16 June 2024

I ran over a tarantula on the way to the shops the other day.

With rare sartorial wisdom I went to Uniqlo the day before I left for Thailand and bought seven short sleeved linen shirts of various colours, even a shocking pink one, and four pairs of cotton shorts. Two of the shorts were khaki and the others were an alarming green and an anaemic canary yellow. “I’ll get them just in case; you never know” I said to myself, knowing I don’t normally wear bright colours. I thought about this this morning while looking in my wardrobe and trying to see what didn’t clash with what. I noticed that my two suits, linen of course and Hugo Boss naturally, were unworn and that I hadn’t worn a pair of long trousers, socks or shoes for over a month. All I wear here are the above mentioned linen shirts and shorts and flip flops. Even the shorts were too heavy so I bought a few new pairs at a local market. They were very light cotton and looked more like boxer shorts than proper outdoor clothes. It took me ages to get over the impression that I was going to work in my underwear! Necessity is a great motivator so get over it I did and now I’m much cooler.

I hired a little scooter to get me around the island as it’s too hot to walk anywhere and the taxis can be unreliable. It only costs 3000 Baht a month, about 65 quid or 75 Euro. Not bad at all. The bike is a Yamaha 135 Automatic and everyone here seems to use them to get around. Koh Chang is a mountainous island and all development is on the coast so there are a lot of hills. Some of the hairpin bends are quite scary or at least they were the first few times I tried to negotiate them. Now they’re a doddle. There is only one road going around most of the island except the southern tip, which is still wild. The road is about 45KM in length and very varied. The Western side of the island is mainly tourist orientated with resorts, restaurants and the like. Some parts are very tacky while other bits are ok. One of the villages is called Lonely Beach and is a bit like Amsterdam in the 70s with lots of head shops, rock bars and stoned looking young ‘uns all over the place. I don’t like it.

Bang Bao is the place nearest to where I live and where I go to shop. It was once a fishing village and has transformed into a tourist village with a long enclosed pier full of shops and some seriously good seafood restaurants. It is also the base for diving tours and dozens of fabulous looking brightly painted wooden boats leave here every day to bring people to the coral reefs for scuba diving. There is also a flourishing fishing industry so the place is quite lively. I like it.

The Eastern side of the island is my favourite and is very traditional with lots of palm trees and is really the edge of the rainforest. There are a few classy resorts but very little else. It’s off the beaten tourist track.

The other day I was going to Bang Bao on my scooter to get something or the other at the shops. The road is hilly in parts and winds around a bit. I left a dappled section of the road where trees were overhanging and into a sunlit patch. I noticed something on the road just in front of me as I rolled over it. It was moving and had a lot of legs. I think it was one of those huge Huntsman spiders we have here or a tarantula. I didn’t go back to check, just in case it was still alive and pissed off at me! Although spiders are the only critters in the natural world, humans excepted, I get twitchy about, I still don’t like killing them and regretted my lack of mindfulness and for going too fast. Mosquitos are a different matter. They just buzz with potential for swatting. They’re savage little bastards and chewed lumps out of me until I figured out a proper protection regime. I now spray myself with 50% DEET three times a day and they seem to leave me alone. God knows what DEET is doing to me as it’s a pretty toxic concoction. I got a tough nylon poncho for the rains a few weeks ago. I tried it out when I got home and when I took it off again, the whole head section came away. It was like it had been melted with a hop knife. I had sprayed my neck with DEET an hour or so before so I’m assuming that it melted the nylon. Gulp. Koh Chang is not a malarial area so I’m not to worried about that but dengue fever is rampant in Thailand and I sure don’t fancy a dose of that. So, it’s a toss up between DEET and Dengue.

There’s lots of wildlife around. There’s always something running around but I’m getting used to that now. I was in bed a few days ago and something crawled over my foot. Not something large, maybe a moth or little gecko or a smallish spider. In the past I would jump out of bed like a shot but this time I just said feck it and ignored it.

Time for bed. More soon.

About Author