Bangkok: Punched a jellyfish
I think I’m getting old.
There was a time, back when I was in my twenties (oh so many years ago) when I could go out drinking, HEAVY drinking… And not suffer from a hangover the next day.
Those days are gone.
My friend Richard invited me to join him in a pub quiz, I love pub quizzes… Well, I love and hate them at the same time… I’ll explain…
I LOVE a good quiz, I love sitting in a room with a group of friends, answering questions… I do, however, hate it when folks cheat… I hate seeing people blatantly using mobile phones to get answers… What’s the point people? It’s a quiz… Not a test of how quick you can Google an answer!
So yeah, I love a GOOD quiz… As it happens, the quiz I was invited to was a GOOD quiz… I saw nobody cheating… I was a happy man.
The plan was for Me, Richard and my other friend Simon (yes I have MULTIPLE friends… Who’d have thought it eh?) to meet up at the pub and take part in the quiz, Simon pulled out last minute as he had a cold (just a cold… No bat soup related death virus thankfully) so it was just me and Richard, drinking beer and answering questions… Surprisingly quite well actually… Our team “42” (sci-fi geeks should get the reference there… If not… Shame on you) with only two members managed to come in 6th place (of about 10 teams of 4–6 members) we were quite proud of our efforts and had been steadily drinking since about 7 pm…
Toward the end of the evening, Richard said something that I didn’t quite hear properly while motioning toward my bar tab (some of the bars here put a running bill in a cup on your table) as I said, I didn’t quite hear him correctly and assumed he’d asked if we should settle the bill and leave… I said yes (being as I knew I’d hit my limit on the drinking front) next thing I knew, the barmaid had put two fresh pints of beer on the table.
A wise man would have left the beer.
A wise man would know his limits and not bow to peer pressure.
A wise man would have admitted his mistake and leave that final pint of beer on the table.
It transpires that I am not a wise man.
After drinking the beer we said our goodbyes, Richard arranged for a driver for his car (there’s a great system here, where you can drive your car to a pub, drink all night then arrange for a driver to drive you home in your car) and I wandered off into the night to find my way home…
At some point after 1:30 am I got home, drunkenly got undressed and crawled into bed.
At 6:30 am Jos alarm went off to wake her for work, I awoke and was greeted with a feeling like someone was smashing my head with a hammer from the inside… Bat soup related death would have been a relief… Beer had indeed tried to kill me.
I managed to walk Jo to work (I know, I’m a saint)… But there was no way I was going to the gym… Instead, I spent the day feeling sorry for myself on the sofa.
I felt better by the evening, which was lucky being as we’d arranged to go to our friend Anthony’s place to play cards and… Yes, drink.
A wise man would have eased off the booze.
A wise man would have spent the night playing cards and drinking soft drinks.
I am not a wise man.
We played cards, I drank about half a bottle of Jim Beam… I left Anthonys flat feeling a little worse for wear.
The taxi ride home seemed to take forever… There was a point when Jo turned to me and asked “are you alright?”… I was not alright… I felt drunk… I felt sick… As the taxi approached our apartment I felt like I was seconds away from being sick in the taxi… Thankfully we got home before I disgraced myself… I took some pain killers and went to bed.
I awoke on Saturday morning feeling even worse than I did on Friday morning… My eyes were bloodshot, my head ached… And I felt dizzy… Jo, of course, gave me no sympathy… I feel she delighted in my suffering… I decided I’d spend the day recovering… Letting my poor body get over the alcohol-based onslaught of the past few days.
At some point on Saturday afternoon, Jo got a message from our friends Nicola and Christo… Did we want to join them for drinks?
My first reaction was to say no… Jo, however, thought going out would be a marvellous idea!
Still delicate from the previous night’s adventures I made my way to the bar, Nicola and Christo were there already, I decided to order one beer and make it last all night… Tonight would not be another drinking session!
