Monday, January 05, 2009
Holidays: Whose Good Idea Was That Then?
Hello! Are you back at work? It's cold, isn't it? Right after the last post we jumped into an Addison Lee cab and made for Heathrow. Scrap and S were full of "beans", while I felt completely bloody awful. Sick, tired, full of cold and thick with late-December London booze-fuelled poison. I was looking forward to the 11-plus hour flight as it meant I could sit in a chair for hours drinking Lemsip. You're right, I really was a barrel of laughs. Anyway, that was Tuesday morning. By Wednesday morning we were at the hotel, just about the single best place ever. Instead of wind and rain and grey skies it was hot and bright and quiet and calm and the sun felt good on our mottled, milk-white skins. By tea-time we were enjoying a Singapore Sling and watching the sun - now a blood-red ball - dip down into the Andaman Sea. We looked at each other - quite a lot - either just smiling widely and wondering whether we really were here, or whether it was some sort of waking dream. In fact, thanks to the jetlag - we're still dealing with the return journey's dose - it actually was some sort of waking dream.
We'd be first to breakfast (at 6am) for fruit and noodle soup (sometimes fish ball, sometimes chicken, sometimes white ear mushroom) and coffee. To be to honest, we had noodle soup for breakfast every single day. I generally had a version of it for lunch and dinner too. We were also first to bed (at 9pm at the latest) after a couple of drinks and, possibly, a single delicious gasper on the balcony (although Thailand's policy of plastering it's cig packets with autopsy snaps did take the shine off the moment a little). We usually squeezed in a couple of hours nap in the afternoon too.
So the days began to take shape. We swam, had ten minutes in the sun and got back under the umbrella. Scrap met up with his pals at kid's club for an hour or two meaning S and I could actually read books and relax for the first time in four and a half years. I read Gomorrah and S read The Road Home. S even had to buy more books from the hotel gift shop. She described Second Chance as "by far the worst book I have ever read", but she read it all the same. I tried to work my way through David Simon's Homicide, but after the sharp brilliance of Roberto Saviano's book it seemed a bit ponderous and heavy. Scrap watched Wall-E and Scooby Doo Aloha. Best of all, we watched no telly and ate no cheese or wheat.
After a refreshing nap we drifted down to the beach for a swim or build a sandcastle or to just lie in the warm surf. S had a massage every single day. One afternoon she spent wrapped in something amazing at the spa and came back smelling of amazing oils. I got so lost in the moment I agreed to a pedicure (I can fully recommend the experience). We all got a little colour. The black bags under my eyes began to shrink (that might have been the Clinique products). We got used to never wearing more than swimming costumes. On Christmas Eve there was a party. It was interrupted by a huge downpour, but no one cared. Rain's warm and it feels nice on your head. I took the opportunity to slip back to the room for an unbrella, hoiking down two glasses of champagne on route. The Bangkok Symphony Orchestra played and there was a bizarre dance performance entitled "The Miracle Of Christmas". Santa came by to say hello. We drank wine for the first time in a week (it was horrible).
There was a little row of shops and restaurants outside the hotel where we bought drinks and snacks and had our lunch and got our laundry done (S got a bit obsessed with this service). I got a black pinstripe suit made by a lovely woman in an incense-perfumed tailors. I tried it on for the first time with my bare, brown feet poking out the bottom and liked it very much. We developed a taste for Nori Seaweed crisps and put lime juice on everything. In the evenings we ate steamed crab and the soda or tonic for your gin or vodka was served in its own tiny jug. This was, literally, the best holiday of all time. We came home to weather so cold it made our hair hurt.
Fabio starts school next week. I have "gone freelance". There is snow on the ground. It's always good to be home, but this morning we woke up and said to each other, "Wouldn't you like to be back at the Katathani?" and the answer was, "Yes. Quite a lot, actually."