Sunday, May 31, 2015

Love and Thailand

My work has been non-stop.  We’re in the field from 6am to 6pm running around in the bleeding heat, thrashing between tall grass to get to households, only to come home, analyze the data, have a debrief call and plan for tomorrow.  But this isn’t a post about my work.  (There will be a post on that later.)  This is a post about how I currently find myself on another bizarre adventure.

I was invited to a conference in Bangkok, so naturally, I realized this was the perfect excuse to spend a few days detoxing from my field work and deep cleaning my feet from swamp.  (I literally had to cross a swamp to get to one household.  More on that later.)

I fly from Uganda to  Bangkok and then straight to the beach town of Krabi.  I ask to see the travel book from a guy next  to me on the plane and quickly read up about the place.  I did 0 research except pick a hotel and realize that there is good rock climbing nearby. 

I have been to Bangkok before.  Traveled here when I was 22, stayed in a hotel that had no hot water and was rented by the hour, and explored the red light district with a man I had just met:

This wasn’t going to be like that time.

The hotel I picked is unreal.  Elephant statues spitting water, little pretty women always turning up with cold towels and shots of guava juice, 6 pools, and a view of the cliff beach.  I smooth talk/hustle ?Smustle?, my way into getting a room with a Jacuzzi tub.  The room has its own porch, and a Jacuzzi in the freaking bathroom. 

I feel so clever and pretty and even though I keep having to check in with work, well rested.  Until I get to the restaurant and realize, I’m not wearing any clothes.  Or rather I’m the only single person around for miles and miles.  Couples of all nationalities sit near me, holding hands, kissing in the pool, cheersing to their honeymoon/wedding/anniversary/affair.  And I’m alone.  So I order a drink and call Valerie.

“Why the hell are you not here.” 

Of course I invited her but she couldn’t join me because she’s going to Rwanda or some shit. 

“I’m stuck at home with Giardia or something.  I can’t move.”

“Serves you right.  I have a Jacuzzi tub damnit, and no one to share it with.”

What was just before a dream vacation was now tainted by all the loving whispers all around me.   I start to make flirty eyes with the waiter.

Then I heard one couple say “I can’t believe we’re here honey, all this planning, I love you so much.”

All this planning?  I jumped on a plane and barely knew what I was doing until I landed.  How ridiculous am I?  How could I wish it to be any different?  Why would I want to be that couple?

I hope our adventure will be right in the middle of all the others we will make for ourselves.  And when we look back on our honeymoon, at the amazing time we stayed on the beaches of Thailand, we’ll laugh and wonder “which time was that?”


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