Soon we were joined by our other friends… A great night was had by all… We chatted, we ate, we requested all manner of songs to be played by the DJ… I drank three pints of beer all evening… Thankfully no hangover on Sunday for me.
Jo is still recovering from her spine surgery, she can work, she can do light exercise, but she can’t carry any weight, her computer bag is quite heavy, so I walk her to work every day and carry her bag for her… Well, I always walked her to work but now I actually walk all the way to her office so as she doesn’t have to carry her bag… I’ve changed my exercise regime of late, I’ve decided to add a daily 10k walk to my routine, I love walking, plus, I’ve entered myself into a virtual 40k walk/jog/run Star Wars themed thing so a 10k walk every day is a good thing… A very good thing.
Listening to music as I walk around Benchasiri park, the weather (as almost always) is fine, the air (of late) is surprisingly clear (well, it is to me) the people watching is (as always here in Bangkok) entertaining… There are various people doing the circuit here at the park, there are walkers (like me)… There are joggers… Seasoned joggers and huffing, puffing, sweating joggers… These joggers know deep down they should be walkers but something inside them compels them to punish themselves needlessly… And then we have the runners… I have never seen anyone running who actually look like they are enjoying running… It just doesn’t look like fun… And here at the park, it is no different… We have various versions of runners too… Sporty runners who run around the track, grumbling as they navigate around the joggers and us walkers… Old runners, who move at a speed just slightly faster than the joggers and look like they could drop dead at any second… And last but certainly not least, the comedy runner… I’ll explain.
As I am walking around the track, listening to music amongst the other people using the park, I see in front of me a fellow walker, a young Asain lad, walking ahead of me, we’re keeping a similar pace… Suddenly I’m overtaken (as I often am by joggers and runners) by a very attractive young Asian woman, she has the body of a glamour model, her running gear is skin tight and leaves nothing to the imagination (fair play love, if you’ve got it, flaunt it) she overtakes me and makes her way along the track, she passes various walkers and joggers (give her her due, she is athletically fit) as she passes the young walker ahead of me things take a comedic turn… She passes the walker… For a moment he slows his pace (I imagine he cannot believe what has just run past him)… He pauses… He thinks… Then breaks into a run just so he can keep up with her and (I’m guessing) keep his eyes on her arse.
A few laps of the park later and I notice a woman exercising just off the track, she’s a little older than the other woman exercising here today, as the other women/girls run, jog or use the exercise equipment, this woman stands out because she’s doing none of this, she’s doing a strange mix of yoga and dance? I find myself walking but unable to stop watching what hse is doing… She stands with one leg on the wall behind her, her arms stretched out in front of her… Then, in one fluid motion she lifts her leg off the wall (she’s now on one leg) and her arms are flung out to her sides, she stands on one leg (dressed in her exercise gear) like a swan… She’s motionless, I don’t know how she does it, it defies (admittedly my limited) logic… I’m aware that my walking pace as slowed to almost a standstill, I’m hypnotized… It’s beautiful… I realise I’m staring in a slightly creepy way so I look away and continue walking… I’ve seen her a few times since that first time and it still amazes me… She is the black swan of Benchasiri park… And to her, I’m possibly the creepy fat bloke of Benchasiri park… Ah well, swings and roundabouts.
The week rolls on and suddenly it’s quiz night again, we’ve got Simon on the team tonight so we have a three man team, I’m feeling confident… Well, I did… The quiz begins and I find myself unable to answer any questions… Richard and Simon are doing well but I’m feeling dumber and dumber… We get to a picture round where we have to name athletes… I’ve been batting a zero all night, so I don’t feel confident, however, the first picture comes on the screen “I know that one!” I gleefully shout… “It’s John Cena”. Who would have thought, my proudest moment of the night would be recognising someone from a fake sport like professional wrestling… Ah well, at least I got one question right for the night… Amazingly we came third in the quiz… I left the bar drunk again, we were the last people to leave… Another great night out with friends, I still feel like I let the team down a bit tho.
