Monday, April 23, 2012


Hey guys- greetings from a far off corner of the world.. a place where there are white sand beaches in every direction.. the constant sound of loud tropical bugs and birds, the sun is H.O.T, and we have barely heard english spoken in a full day. Today is one of those days- one of those days that will stay with you for the rest of your life. The kind of thing that reminds your life is an adventure. We left Bangkok at 5am. We knew today was Thai new years, but neither of us really comprehended what that would mean. We knew what we had read: With the new year there is a cleansing- a sprinkinling of water over the Buddah... i suppose it started as a sprinkling of water over one another... but it has developed into a nation wide waterfight. Like, supersoakers, buckets, full on drench fest. What we didn't realize it that its a long weekend and every thai and their mother goes out of town. I'm telling you- it was liking flying the day before thanksgiving. I have never seen so many people at one airport at once. It was like a ballet of luggage. A snarl of travelers. but not grumpy... happy and easy. When we saw the  mountian of people we were both a bit concerned- but getting to the gate was actually astonishingly simple, and it was such a nice surprise not to have nightmare before 7am... The flight to the island was short, and by 9:30am we were on a tropical island... We found our way to the counter to buy a ferry ticket, and in 5 minutes we were on the mini bus to the pier. As we got in I said to tate, You have your wallet and your passport? and he felt in his front pocket and said, yep. I said good, becasue none of this other shit we have with us means shit without our wallet and passport. The short drive to the pier was our first real glimpse of the water fights, kids sitting on the side of the dirt roads in bathtubs with buckets throwing water at cars and motor bikes driving by... Makeshift roadblocks where all the bikers are stopped and buckets of water is poured over thier head. It might seem awful, but it's totally amazing. First of all, it's hot as balls, so the water is welcome, and the other thing is- you know it's coming so your ready- We have all our electronics in plastic, we brought the waterproof camera especially for this reason, and my cellphone is in a plastic bag... BRING IT. The van stops and the driver points to the pier across the street. There are a lot of people with buckets, not sure if luggage is out in terms of things allowed to be soaked... we get out of the van/bus and are a bit relieved to see that we are not going to get soaked, at least not for the moment, and we walk the bags down the bumpy dusty road to the pier. We sit down- we have an hour to kill. It's hilarious to me that they are playing B.O.B. and loud... how does shitty american music travel like a virus across the planet? Tate puts his hand in his pocket and i see him jerk, like when you see a bug- that fear jump. He leaps to his feet. His wallet is gone. It was just in his pocket. And now, it's not. He searches his bag, its not there. His pants, he just had them. I just asked him NOT 5 MINUTES AGO, and he had it. He must have left it in the van. It must have slipped out of his poket. No way he got ripped off, no one was even within 10 feet of him since the bus... i KNOW he had it, he paid for the ticket to get on the bus! OK. Don't freak. Deal. Tate waits at the pier. I talk a guy into giving me a ride back to the airport, maybe i can find the driver. I decide simply, not to panic.  He's still got his passport. I scanned and photocopied all the credit cards before we left, i can cancel them. I've still got all mine. So there was a couple hundred bucks, american and thai baht... fuck it. We can do without it. A nice man who speaks virtually no english takes me back to the airport. His 10 year old daughter rides with us. It's wierd to leave tate with the bags at the pier. There are a series of fairly terrible senerios that run thru my mind. Abduction, death, separation from Tate, speaking with the authorities, "and this man told you you should get in the van with him...?" you get the jist. I decide again not to log onto these thoughts and stick with the task at hand. I cannot believe how awesome i am that i brought a thai phrase book. i had it in my hand at home, almost didn't take it... then figured, oh fuck it, couldn't hurt. I look it up- there it is:  "i lost my wallet" amazing. I am taken to the place where the van drivers chill, none of them speak english either, but the phasebook and a degree in acting kick in- and we figure it out. A call is made, there is a walkie talkie involved and at least two cell phones are engaged... I am taken to an office where another guy who doesn't speak english reads the phrase in my book- I've lost my wallet- this book is so rad... It's black i say pointing to my purse. It's my husbands... its not me. Man, husband. Oh fuck it... doesn't matter. The driver comes in and says "ok, we go back to pier. Driver meet us there." Does he have it? I ask.  He says a lot of things, none of which are in english. I don't know. I dont think he knows...But i decide to be optimistic. We'll wait for the driver. We drive back to the pier, the water fight has taken on  a whole new level. People are waking up. Thats when i remember it's only 10am. People are just starting their day. It's a holiday.The ferry leaves at 10:30. As it stands now there is very real possibility we will miss that. Ok, well, fuck that too. Nothing is broken here, we can fix all of this. I see Tate who has clearly been talking himself off a ledge in my absence. I walk up to him. "It's gone" he says. "not yet, the drivers coming lets see what happens." I ask the driver how long till the other driver comes. "100% coming. 100%."  Ok, but how long? does he have the wallet? What does 100% mean i wonder... 100% he has it? 100% he's coming? The 10:30 ferry arrives. shit. It starts to rain, i mean like huge fantastic tropical 7 minute huge rain. Saddly for those getting off the boat, they will walk the entire length of the pier in the pouring rain. that sucks. they should wait 10 minutes, this isn't going to last. The rain starts to let up. I see the guy. The original driver. He's walking towards me, in the rain, like a scene out of a movie. With the wallet. He totally has it. He totally has it, and everything is still it it. I know thai people don't shake hands but i can't help myself. I'm nodding and bowing and saying thank you... I reach into the wallet and grab 200 bhat and shove it into his hand. I can't remember how to say thank you in thai right now- I'm so happy so i say it in english. Tate comes walking over and says WAIT to the guy. He reaches in and shoves even more money into his hands. 40 american... who cares... He had the wallet. we sit there stunned. I can't believe we got it. I can't believe it. AND we are gonna make this ferry. And just like that, the clouds part, the sun comes out and we get on the boat. ---- The ride to the island is short. I feel the sun on my back and put sunscreen on. the sun is really really hot down here. It's a different beast. I put my hat on. We get to the island and meet the pick up truck for our hotel.  We check in. The pool sits up next to our room... Like, it comes up to our patio. The pool. On our patio.  it's absurd, and delightful. We walk around the island. We get drenched by cold water. It feels great. The happiest silliest people in the world wipe our faces with flour water mix... people shoot us with water and scream happy new year!!! It's like mardi gras. or vegas or neither. It's like songkran. We eat. We have a coconut shake. We nap. We relax. We sit by the pool. We have dinner. And we realize. 3 days. 18 to go.

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