This weekend, T-bone and I decided that it was high time for another of our special, boneheaded adventures. For those of you who know our relationship well, you’ll know that we have a certain, shall we say, penchant for doing dumb stuff. It’s almost an addiction – in fact, if I look back at what attracted us to each other in the first place, I would have to argue that our matching “crazy yet stupid” streaks acted as magnets.
My favourite example of a stupid R’n’T adventure occurred in India, when we decided to go hiking in the mountains without telling anyone. We kept seeing signs of bears, but Todd reassured me that “there are no bears in India.” Just before we reached our destination, a mother bear and her two cubs lumbered out of the woods in front of us. We later discovered that a villager had been killed by a bear in the same area the previous year. This is just one example of our dumb journeys.
So when we decided to walk to the ocean along the canal system, I had the feeling that we were heading for another special adventure.
Our 10 miles trek did not get off to a promising start. We realized that we were out of sunscreen, and tried to buy some at a local store. There were at least 20 varieties in stock, including sunscreen formulated specifically for men (?), but they all contained whitener. We bought the only one that didn’t specifically say “whitening” on the label, but who were we kidding.
Our adventure on the canals lasted all of 20 minutes. After winding its way past several people fishing and paddling in the sludge, the pathway abruptly turned into private property which was guarded by a lethargic watchdog with pendulous teats. She was too pathetic for Todd to pull out his dog whacker. We turned back to the road.
And began hiking on the highway. There’s nothing like a good highway on a hot day. We squeezed our way between the trucks hurtling towards us and the vehicles parked on the shoulder, all the while trying to avoid the random assortment of vehicles that were using the shoulder as a way to travel against the flow of traffic. After a while, this got tiring, so we stopped at a random coffee shop that sells cheesecake with the texture of lard, as well as pottery.
And then we walked some more. And gazed at the disgusting canal, and walked some more. We also caught a local bus, and then it dumped us in the middle of nowhere, so we flagged down a taxi. We didn’t know how to say “ocean” in Thai, so he also dumped us in the middle of nowhere. So we continued walking.
We knew we were getting close because of the smell. Not the briny sea breeze, but something far more pungent. It’s difficult to describe, but it was like a combination of fish guts, pulp mills, raw sewage, and seething humanity. My already low expectations were starting to bottom out.
After a bit off guesswork, we found a back road that wasn’t listed on the map. I’m guessing we may have been some of the first farangs to walk down that road, because we got some interesting looks. The road turned into a path which ran straight to the ocean…
And it was beautiful. The water was dirty, but the shore was a lovely, peaceful place. I kept wondering what the catch was – this is not how our adventures generally end. It was a moment of feeling really grateful to call this crazy city home.
We finally had an adventure that ended well. It’s making me nervous.