We’ve done the quiz two more times since then, and we’ve come 3rd each time… Not bad for a team of three competing against teams of 4–6… And… I’ve answered more questions since then… And drunk way too much beer.
We’d arranged (Me and Jo, not Me and the quiz team) to go for a short break to Krabi with our friends Nicola and Christo… We’ve been to Krabi before, we had a nice time but I didn’t fall in love with the place, we were going to a different part of Krabi this time, so maybe I’d enjoy it more…
The flight to Krabi lasts just over an hour, Jo (despite her fear of flying) had a good flight, well, until she noticed a thunderstorm in the distance as we approached Krabi… Her panic was nowhere near as bad as it could have been, she was scared but she handled it well… So yeah, she had a good flight.
We landed at Krabi and walked into the arrivals area… Nic and Christo were due to land at Krabi a short time later so we decided to hang around and wait for them… We found a little shop that sold booze, so we spent our time pouring fireball whisky into our cans of coke as we waited.
Nic and Christo appeared and we jumped into a taxi, as soon as I sat down I felt a something bite my leg… An insect… Not a snake, dog, lion (Nothing as dramatic as that) but I felt something bite my leg, the drive through Krabi toward our hotel took longer than I’d expected so by the time we got to Ao Nang I felt travel sick and my leg was itching quite badly… We checked in to the hotel, freshened up and went straight out into the town for food and drinks.
Covid-19 has taken… IS taking its toll on tourism here in Thailand.
The streets aren’t busy, the bars aren’t busy… It’s not ideal for the bar and restaurant owners… Selfishly for us it works out fine… No problems finding a seat wherever we want to go… We end up at a restaurant that for all intents and purposes was a huge treehouse… The food was nice, the drinks were nice… A nice start to our little holiday.. I’m not sure what time we got back to the hotel, I do know we were drunk… I also remember not being able to get our key to unlock our door to get back into our room… We’d said goodnight to Nic and Christo, they had gone into their room, We were outside our room trying our best to get our key to unlock the door… Eventually, I went back to reception to drunkenly explain to the person there that we couldn’t open the door… I hadn’t really looked at the person, I just drunkenly tried to explain our problem… I remember walking back to Jo to tell her someone would sort it out for us… The person I spoke to appeared by our door.
There are different types of ladyboys here in Thailand… Ladyboys so feminine that you really can’t tell that they are ladyboys… Ladyboys that look feminine but have dead giveaways… The voice, physique.. Or as in one case in Pattaya a female form but a very well endowed while wearing a mini skirt… Or as we had here, Male, dressed male… But in full makeup… Plus he was tired… Very tired… Imagine an overtired, tall, pale-skinned, dark-haired young man in full face make up grumpily explaining you were putting your key in your door the wrong way around… We were helped by a grumpy Thai vampire.
I enjoyed my first night in Krabi, I’d decided I liked it more than the last time I’d been here… However, last night it was dark… I’d not actually seen the place… Now it was daytime… It was sunny… Ao Lang is beautiful.
We spent the day at the beach, laying in comfortable beds, drinking beer, chatting, resting, swimming… Well, they swam, I didn’t… I was having another of my body confidence issues days so no swimming for me… I did enjoy my day tho… Bloody loved it to be honest.
By the time we headed back to the hotel to shower and get ready for our night out I knew I was drunk… I’d been drinking beer all day and pretty much knew I’d be avoiding beer for the rest of the night… We went to eat at Egyptian place, I wasn’t hungry )actually I felt a bit rough from all the beer I’d been drinking) Lamb chops (yes my vegetarianism is still a bit on the dead side) the others ordered all manner of food… We drank and played UNO as we waited for food…
I ordered lamb chops.
These were not lamb chops.
Jo thinks they were Mutton.
I ordered LAMB chops.
But in true British fashion, I complained quietly… As we do… Y’know… British and all that.
