So as I spent the 25 minutes or so next to one such guy and across from his friend who was set on rubbing the inner thigh of his hired help, I began to feel a bit queasy
. I mostly avoided direct eye contact by looking behind me at the passing jungle hills around us or at the ground in the truck in front of me. On the ground, I noticed one of the girl’s unusually large feet and husky calves. After hearing an affirmation of baritone in her voice, it donned on me. That’s a man, baby. And a deceiving one at that, but no doubt about the king cobra show under those skirts. As the cab filled up with more people (about 15), I think everyone eventually took wind of the intriguing situation at the head of truck. For the next 20 minutes, after a few stolen glances and awkward body language, it felt like there was one huge, enormous lady-boy elephant in the room. Hilarious. We were dropped off at another pick-up station and watched the strangest double date depart in a minivan, bound for a different island than our destination.
We arrived to Koh Lanta island after about 4 hours of traveling and checked into the bungalows. These are a bit more Palm Springs in style than those in Karabi. Our place is right on the beach, surrounded by coconut trees and other resorty hotels on the shore. The place is nice, although they tend to boom some pretty lame adult contemporary music during the day. The crowd at our place is pretty strange – mostly German tourists from the sound of it. A few gnarly-looking broads at our hotel enjoy leaving their swimsuit tops beside them while sunbathing or walking around, which is an awkward sight I can’t seem to get used to
. Unfortunately, the prices are hiked even higher than the mainland (3 bucks for the cheapest beer?!). The food is great though and I feel that my temporary food poisoning-induced aversion to Thai food is gone for good.
Today we lounged around the beach and walked a bit out of the way to dodge some of the crowds. It was nice sitting around and doing absolutely nothing for once, instead of running around or trying to get somewhere. Hoping my creeping neurosis won’t try to sabotage my memory on how to relax. At least my health is back on the up. However, I was attacked by some sort of insect last night on the beach and have an outbreak of red dots all up and down my legs. Coupled with my tan-resistant skin, it’s a hot beach look.
We’ll spend the next few days on Koh Lanta and then it’s off to Koh Phi Phi, where perhaps I can re-enact Leo’s mental breakdown from the movie “The Beach,” romping willy-nilly around jungles and eating caterpillars off leaves.
We got into the island from Karabi, which was a little longer of a trek out than expected. We were picked up by a breezy truck from the bungalows that picked up travelers together headed out to the islands from Karabi. Nice ride – only awkward thing was sitting knock-kneed next to two old, tubby German guys with a couple of obviously hired Thai “girl”friends. I’m surprised at how commonly unabashed these set-ups are down here in southern Thailand. At the resort in Karabi, there were a few chub old dudes circling out Thai girls 30 years their junior in the few days that we stayed there. These men tend to carry the same lecherous look: lascivious, overly tanned beer guts peeking out of opened Hawaiian print button-downs, a glazed over la-la land expression with a matching pervy smile, and a double chin sweaty enough to evoke a gag reflex.