Ko Lanta and the stars…

(journal excerpt) November 27, 2011-The weather here finally changed for the good here and we got a good day at the beach yesterday.  Still hanging out with Pon, Pheat and Pen and its been great getting to know them more.  I have learned a lot from Pen in a short time about Thai cooking and after mentioning to her that I was after a Thai style vegetable peeler (I know, I’m a geek), she promptly brought me a new one in the package from her kitchen and tried to give it to me.  I made her take 20B for it and even that wasnt enough…I had my first fresh young coconut since being here that Pen hacked open with a massive knife by herself.  It had been in the fridge and it was ice-cold and the best thing I have ever tasted.  Then you get a spoon to scoop out the young coconut meat from inside.  Seriously amazing. 

Pon has a friend named Malik who hangs out near the restaurant.  He drives a tuktuk and waits for customers to walk by and when he is not busy, which is always, he is in the restaurant smoking and talking with Pon or playing with Nong Pheat.  Pon made Mai Tais for them and was giving us little shot glasses of the leftovers which eventually grew into him making a new blender full and him giving us two full glasses free of charge.  After we hung out in the restaurant for a while, they asked us if we were going to go to this beach part that was happening down the road at the next beach resort about ten minutes drive away.  We hadn’t planned on it, the flyer on our table didn’t make it sound too much our thing-a Man U game on a big “telly” followed by a UFC match, cheap beer and some kind of “worst Speedo ever” competition.  But they offered to drive and said they were going so we all loaded up in their truck, baby and all and headed to Klong Nin Beach.  We had to make a stop first at teh resort that Pon’s mother runs/rents.  Pen mentioned she might stay there with Pheat and visit with Pon’s mother. 

As soon as we arrived at the resort, all these children ran up to Pheat and he was carried off into the crowd of family and friends.  The resort was rough-I’m talking some serious ramshackle wood and thatch bungalows-loud music, I caught a glimpse of the inside of someones open bungalow and it was fully horrific, like something out of that scene on the Ko San Road in “The Beach”.  Meanwhile Pen brought me a Thai whiskey and coke (also free) and M bought a big Chang.  We were getting to know this French couple that Pen and Pon also invited and came on their rented motorbike.  She is half Mauritian, half French and he is Algerian.  Their English was about as good as M’s french and so our conversation vacillated between the two languages and as the two (M and the Algerian) got involved in heated discusses about Algerian cinema, politics and healthcare systems, I tried to explain in basic English what was being said to Pon and Pheat who had no clue what was going on.  Suffice it to say, we didn’t get to the other resort for the beach party until we stopped there on the way back home.  The evening progressed into many Thai whisky buckets and apparently Scottish? Rum and Pen and I sat in low beach chairs as the tide came in under our feet and she told me all sorts of things about working at the resort where we were, under her now mother-in-law, fighting with her and getting 4000B per month (and sometimes 3000B) for working the bar, serving customers food, taking orders and essentially doing whatever she was told to).  She also talked about getting cheated out of 80,000B when they attempted to open their restaurant down the beach from where we were (long story) and having to save the money all over again. 

The night was amazing and beautiful and a few times I walked out to the edge of the water where it as away from all the lights of the resort and there were more stars than I’ve ever seen.  I actually said, “Oh my god” out loud, it was literally breathtaking.  As much as I thought I hated a cheesy fireshow, I quickly changed my mind when the adorable 11-year-old nephew of Pon came down to the beach to give us a private show.  All the while poor Pheat stayed awake and was mostly cheerful (there is no such thing as a “bedtime” in Thailand or most of Asia as far as I can tell). 

As I said, it was an amazing night, our new French friends were great and a perfect night only to be followed by a more perfect day the next day that I have to write about tomorrow when my hand doesn’t hurt so much…

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