefit real people, 'tis better to give than to receive. In a Robin Hood type of way he's a pretty cool King. This mass adulation is manifested, mostly on Mondays, by people wearing yellow. It took a while to realise what was going on with this yellow theme but once it clicked we just had to have some yellow too. So we did. As most of the shops don't stock much of a range in my size, I had a shirt made to measure by a friendly tailor in Chaweng. As with most Thai tailors, he was a Mr Armarni. Now we can wear yellow King shirts every Monday when we get home.
The Best 4x4 By Far. . .
Fifteen quid a day can get you one of these beasties!
it catching on back in The Cold Place, wearing Queen tee shirts seems to be the domicile of a few wrinkly old rockers. Apparently our Queen used to be called Freddie Mercury. Dad did tell me that he used to have a God Save The Queen tee shirt thirty years ago when he had green spikey hair. I don't believe that was as a mark of respect though. . .
The agenda for the day was to be fairly straightforward. Rent a jeep thing, get some cash from the chip pan pin money machine & go exploring. Jack, the Ras-Thai-Farian bar dude gave us a ride down the wibbly track to a fine car rental establishment where we chose a posh Toyota 4x4. We then headed over to see our chum Simon at his work office near Ban Tai. Simon had recently landed a plum job promoting, marketing & ultimately selling a new development of luxury villas called Lotus Terrace. (Not - I hasten to add - that he's in any way akin to an Estate Agent. He's an entirely different breed, more Struggling Artiste than Scam Artist.) Impressed with the layout of the Lotus. Great views, lots
& About Time Too
This equates roughly as to how much compensation Halifax owe us for being such a bunch of incompetent fuckwits.There's a short sharp letter in the post.
of space & the prices are very nice too. A 4 bedroom pad with pool & jacuzzi, smack on the beachfront for a bit less than a 2 bedroom flat in Battersea.
Next stop Nathon. It's my favourite. Had a customary Singha at Coffee Island, opposite the ferry pier. The floor there has channels cut in which are joined up to the fish pool so the fish mooch about around your feet. The resident black dog that we met last year was still hanging out & chasing off most of the local fishermen with quite some voracity. Having by now exhausted the coffers, the next mission was to get some cash from one of those machines that print out money.
We had enjoyed over a week of playing these machines & won every time. It seems if you put the right number in - it prints out banknotes for you. Today was different. The first three games ended without a win. The screen just kept saying "Transaction Declined". This evoked a call (at £1.49 a minute) for 25 minutes to someone called Halifax Visa. Mr. Visa said this happens a lot in Asia, the money machines
Big munkey and me!
Yikes, get me away from here....NOW!
there don't always understand the chip pan pin rules. "Try again at a different bank machine" he said, failing that we should take our passports in to a bank & get money that way. After attempt number 8, a mutual decision was made to head back to the Jungle Club, pick up all necessary documentation & try the over the counter method. There was around 40 pence between the three of us left, barely enough for a bottle of water, not to mention running out of fags & seriously low on diesel. Headed to the purple bank opposite Tesco Lotus, where we had scored before but still no joy. Card no good. Another forty quid phone call to Scotland, revealed that "The System" had cut off the international entitlement when someone had pressed a button a couple of days before.
Halifax? Halifuks more like. If the corporate tossers had told us this in the first phone call seven hours before, our last day on Samui wouldn't have been such a stressful write off. Mr Visa was very sorry & promised to press another button to make it all work again. 20 minutes later all
was well. 20,000 baht in hand & life suddenly took a turn for the better. There was an hour or so left before sunset so we headed to the sunset side of the island to catch the last rays of the day.
We juiced up the Toyota & pointed ourselves toward the very south western tip of the island. By this time Mum was demanding that she needed to "go" which I translated as a walk in the sea if need be. We arrived in a very remote and pretty part of the island with an obligatory naked Thai child and a toothless old man who stocked two bottles of Coca Cola and five bottles of Singha beer .This was a type of bar/home/garage/hotel well, just quite a cool place to hang out at sunset. Mum took me on the rocks and tried to keep her dignity whilst performing her ablutions and pretended to squat and look at the sunset - this would have gone well apart from the fact that a golf ball landed 10cms from her foot whilst performing the aforementioned....quite surreal, as one would not expect three Thai boys to be playing golf into the sea,
Big Buddha and airport in the distance
well not on a Monday anyway....
We sauntered back to the shore line, bathing our feet in very warm water absorbing the beautiful surroundings and glancing at the island opposite wondering what it was ? Suddenly I was dumb founded - there was a cousin of mine chained to a tree and sat upon a perch. He was most inquisitive and lunged towards me when Mum sat me next to him. I felt rather threatened and did not enjoy this experience so I beckoned to her to place me back in her bag for very safe keeping - which thankfully she did. The humans then did what they always do and had a couple of beers. Another couple were sat watching the sunset and the strange thing was, they were also from Yorkshire (There must be no-one left there at this time of year) and owned a property down the road. The chappy informed us that the island across the way was called "No Dog Island " due to the fact that the high population of bats meant that no dogs could stand the noise of their screeches - silent to humans - apparently it makes dogs brains
Random Baby Elephant
This little chap could not only play the harmonica but also slammed a mean game of basketball.
explode. No dog has ever survived more than a couple of days there. We must make a visit there on our next trip as the man said it is very beautiful and remote and dog free! Anyway, they supped their beer with their fellow Yorkshire folk and drove back up the very steep and bumpy track to the Jungle Club, the full moon was so bright you could drive with no lights on, quite mad!!
The staff had lit the torches alongside the path to the swanky lodge and it looked so beautiful with the big light in the sky - the moon its called - and we laid on the hammock and drank in the warm evening air, listening to the cricket and gecko concerto that played so loudly in the dusky night. Ah, such beauty - the tranquility of the mountain interrupted by the twinkling lights of the busy Chaweng in the distance and the occasional big bird in the sky landing in the quaint airport. Sat up chatting to Mr It until midnight. I like him, he can really relate to jungle life.
We're off to Ko Phangan tomorrow. Another boat ride, another island but, we'll be back.
Mr. M :-)
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