We drank a lot that night… We ended up in Ao Langs version of walking street, loud music, scantily clad women sat on the laps of middle-aged European men, Ladyboys wandering around, a freelancer walking back and forth looking for business… We found one bar that was not as busy as the others… In fact, it was empty, we sat, we ordered drinks, we played bar games… We bought our waitress a few drinks (always a good thing to do here in Thailand.. Speak a little Thai, buy a drink…Customer service goes through the roof) I’m aware that our game of Jenga (an epic game by the way) is being recorded on phone by a woman sat at a nearby bar such is the level of awesome that our Jenga game has reached… The DJ
[SQUEEL OF BRAKES]
Right! Here we go.. I’ve been to a few “walking streets” while I’ve been here in Thailand… Soi Cowboy, Bangkok… Walking street, Pattaya… Bangla Road, Patong… And this one here in Ao Nang… Ao Nang is the only one I’ve been to (admittedly it IS the smallest) that has one DJ providing music for ALL the bars… One DJ… Absolute genius… Instead of a jumbled mess of music and noise all you got there was music… Genius!
Where was I?… Oh yeah… The DJ… The DJ played the macarena so everyone at our table (except me) got up and danced… I’m aware at some point a very booby blonde ladyboy joined our table to dance too… And by the end of the night our waitress was teaching me how to do the pelvic dance all the gogo girls do here in Thailand… The “Push your pudding” dance as I call it… I also know both me and Christo were wearing brightly cloured wigs while dancing in the bar… We were DRUNK. Very drunk.
On Sunday morning we got message telling us Christo was a little worse for wear.
We go by boat to another beach to spend the day relaxing and (in Christos case) recover… The beach is beautiful, crowded, but beautiful… Mostly beautiful… The water is polluted… It’s the boats, it’s the tourists… The water at points looks oily… It’s less than ideal… What’s the answer? Stop the boats obviously… But, if you stop the boats you stop the tourists… And people here rely on the tourists… It’s a problem… A problem that’s not easy to fix.
We end up laying on beach towels beneath the trees in the shade, Christo drifts in and out of sleep, I lay on my towel enjoying the sun… Jo and Nicola go for a swim.
The girls return… “Nic got stung by a jellyfish” Jo says… “Jo punched a jellyfish!” Nicola responds… While trying to process what I’ve just heard I’m aware that the women doing massages on the beach behind us are giving Nic aloe vera to soothe the sting on her arm… It transpires that while swimming, Jo had become aware of a jellyfish… Jo panicked and punched the jellyfish, which may or may not have made the jellyfish head toward Nicola and sting her… Either way… Jo punched a jellyfish.
Jo goes for a foot scrub, Nic goes for a massage… Me and Christo drift in and out of sleep… A family close by have a baby that keeps screaming and crying… The relaxing atmosphere is no more… It’s time to move on.
We wander along the beach, I’m aware that people are just being loud for the sake of being loud… Along the beach are boats serving food and drinks… A man leaves a boat holding something in his hand… It looks like a baby crocodile… It really looks like a baby crocodile… I’m worried he’s going to kill whatever he has in his hand… He walks to the top of the beach and places the animal into the bushes and walks back to the boat… Jo asks what it what was… The man shrugs his shoulders “Crocodile?” he smiles… “A crocodile?” Jo asks… “Don’t know” he laughs and walks off… Did we just see a baby crocodile on the beach?
[Screech of brakes]
After a quick internet search… It turns out… We may have seen a crocodile.
We continue to walk along the beach, people are still being loud… Obnoxious and loud… I hate people.
We end up at a beachside restaurant eating lunch, we decide to head back the beach we were at the day before, the call of the comfortable beach beds and no noisy people was just too strong.
Laying on the bed, drinking a frozen banana daiquiri (don’t judge me, I’m on holiday) watching the world go by, stray dogs are chasing each other around on the beach… It’s perfect… This place is perfect… I’m a little bit in love with Ao Nang.
