Being a beach bum is much harder than it looks. First, there’s the sand. It’s everywhere. You think you’ve brushed all of it off your feet, but then every night it’s in your bed, and it’s in the bathroom, and it’s in your suitcase, and it’s in your ears. Taking a walk in it is very taxing. First of all, you’re walking on a slope, so one leg always feels longer than the other (or shorter, depending on walking direction). Some sand is packed hard, but then you get surprised when you hit a soft patch and unexpectedly sink into it. I’m telling you, it's nerve wracking. On top of that, you have to be on the watch at all times for rocks and broken shells and palm fronds, etc. etc.
Back at the beach bungalow, you have to be willing to share your space with other creatures of nature. My roommates are several teeny tiny ants in the bathroom (at least I hope that's the only place they are) and two geckos who I occasionally see zipping up, down, and along the walls. I think one nests behind the TV waiting to pounce on insects that are drawn to the light.
There are lots of decisions you have to make every day, sometimes hourly. Do I lay in the hammock, sit in a chair on the porch, sit in a chaise lounge on the beach, or lay on a mat in the thatched cupola? What about those coconuts in the tree above the hammock? Might they drop on my head and knock me out? It can be very stressful worrying about that possibility.
At mealtime, you not only have to decide what you want to eat, but where you’ll eat. Do I want Thai food or Western food (actually a choice here)? Rice or noodles? Should I try a new place today? Should I take a tuk-tuk to Nathon and try some restaurants there?
And then you have to decide whether you want to be around people or alone. Can you tolerate Patty, the Irish drunk who frequents the bar by the bungalow and uses the “f” word in every sentence, or Paul, who is the the Alaskan friend of Pupay, the sweet Thai barmaid, and who trashes the U.S. in every conversation. I often chose to wait until Pupay is by herself, because I enjoy talking with her. She's one of the nicest people I’ve met here.
At night, I have to decide whether to put on the air conditioner or be cooled by a sea breeze, if there is one. The level of humidity needs to be considered in making this decision, plus the muting of the wave sounds that occurs when the air conditioner is running. Do I want to give that up? Then I have to decide which of two television channels to watch—BBC News or the one channel that televises American TV fare (same programs over and over again). Or do I just surf the net for a while until I’m tired enough to settle in for another good night’s sleep.
It’s a tougher life here than I thought it would be, but I think I can manage to ride it out for a few more days. Yawn….do I take a nap inside on the bed or outside on the hammock? Hmmm…..the coconuts.