Creatures

Day 389 – 24 March, 2016

I didn’t realize how much I had missed the warm waters of southern Thailand until I returned for the second time. There’s something about water the color of Tiffany blue that is incredibly inviting and you can lazily pass a whole day in the sunshine. I flew from Chiang Mai and arrived in Krabi after dark. Half the girls staying in my all-female dorm room were already asleep. I was assigned to a top bunk so I just threw everything I own into the bed and the large wooden cabinet built into the foot of the bed. I would make less noise if I didn’t have to go up and down the ladder and could easily access my stuff.

My plan was to spend one day at Railey Beach and then take the ferry to spend a longer holiday on Ko Lanta. I met Ofelia that morning. Traveling solo from Colombia, Ofelia was also going to the same beach with another girl she had met out the night before. The three of us took the 45 minute boat transfer to Railey. While not an island, a boat was the only way to reach this isolated beach. We disembarked on a long rubber pier and at the advice of our captain, we followed a thin dirt path to one of many beaches on the narrow peninsula.

Monkeys were the lords of this strip of sand as they had learned how to target the humans with food. Ofelia was carrying a mostly eaten cob of corn while she looked for a rubbish bin when one monkey charged her and easily snatched it from her grasp. Others were playing with sunglasses or hotel keys that they had stolen from unsuspecting tourists. Restaurant employees fought back with sling shots aimed at these rascals. I don’t care to know what weapon armed the sling shots though. In spite of the furry nuisance, the rock-climbing cliffs that punctuated the shore were a perfect backdrop. Long tail boats had signs boasting smoothies and snacks so if you waded out in knee-deep water, you were lucky enough to get a meal from one of these temporary kitchens. A really nice day was enjoyed by us all.

When it was time to return to Krabi town, we met our captain back at the same place where we had arrived, but the tide had gone out so it was no longer possible to reach our boat from the rubber dock. We had to slog almost 100m through mucky sloppy sand, tiptoeing around little translucent crabs, slipping and sliding when we would accidentally step on a moss-covered rock. On the open water, the sea had turned angry and huge swells slammed into the side of our little skiff. I remember feeling a great surge of relief when we finally slipped into the bay and the waves grew calm again.

Ofelia and I were both going to Ko Lanta the next day so I returned to my room to organize my things and get a fair night’s sleep. No sooner had I climbed my ladder but I discovered a black speck on my bed with legs. I didn’t want to believe it was true. I had violated my only rule as to hostel dorm beds. NEVER put your stuff on the bed. If somehow you end up in a bed with bed bugs, maybe you get some painfully itchy unsightly bites that one night, but if you don’t put your stuff on or touching the bed, then you won’t carry them with you. I wrapped the bug in some tissue to show the hostel receptionist and solicit their help in what turned out to be a huge ordeal to wash all my clothes. I’m sure I looked nuts. I had to point out the appearance of legs on the little speck and it was then handled by so many people, the legs came off so then it really was just a speck. No one cared. I was the crazy one. Nevertheless, I was tired and grumpy and I caused enough of a scene that the owner walked me down the street to a dark alley with a washing machine and offered to pay if I wanted to wash my own clothes. The washer only had a cold setting (which only gives bed bugs something to drink but doesn’t fix the problem) and besides, I was leaving in less than 12 hours. There wasn’t a dryer so I knew my clothes would still be wet in the morning. More pleading to the owner and he offered to take them to his own home for his wife to wash and dry. I was thankful he finally understood my complaint so I accepted and could only watch as he scooped up all of my now wet clothes out of the machine into a garbage bag, jetting off on his motorbike into the dark.

The next morning, only minutes before I was due to leave for my ferry, he came back with the same garbage bag and announced that everything had been washed, but there was a “problem” with the dryer. The bag of wet clothes weighed close to 30lbs. I pulled on my almost empty backpack, slung the garbage bag over my shoulder and that’s how my clothes traveled to Ko Lanta.  

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