December 24, 2018

Dateline: Tup Kaek and Aow Thalen Thailand-

I had the actor’s nightmare last night. That’s not a usual one for me so I have no idea what triggered it. I was being directed in some pretentious Pinteresque piece about group therapy by Alan Litsey. Others in the cast included Ginny Stahlman CrooksTodd WolfeKeith RogersGary Packwood, and Linda Corliss. How such a cast could or would have been assembled was not explained. Anyway, I had no lines in the first act, just reactions to everyone else’s histrionics. Everyone was so worried about getting the first act just right that we never seemed to get around to the second act in which I had pages of monologue. Final room run, we’re finally due to work Act II so I show up early only to find the rehearsal hall full of flamenco dancers holding a revival meeting. No one speaks English so I can’t find out where I’m supposed to be. I start exploring the neighborhood, which seems to be a Mexican beach town and get picked up by the cops for trespassing. I woke up after being put in the back of the police car. OK armchair Freudians and Jungians, make of that what you will…

I’ve only been in the back of a police car once. It was about ten years ago. Many of you know that I inherited by father’s somewhat odd GI tract which will occasionally do some very strange things. One of its worst tricks is sudden onset cramping that sets off my vagus nerve and drops my blood pressure. Anyway, it was a Saturday afternoon and I had to run a number of errands. I was at Sam’s Club laying in household supplies when the cramping started. It wasn’t too bad so I soldiered on from there to the Home Depot. The cramping was getting worse so I thought maybe time to get home. I just had one more stop, the ABC store. We needed a bottle of Amaretto as I was making a batch of chocolate sauce later that weekend. I march into the ABC, pick up my bottle and am waiting in line to pay when the cramping gets worse than ever. My vagus nerve goes into overdrive and I collapse in a heap on the floor. I came to, managed to pay for my purchase and headed back for the car thinking if I could lay down with my feet up for a few minutes I would be fine. I passed out again half way across the parking lot. Fortunately, the bottle of Amaretto survived the fall. That’s when the cashier at the ABC called the cops, assuming I was some sort of falling down drunk. The policeman, when he arrived, was very nice. I explained the situation, and that I was a medical doctor who knew exactly what was going on and no, I didn’t need either a breathalyzer or a trip to the ER. He very wisely suggested that it would be best not to drive home, loaded me up in the back of his cruiser and ferried me up the hill to the house. I took a nap, felt much better, chuckled with Tommy when he came home some hours later and then went down to collect the car.

Kayaking through the mangroves

None of this has anything to do with the usual travelogue so let me get back to business. After a good night’s sleep, despite, the odd dream, up for breakfast at the usual hour and then down to the beach to await my longboat transportation. The shallow water craft are long and sleek with a motor with a very long propeller shaft that acts as both power source and tiller. I waded out to the boat and was ferried across the bay to Aow Thalen. It was very James Bond racing past the Phi Phi Islands (they were a major location in The Man with the Golden Gun) and there is a James Bond tour offered, but I declined. On arrival at Aow Thalen, I met my guide Joon, and we headed off together for a day of sea kayaking. I’m not sure that kayaking was the best choice after a couple of days of myalgia and my deltoids and triceps let me know they were there after about fifteen minutes but he was strong and sure and did most of the paddling while I joined in when I wasn’t too sore.

Hidden beach among the limestone pillars

The route we took was past beaches and through narrow canyons carved between pillars of limestone covered by stalactites with trees clinging to what purchase they can find. At the bases, were mangrove swamps inhabited by an inquisitive family of macaques who seemed quite put out that we had no intention of feeding them. As we were solo and not part of a flotilla, it was all incredibly quiet and peaceful floating by these amazing places with kingfishers flashing by and the cicadas calling to each other. The occasional monitor lizard swam by, but none tried to board our kayak which was just as well. Half way through, we stopped at the pier for a delicious lunch (which I had to photograph) before continuing on to a sheltered lagoon with sheer rock walls on all sides. By that point, my arms had had about all they could take so back on a long boat back to the hotel. The weather, that had been lovely all day, began to cloud up on the way back and the heavens opened just as I stepped out of the boat back at the hotel. Being a true Seattleite, rain doesn’t perturb me so I simply took my dip in the bathtub warm Andaman Sea in the rain before repairing to the pool and the pool bar.

Christmas Eve on the beach

The resort is having a Christmas Eve special party on the beach tonight. I really wasn’t that interested in going until I realized that it’s happening about fifteen feet outside of my lanai so I’ll be attending anyway so I put on a clean shirt and decided to be a fool among fools rather than a fool alone. The major entertainment was a female vocalist in a sexy Santa costume with a rather unusual repertoire. A lot of 70s and 80s pop with some oddball stuff thrown in. As I sat down with my plate, she broke into a medley of ‘Hello, Dolly!’ and ‘All of Me’ and I took that as some sort of sign that I was in the right place. I also had to show my server a picture of me and Jan Hunter in Dolly to explain why I was singing along. I don’t think she understood. Lounge singing was followed by such traditional fare as fire dancing, a Santa rapping to K-pop, and a Thai folk dance.

Tomorrow is Christmas Day – a day earlier than most of you as I am on the other side of the date line. I’m not planning on doing a whole lot other than rest, relaxation and contemplation. I’ve found that the amazing bathroom with the big spa tub and the rain shower with incredible water pressure have made that much easier. I’ve taken three showers so far today and may have another before bed.

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