December 25, 2018

Sunset from Tup Kaek beach

Dateline: Tup Kaek Thailand-

Merry Christmas to all, from where Christmas day is finishing up on the other side of the International Date Line. I cross it again next week. Which means that my fourteen hour flight from Seoul arrives twenty minutes after it takes off using local times. It’s going to take a couple of days once I get home to get my biorhythms back in synch again. I am due home Sunday afternoon but don’t have to be at work until Wednesday morning so that should give me enough time to sort it all out.

My viral whatever seems to have more or less run its course. I’m feeling my usual self now other than some sore muscles which I put down to six hours of paddling a sea kayak yesterday. With luck, it will not be back. Given my weird GI tract, I’m very thankful that I haven’t had any serious problems in that department. A trick I learned years ago, and that has always worked for me, is take Pepto Bismol tablets twice a day starting three days before a trip, all through the trip and for three days after and your chance of problems declines significantly. And that’s your medical advice for the day. You can settle your bill with the receptionist on the way out the door.

Elephant riding through the jungle

Today has been, by design, a very quiet day. I did get up this morning and climb on an elephant for a short trek through the local jungle. I was of two minds about this being mindful of elephant exploitation but I checked the company out and it has a good reputation so I thought why the heck not? How often does one get a chance to ride an elephant through a jungle of bamboo and rubber trees? And so, I found myself seated behind my mahout who seemed to communicate well with his charge and who never used his goad, preferring whistles and muttered directions in Thai. It was interesting to close my eyes for a few minutes and imagine myself a maharajah of a distant century undergoing a journey but my ultimate thought was that elephant travel with its lumbering sway must be very uncomfortable indeed for long distances.

Most of the rest of the day was spent in water. Dunking in the sea. Dunking in the pool. Showering off. Lather, rinse, repeat. That and a couple of naps. I got some reading done (a reread of Dorothy Dunnett’s House of Niccolo series – I’m on Volume 5, The Unicorn Hunt), some writing done (new MNM columns), and a lot of thinking done. Dinner on the beach of pork curry with a large Blue Hawaii cocktail (in honor of Raymond Quintero) as the sun set and then back to the room to lounge with whatever is on the local movie channel. Last night’s late night movie was Die Hard so even in Southeast Asia, they recognize it as a Christmas classic.

I’m trying to think of a Christmas memory. The first Christmas I have any recollection of was Christmas 1965 or 1966 when I was three or four years old. I was still an only child at that point. I celebrated Christmas that year by coming down with the mumps (this was before the MMR was invented) and I remember I was not very happy about anything as I didn’t feel well. I do remember that I got a Lassie coloring book (Lassie was my favorite TV show at the time) and a large Tonka tractor trailer that transported cars. I was given a lot of traditional boy toys (it was the 60s after all) but when I went off to nursery school, I always made a beeline for the corner where the girls played with the girl toys. They were much prettier. (That should have been a big clue…) My favorite toy at Acorn Academy (my nursery school which was a mainstay of northeast Seattle for generations) was a paper doll named ‘Magic Maryann’ who had all sorts of wonderful outfits you could put on her. And they had little magnets in them so they would stay in place when you moved her around to tea parties. I wonder what would have happened if I had been exposed to RuPaul’s Drag Race at a young age? I was also, of course, always given books for Christmas. I still have many of the good editions of children’s classics I was given over the years and even some of the big picture books from early childhood that have fond associations. As I start to think about aging and downsizing, I wonder what will happen to things like that. Better start passing them off to the kids at church in need of starting their own libraries.

Tomorrow is a travel day. Krabi to Phuket. It’s about 35 crow fly miles but more like 100 land miles due to geography. Hopefully there’ll be some interesting sights along the way.

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