Covid-05

For those of you who have been following the horror story of my breakfasting in my hotel at Phuket, I have now solved the problem of the unclean people doing their best to infect everyone with their germs. And really I should have done so earlier. This morning I breakfasted on yoghurt and raisin toast purchased at the local 7-11. Everything was hygienically packaged and I had no fear with respect to the coronavirus. The reason. I did not have to sit in the vicinity of the hygienically challenged couple who who have, over the past few days, done their absolute best to spread their germs to all and sundry. There was another upside to shopping at the 7-11. The hotel “restaurant” serves the same breakfast every day. Eggs with sausage and ham. One can only eat so much bland fare without becoming extremely bored.

I woke at 7 AM and so my morning meal was completed by 8 AM. Actually not just my morning meal. Also, my three cups of coffee and associated cigarettes. With such an early start I had completed a half finished story by 10.30 AM which allowed me to meander to my now favourite local Italian café. I drank an iced latte followed by an iced mocha, the best iced mocha that I have ever tasted. The reason. It is made with cocoa powder which lends the coffee a dark musty quality that is offset by a small amount of syrup. And so, here I am at 12 PM writing away ahead of my daily 2.5 KM swim. The swim is essential. I am having my stomach tattooed in early April and, fair to say, it is not in the condition that I had hoped for. No matter. I will get there. I always do when I set my mind to something.

Some thoughts at this time. As I sat on the patio this morning I heard one half of an argument between two of the guests. A man had clearly been woken up by someone likely being too loud. I would also infer that the man who had been woken up was extremely angry and that he had likely sworn at the culprit who was arguing – completely fallaciously – that 7.30 was the time that the day starts. Again I reflect on people’s stupidity, their complete lack of understanding and their inability to have any perspective other than their own. 7.30 is not the time that the day starts. It is just a time in the morning when some people choose to get up.

The argument continued for quite some time and I thought to myself that those two men had tainted their holidays in a way that could not really be redeemed. There would be the awkwardness of bumping into one another that would dredge up memories of their argument. Likely, there would be a seething residual anger each time that they had contact with one another. No matter. They are nowhere near me and I can leave them to their own devices.

Shortly after the argument I observed a mother cat carrying a kitten across the lawn. I knew where she was going because I had seen the hotel staff put out cat food next to the hotel office. The mother cat repeated this journey six times, one for each of the kittens and always meowing so that her offspring knew exactly where she was. I thought of my own cats, boarding at a palatial cattery and I felt content knowing that they were both being well looked after. I pictured my cat Butters who is a cross breed with oriental genes winning out. Butters resigns himself to patiently waiting for my return whenever he is placed in the cattery. My second cat, Pringle, spends the whole time in the roof runs that allow him to explore the entire cattery. On my return Butters will purr and rub against me. Pringle will look at me from the roof space and refuse to come down for at least ten minutes.

Another random observation. Thai’s seem to adore ice cream. Every restaurant, much to my delight, has an array of ice cream based deserts. Ice cream sundaes served in drinking glasses, the ice cream topped off with fruit and a flavoured sauce of one’s choice. Ice cream high towers, served in tall glasses, loaded with bananas along with whipped cream, hundreds and thousands and a glace cherry. Deep fried ice cream, covered in piping hot crispy batter, the ice cream still cold on the inside. Banana splits with three flavours of ice cream, whipped cream piped around the edges, nuts sprinkled over the top and hot sauces dripping down the ice cream. Flambé pancakes complete with ice cream melting with the burning alcohol. I am quite sure that this is not a complete list and tonight I shall peruse the menu much more carefully to find a desert that I have yet to try.

I shall return to the massage parlour where, yesterday, I had a magnificent foot massage for the Australian equivalent of fifteen dollars. I also had a pedicure for the Australian equivalent of five dollars. Honestly, ridiculously inexpensive as compared to Australia where the foot massage would have cost around eighty dollars and the pedicure around sixty dollars. Having one’s clothes washed and ironed is also ridiculously cheap. Seventy Baht for a kilogram of washing which equates to around AU$3.50. I shall have all my washing done before I go home because I like to simply unpack and put all of my clothes away without having to engage in the semi laborious activity of washing it all first.

What else? What else? Well there is the writing of course. Every single day here is my own and the minutiae of life remain in abeyance. I do not have to think about work or eating or cleaning or looking after my two cats, much as I adore them. In fact I do not have to think about anything beyond what I want to write. The days are expansive. Ideas have time to germinate whilst I sit at the café watching the world go by. There is no sense of time pressing. There is simply the feeling of what has been referred to as a “waiting upon”. Waiting for some words to emerge. I might refer to my days as luxurious in this respect. For time is too often stolen from us. Hijacked perhaps in terms of activities and tasks that we would rather not pursue. Not so here. Thus it is that I am entirely at peace.

Holidaying alone, a fact which many seem to find strange. But why strange? Each and every day is my own. I do not have to think about anyone else. And, as I do at home, I converse, albeit to a minimal degree, with the people who cross my path when I am out in the world. That contact suffices for me. Even more so, I am entirely comfortable in my own company. True, I have seen no one else in Kata dining alone. Rather, the restaurants are filled with couples and families, conversing away over their meals. Me. I watch. Not with conscious intent. I watch as a writer which means allowing the environment in, letting myself absorb what is going on around me. Over time, ideas, phrases and words begin to suggest themselves. Sentences coalesce. Perhaps this state might be termed “indirect attention”. Yes it something of the sort. I am done and it is time to swim the two and half kilometres.

I have completed my swim and, as is always the case, I am now sitting on my patio and chain smoking. I know that this is somewhat perverse of me. Swimming in order to remain fit, at least to some degree, and then chain smoking the minute that the swim is over. What can I say? In some way the smoking is even more pleasurable when my lungs have been cleared out by exercise. It takes a while to swim 2.5 KM and I spent some of the time thinking in a not very concerned kind of way about the Covid-19 virus. I would have to say that right now the idea that there is a deadly virus spreading across the world is essentially meaningless to me. The virus is somewhere else, in other countries but not here in Kata. Here all is well.

I have completed my swim and, as is always the case, I am now sitting on my patio and chain smoking. I know that this is somewhat perverse of me. Swimming in order to remain fit, at least to some degree, and then chain smoking the minute that the swim is over. What can I say? In some way the smoking is even more pleasurable when my lungs have been cleared out by exercise. It takes a while to swim 2.5 KM and I spent some of the time thinking in a not very concerned kind of way about the Covid-19 virus. I would have to say that right now the idea that there is a deadly virus spreading across the world is essentially meaningless to me. The virus is somewhere else, in other countries but not here in Kata. Here all is well.

First Published March 2nd, 2020

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