Get me off the streets (get some protection) …

One of the marvellous things about Thailand is that most things are relatively straightforward and hassle free.

I’ll use the example of logistics and compare with the UK:

In preparation for our journey to Thailand, we had booked in advance and paid for train tickets to Manchester Airport. Then the rail workers announced a strike on the Thursday and Saturday flanking our flight day, so we had to find alternative transport as we were warned our train might be cancelled.  I currently live in Rossendale in the UK and Donna lives in Clitheroe so other means of public transport were impossible without one of us catching four buses and the other two.  After me checking uber (and failing) then Donna phoning several different taxi services to find someone willing to take us to the airport, she eventually secured a very expensive transfer with Steve the egoless Shaman who got lost on the way.

Here in Thailand transport is easy: you can haul a tuk tuk or taxi in the street to take you anywhere if you’re in a big town,  and of course there are trains and boats on the mainland.  Here in low season there aren’t taxis and tuktuks on each corner because they’re having a rest.  However,  in the absence of them, you can literally ask anyone how to get anywhere and they’ll sort it out for you immediately.  And that’s what happened when we decided to visit the Old Town here in Koh Lanta.  I mentioned to my muay thai trainer that we wanted to go there.  He took my number, and the taxi,  a small benched utility vehicle, arrived at our hotel at exactly the arranged time and took us to our destination. 

And what a destination. 

Almost too perfect and too much like the Thailand that you might dream of.

Imagine passing little shacks nestled in lush greenery with chickens bobbing about foraging for food; the smell of street food mingling with that of damp tarmac and the scent of after-rain flowers and leaves; children giggling and waving as you pass.

Then your taxi parks up at the end of the main street where there’s a large patch of grass with people napping in the shade of the fragrant frangipani or magnolia trees (I get them mixed up but they both smell nice.)

There’s a large sculpture of a lobster at the end of a wooden pier that stretches out into still waters studded with small islands towards a distant mountainous land mass that protects this part of the island from the waves battering the Western shores.

Sounds idyllic, doesn’t it?

Well, it is.

But the real icing on this delicious cake is the delightful main street.

It’s not too long, nor too short.

The left hand side is mainly a cornucopia of small shops and the right hand side is mainly restaurants that stretch all the way over the sea on stilts, so you can go right to the back and sit on a chair or a swing and drink in the view.

It’s proper hot and,  each time we managed to walk five minutes, we sought shelter, either in a shop or a restaurant. The former were invariably too hot to stay long, and the latter found us weaving through tiny gardens and negotiating rickety platforms to get to the aforementioned viewing points “for a sit down and just a drink” before ordering food because we felt bad just having a cup of tea.

Three nice sit downs and two full bellies later and our driver phoned us to say he was picking us up.  We’d planned to stay until late in the evening, but did as we were told and returned mid- afternoon because trying to explain over the phone that we wanted to stay longer didn’t work.

It was exactly the right thing to do though because we were able to have a mini adventure in the comfort of our own familiar environs watching a storm brew over the sea. Then the storm hit land. Stuff went flying, we had to move ourselves and our food to a more sheltered table, and then the power went out and we were in total and complete darkness for a few minutes.

Once the electricity came back on and we sat listening to lazy jazz and blues against a backing track of wind and rain, we took a while to just absorb and enjoy the feeling of being in such a calming place in the midst of a storm.

Storm or not,  it’s virtually impossible to be anything other than calm and relaxed in this place.  I love it. 

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