16 June 2024

Why has that Indian guy got his hands in my lap???

Took me longer than I expected to get this Blog out. First, we had an earlier than expected harbinger of the rains to come and then the Internet was down for a bit. But all these are just excuses. I was really too lazy and this was because it is taking me longer to settle in than I thought and I hit a sort of wall a few weeks ago. However, walls are always climbable, or at least have a gate in them, so I got to the other side and back to my old self again. Now, this could be good or this could be bad!

I’m now a month in Koh Chang but it seems much longer. It took me a while to actually realise that I was living in a tropical country thousands of kilometres from friends and networks. I knew this on a cognitive level, of course, but it took longer to really get this on an emotional level.  I think thoughts travel at airship speed but feelings travel at sailing ship speed. At least mine seem to. Anyway, they all appear to have joined together now.

I have moved home lots of times in the past, hence my Internet moniker An Spailpín Fánach. A Spailpín Fánach was an itinerant labourer, common in Ireland in olden times, who used to wander from village to village or town to town looking for casual work and having no home. I’m a modern version of that; with an iPad. When I moved to The Netherlands in 2008 it took no time at all to settle in and become part of the local scene so I thought it would be more or less the same this time. How wrong could I be. I had underestimated how important my friendship networks are and how I define myself in-the-world by my relationships. I don’t miss London at all but I do miss my friends and my friendship networks; my family of choice if not of origin but more important to me now than my biological family.

I’m finally getting used to the weather which can be pretty fierce at times. I have an app on my iPad and it tells the actual temperature and the ‘feels like’ one. It constantly feels like the mid 40s here, serious heat. Being a tropical rainforest it is pretty steamy as well and it took me a while to adjust to such high levels of humidity. But adjust I did. I convinced myself that my sweating, gasping, thirsty hotness was my body’s natural way of restoring balance or harmony when it came into contact with the climate which, in turn, is a natural response to Thailand’s relationship with the planet and the sun etc. This gave me permission to stop fighting and just accept that that’s how it is here in Koh Chang, which of course is what it is.

Despite the fact that I avoid the sun as much as possible and slather on shovelfuls of SF30 whenever I do venture out, I’m still getting tanned. My arms and face are now turning brown. The other day I was sitting reading when I noticed a pair of arms in my lap. “Why has that Indian guy got his hands in my lap” I said to myself but then noticed that they were my arms! My legs are still white though despite getting the same amount of sun walking from building to building on this large site. My upper arms, under the shirt sleeve line, are still paper white. When I have my shirt off, it looks like I work in a leather tanning factory!

That’s it. Off out. More soon about mopeds, mosquitos, monkeys and tarantulas too.

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