Today was a relaxing, hang out kind of day. Woke up at 7:30AM to a beautiful beach view. I decided to take my first swim in the Gulf of Thailand and was pleasantly surprised to find out that even this early the water was still in the 80-degree range. We can barely get that in New Jersey after 8 hours of blistering sun beating down on the ocean. I was also pleasantly surprised to find out that the beach was completely deserted. Early morning notwithstanding, there is nobody here right now. Perhaps it’s the time of the year, or this particular day/week, but I have the entire beach to myself.
One thing that is a little bit disconcerting are the “wild” dogs. The dog owners here obviously have no problem letting their dogs go wherever they want, and so several have claimed the beach as their own. They don’t bite (according to Su after she spoke with a few of the owners) but it still makes me VERY nervous to have them following me up and down the beach. I was hoping to get some kind of running routine going while I was here, but there is no way I’m going to do that while there are so many random and unwatched dogs floating around.
Another thing I noticed about the beach is that there are thousands of crabs – or at least crab holes. Most interesting are the very small, almost transparent-looking crabs that scurry into their holes in the sand for protection as we walk by. I did manage to see a few more “mature” crabs, but for the most part they wanted nothing to do with us. They were still quite cool to see.
After chilling out on the beach for a while we were picked up and went to Su’s house. About 20 minutes away from the beach house, her home isn’t quite as remote as I had thought it would be. She doesn’t live in a heavily-populated area by any stretch of the imagination, but she did have a few immediate neighbors that lived very close to her. Her house is very nice and open, which I can only assume is typical Thai architecture since Thai culture is very family-oriented. My guess is that open space is integral to families being able to spend quality time together. I find this quite fascinating, as in America it seems that everyone requires their own personal space in terms of individual bedrooms or office/hobby space.
Lunch was in the form of an absolutely delicious bowl of Tum Yung Guung soup. Su’s aunt is a fantastic chef and this is one of the best soups I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting. We decided after lunch to visit a small stream/brook that Su used to go to when she was a child. It was nice to be able to dip my feet in the water and relax, but I wish I had remembered to bring my Vibram Five Fingers shoes with me – I left them at the beach house like the genius that I am.
The rest of the day was basically just hanging out and relaxing. I took a very brief jaunt on Su’s scooter, we went to a local farmer’s fair to check out the local goods, and then it was back to the beach house to chill out for the rest of the night. One thing I was not prepared for was the salamanders. Yes, there are salamanders in Thailand; there are a LOT of salamanders in Thailand, and they emit a very terrifying sound if you aren’t prepared for it. I was later told that they are great to have around (and in) the house, as they eat insects, but I didn’t find that out until after I almost wet the bed thinking that there was a highly-poisonous Gila Monster hiding in my luggage or something to that effect. They are small and harmless, however, and once I knew all of the facts I was happy to have them around and eating all of the nasty critters that would otherwise be eating me.