The Dangers of Thailand
As reports of damage from the tsunami poured in, several of our friends and family expressed concern regarding our intent to travel to the southern beach areas of Thailand. Now that we are here we have discovered a host of dangers… but not those that we expected
It all started inconcently enough on our first day here on Ton Sai when we decided to hike back over to Rai Leh for a quick swim. It was late in the day and we were not going to be out long so we dispensed with the sunscreen, exposed our lily-white bodies to the elements and splashed around in the bathtub warm water that is the Indian Ocean. Emerging with salt-encrusted skin we stood on the beach for a few moments to watch the afternoon sun fade to evening before heading back to our bungalow.
Morning greeted us with crinkly tight skin and the bright pink sunburns that would mark us as the new kids in town, at least until the next group of pale skinned westerners rolled in.
Right about the time that my skin stopped stinging every time I put on my shirt, I had contracted some sort of gut problem. I will spare you the details and only go as graphic as to say that it was coming out of both ends at the same time. Not an experience I would care to endure again.
I don’t think anyone comes to Thailand without hoping to see at least one monkey. What they probably don’t realize is that many of the people who have seen one are somewhat afraid of the little critters.
Rule #1: Don’t smile at the monkeys. It seems that letting them see your teeth is a sign of aggression and may provoke them to attack you. It also seems that there is a near certain chance that if you are bitten by a monkey then you will contract some sort of disease. I read the Hot Zone, I know where ebola comes from, I’m staying a damn good distance away from the monkeys.
Sometimes things don’t work out as planned. While crossing back to Ton Sai over the aptly named Monkey Trail, I heard A call my name from nervously from ahead. Looking past her about twenty feet down the trail I could see a cute little grey monkey with a beard standing watch with about five or six smaller monkeys behind it. It is worth noting here that this was when my stomach was churning at its worst and that these monkeys were sitting between me and the drugs I needed to make it stop. It’s not like we were going to back off the trail or anything.
As we waited and watched, they began jumping up into the trees and walking across the bundle of cables that runs power into Ton Sai. As monkeys entered the trees above us, more took their place and in moments we were surrounded by nearly forty of the mischievious little buggers. some were quite bold and made their way towards us, one as close as three feet. It was unbelievable to see them so close and in a jungle environment rather than at a zoo or a temple.
And then there are the small dangers, like the mess of coconuts hanging directly above our outdoor shower and threatening to land on our heads from ten meters up. Or the danger of wasting a whole day sitting on the beach and drinking exotic fruit shakes.
Yup, life in Thailand sure is risky, but somehow I think we’ll survive just fine.