This of course brings us to the very obvious question, which E asked complete with befuddled look: If you hate sand and don't swim in the ocean, what on earth do you do at the beach? Plenty. I walk barefoot along the shore; I collect shells; I take pictures of the horizon; I build sandcastles; I slather myself with suntan lotion and wait for myself to tan. Then, as I explained to an incredulous Laya, I return to my hotel, brush off the sand on the concrete walk, and go swimming in the pool. Wild untamed beaches, quite obviously, hold no real allure for me.
Nevertheless, I went down to Pattaya this past weekend and enjoyed myself after a couple of false starts. Our first night there we went to Hard Rock for their foam party, but found it closed when we arrived (but to be fair - what normal club closes at midnight? I ask you). We then went to Palladium, where we bought a bottle of Johnnie Walker and watched with dismay as gay crossdressers who were ten times hotter than us (it's a sad world when gay men are hotter than real women) sang and danced onstage in very skimpy costumes. I consoled myself with the thought that they really sucked as singers - they sounded like cats mating, which is a very likely metaphor - but it did not make up for the fact that their waists were at least 5 inches smaller than mine. At some point I decided that I was not going to leave that benighted club without at least dancing, so I got up on one of the ledges and danced - to The Ketchup Song, because it was the only one I could dance to.
(You may all disown me now.)
The next day we headed down for Jomtien Beach, picking up some glazed donuts along the way. Once we got there we ate again, stuffing ourselves with seafood (well, what else are you going to eat at the beach) and whiskey-spiked cokes. After a brief nap, we were off to play. My aunt suggested that we take a banana boat ride, and I agreed despite my misgivings. I really should learn to listen to my misgivings, because we fell off that stupid boat a grand total of - not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES.
Guess who had the hardest time getting back up on that blessed boat. I even tipped it over once, tossing everybody else back into the drink. It's a wonder they didn't just leave me there.
We got back completely drenched, with me sulking because I hadn't wanted to get wet and instead I'd gotten dunked so many times I was beginning to feel like a donut. My companions - not sharing my neurotic aversion for saltwater - decided to stay in the sea and swim, while I immediately headed for shore.
As soon as I got to shore, though, I caught sight of a jetski. L saw me eyeing it and asked Do you know how to ride one?
No, I answered. Do you?
No, he said. There was a brief pause before we turned to each other and asked, almost simultaneously, Do you want to?
Definitely, I said, But I want to go parasailing first.
So I went parasailing. They strapped me into a harness that was extremely tight, fastened a parachute to the harness, and then hooked me up to a rope tied to a boat. The boat started, went off, and up I went. It was splendid and wonderful and thrilling and breathtaking, and there are no words for being suspended high above the ocean, viewing it from a bird's vantage point. For moments I felt nearly like Icarus, just before he flew too high and melted his wings; and I understood what had made him go too close to the sun, even though it eventually killed him.
(Next activity: bungee jumping. Or skydiving.)
Once I touched down, I grabbed L and we went straight for the jetskis. It took them fifteen minutes to find me a jetski because apparently it was beyond their comprehension that a girl should want to ride alone. All the other women were passengers on their boyfriends' jetskis, but L and I were going to race so that wasn't an option. As it was, L took off without me, so when they finally let me loose on my own ride, he was already out in the deep.
I finally got my jetski and took off. Unfortunately, the jetski was harder to control than it looked - it took me a full five minutes to get it to stop moving around in circles. People were moving nervously out of my way - I must have looked like I was going to run them over, since I was leaning intently over the handlebars. Since I wasn't that sure of my navigational skills either, I decided to play safe and headed out to the open sea, where there was no one to run over.
Eventually I got the hang of it and went looking for L. He wasn't hard to find, even if I wasn't wearing my glasses - it's hard to miss a fair-skinned guy wearing purple from head to toe. I waved at him, he waved back, and we took off, skimming and bouncing across the waves. It's hard to tell who won - the spray would come back into our faces and we'd have to slow down to wipe it away - but we'd speed a full length one way, then do wide turns in opposite directions and do another length the other way.
I am currently paying for that fun, in the form of muscle pains in my arms and the back of my neck. Apparently handling a jetski takes more muscle than I comfortably have, and I'm going to carry these aches until I leave for KL on Wednesday.
That's less than two days away. I can hardly believe it; I've been here almost a month and it's all flown by so fast.
Bangkok, Bangkok, how I will miss you and the people I leave with you when I am gone.