We flew back on Monday… On Tuesday morning Jo woke up and felt awful… She felt dizzy, she felt sick… Jo was ill… After a while we decided it was wise to take her to the doctor, her doctor said she wad some sort of vertigo, he gave her pills and told her it would pass… By Thursday she seemed better, not perfect, but she felt better… I went along to the quiz (3rd place again folks!) I didn’t drink too much… Ok, I did feel a bit drunk by the time I got home.
On Friday evening I didn’t feel great… I had stomach cramps and felt a bit nauseous…I went to bed feeling a bit sorry for my self.
At 2am I was wide awake and felt awful… My stomach was bloated, I had pain, cramps and I felt sick… My temperature felt quite high, I spent a while walking from bed to the living room, sitting in the room, drinking water to walking back to the bedroom to try to get some sleep… This went on for a while, every time I tried to sleep I’d feel sick, eventually I walked into the bathroom and stared at myself in the mirror… Psyching myself up for what I knew was about to come…
Newsflash… I hate being sick. As in… I HATE it. It’s the worst thing in the world.
I made my way to the toilet and was almost sick… But as I was almost sick, something inside me stopped it… God, I hate being sick… I look at the toilet and bam! I’m sick. Violently sick. Comedically violently sick. I had no idea a human body could contain that much vomit. It went everywhere… In the toilet, on the toilet, I hate vomit… I hate being sick… The vomit makes me feel even more likely to vomit, I know I have to clean the bathroom (well, try) So I’m sat on the floor, holding my breath (remember, vomit makes me feel sick) mopping up vomit with rolled-up toilet roll… Jo calls out to me “Ade! Breath!” meanwhile I’m holding my breath because I know if I smell that vomit, I’ll be sick again… Eventually I “sort of” clean up the floor, I brush my teeth and go back to bed… I feel awful.
I spent Saturday laying on the sofa feeling like death. By now the sickness has been joined by a headache and a temperature… I have a virus… Not THAT virus… But A virus… Jo still isn’t feeling brilliant, we decide to stay in the apartment for the rest of the weekend, self-isolation.
Which brings me to…
Covid-19… Fucking bat soup rears its ugly head.
The world has plans. Everybody in the world has plans. Big plans. Small plans. Rule the world plans. Go visit your Gran next Sunday plans. The world has plans. WE had plans.
In April we have (well… HAD) plans to visit Vietnam then go to England to visit family… In June We have plans to visit England, see Queen and Adam Lambert in London before going to Castle Donnington for three days at the Download festival.
Covid-19 has ruined the Vietnam plan… It’s also ruined the planned trip back to England… We simply can’t do it. If we go to Vietnam we can’t go to England (without a 14-day isolation), if we go to England we could (depending on what the government plans) be given a 14-day isolation upon landing or sent straight back to Thailand… If we DO get to England we could get hit with a 14-day isolation when we get back to Thailand… On top of all this should we really spend 15 hours on a plane with people that could be infected?
It’s ruined. The April trip is ruined… And sadly I fear the June trip will go the same way.
The world is in chaos. In England, folks can’t get toilet paper because people are panic buying… Toilet paper. People are buying toilet paper in bulk just in case they catch a virus that (as far as I know) doesn’t cause you to go to the toilet excessively. What the fuck.
In most cases, Covid-19 will give you mild flu-like symptoms… A small minority will get a more serious version… Amongst that minority are people who will sadly die. This is indeed a tragedy.
And the world is falling apart because of it. Can you imagine what would happen if Covid-19 was actually the doomsday virus people are treating it as? Covid kills a small percentage of the people that catch it and the world turns to shit… Imagine a world where Covid-19 kills 10 percent, 20 percent… fuck it… 50 percent. What world would the world be like then? You’d get killed for a toilet roll.
Fucking bat soup.
Well, that wasn’t depressing at all, was it?
Ah well… Until next time…
Assuming there IS a next time.