Cooking Course, Thai Massage and Wild Monkeys

I made a little bucket list before leaving the UK. Bungy jump (tick), volunteering (tick), working on a farm in NZ / Aus (tick) Great Barrier Reef (tick), swim with turtles (tick), see elephants that aren’t in a zoo (tick) Thai Cooking Course…

A little old lady took us around the markets and helped us with choosing ingredients. Then, back at her house, let the cooking begin! I was smiling throughout the whole thing and was in my element. We were taught the fine details such as how much sugar is the perfect amount to compliment the salt, what smells we should be searching for and how to tear a Thai basil leaf correctly. I have now perfected the Thai green curry, Pad Thai, and for dessert: mango and coconut sticky rice.

***

06/05

Today I spent the day with Anne. We laughed and bonded a lot re. getting the shits. Wow that girl knows how to make me laugh. Never have I met such a vile, hilarious human being. I swear she needs her own TV show. We look quite the pair walking around together. Anne is twice my size with porcelain white skin. When we walk around together, some locals point and laugh.

Speaking of locals, let’s get a traditional thai massage. I think it’s time.

I was a little nervous because I have quite tight muscles. But, no pain, no gain. As my Dad would say: pain is just a weakness leaving the body.

Good lord it was amazing. I now feel as light as a feather and at least 6 inches taller. The little Thai lady was stood on me at one point. Her elbows prodding me in all places (probably would be arrested in England). At times it was a very fine line, especially when she was pressing her elbow up my inner thigh. But what can I say, it was certainly an experience. At one point she was stretching me out by pushing her feet in my armpits. Weirdly relaxing.

07/08

Slept like a baby on the sleeper train last night (heading back to the bustling Bangkok). There is something strangely satisfying about sleeper trains – being in your comfy elephant travel pants, get rocked to sleep by the motion, praying you don’t get killed in your sleep. Just kidding, as long as I sleep with my phone, wallet and passport under my pillow, I feel quite safe on them. Then getting woken up about 5am by the little train man with his selection of breakfast drinks: “Copi? Oran joo? Copi? Oran joo?”

***

Dodgy stomach again today. Oh Thailand.

***

Explored Chinatown in Bangkok. It was SO busy. A back-street maze of pashmina scarves, tacky key-rings, street food and hair extensions. Heaven for pickpockets, I’m sure. I cuddled my backpack to my chest like a real loser.

The craziness of Bangkok continued into the evening. We took a taxi to the famous Khao San Road. It is exactly how you would imagine Bangkok to be. Loads of flashing lights, loud music, lady-boys dancing outside bars and clubs and Tuk Tuks galore.

Had the spiciest food I’ve ever had in my life (and I’m pretty good with spice). I made the mistake (mistake because I currently have a fragile stomach) in asking for “normal spice” i.e. how the locals have it. Even though I was sweating, nose running and my chest to my scalp felt like it was burning with blisters, I would still say the dish was phenomenal. Because at the time when I was eating it, there was no pain. Just the most complex, glorious concoction of flavours that my tongue has ever sampled.

***

Hatred for Sek, our local guide. He told me and Anne that two new people were joining our group: 2 professional 23 yr old rugby players from Melbourne. We saw them on the name list, “Phillip and Laren” and painted a glorious picture of them in our heads. It was too funny when we finally met them. Firstly, they’re not from Melbourne, they’re from Canada. Secondly, they don’t play rugby. And thirdly, Laren is a woman and Phillip is her husband.

09/05

I’ll be home in under 20 days. How mad is that? I’m up early, sat on the train, looking forward to what the day will bring. (…madness)

After our third sleeper train experience, we arrived in Surat Thani about 8am. Me and Anne headed off alone to Khao Sok national park to do some hiking. Anne told me it would take an hour. When I asked to confirm that it would be about 60 minutes, she replies with “ha, I don’t know. I guessed. An hour sounded about right.”

At this point, we were already on the sweaty, very suspect local bus with little water and no snacks. I checked the guide book and my heart sank when I read ‘journey time: 3 hours 30.’

It was one of those experiences when you laugh a lot because you’re delirious. And because Anne makes my stomach hurt with laughter so much anyway. I asked her to articulate our adventure:

“Separated from the herd, we boarded the tin can of hell. The smell on board could best be described as wet Swiss cheese in sweltering 40 degree heat confined in a used ziplock bag. I am to this point unsure if that scent was emanating from the vehicle, my body or Liv. I have a strong suspicion it may have been my feet, but some things are better left unknown. We sat at the back, surrounded by windows -turned hot plates. The windows were rolled up in an effort to preserve the AC I’m unsure actually existed. That combined with a short water supply made for ideal dehydration conditions. There were locals also on the bus, causing the vehicle to stop many times to deliver what I assume must have been great Thai drugs or rotten fish (which may have contributed to the smell?). The bounce of the vehicle made me wish for a bra with better support as I worried my breast might knock me out at anytime. Not to mention I sustained severe brain damage and Liv possible haemorrhaging of her organs but rib puncture. The only treatment available was hysterical laughter.”

Thank you Anne for your perfect word choice.

Spirits were lifted on our glorious hike. We saw wild monkeys swinging from the trees and we got extremely close to them. One was eating a snake. An actual snake. We swam under waterfalls and discussed how perfect life is right now.

Perfect minus the dodgy stomachs. We feel we ought to take a step back. We have become too cocky, too confident – drinks with mountains of ice, swimming in unknown waters, eating raw salads, street food chicken and smelly prawns. We must look after ourselves and realise that we are not invincible.

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