Covid-08

Having alternated today, as I have done every day, between writing and sojourning to the local town to drink most excellent Italian coffee whilst people watching, I have a few more observations about Kata, the beachside town where I am staying in Phuket. First, I can only think that there is an awful lot of inebriated marital sex being had in Kata because couples have let themselves go to such a degree, and expanded in size so extensively, that it is difficult to imagine that they find themselves attracted to one another when at home, particularly as the exigencies of life generally militate against finding the time for sexual indulgence.

People remain annoying to some degree. Today I watched as a pot bellied man, chewing gum as a cow chews the cud, postured and protested as he negotiated a reduced fare for a taxi ride. From what I could make out he wanted to pay 450 Baht as opposed to the full fare of 500 Baht. In Australia that difference amounts to AU$2.50. I do not know his country of origin but would guarantee that the exchange rate ensured that the saving was just as ridiculous. There is another dimension to this observation. The locals in Kata are suffering as a result of Covid-19 with tourist numbers significantly down. Given this fact, why the fuck would you try to bargain down a taxi fare just to save a few dollars when those few dollars might put food on the table for a Thai family?

I was finishing my dinner at one of the two restaurants that I frequent when three men of a Middle Eastern persuasion roared up on their scooters and parked them in a no parking zone. The air was immediately filled with the stench of cheap aftershave. The men then proceeded to shout and scream at one another all the while ignoring the two Thai girls who asked them, very politely, to move their motorbikes. The trio eventually moved their scooter when one of the Thai men from the restaurant persisted. Then, to ensure that they absolutely conformed to their stereotypes, they encircled two girls who were passing by. I could watch no longer and so I paid my bill and left the restaurant, glad to be rid of them.

Today, I experienced the first attempt to rip me off. An Indian man pulled up next to me on his scooter. He handed me some scratch cards and told me to peel away the silver paper covering the prizes. Lo and behold, I had won the top prize, either an iPad or a cruise or a free holiday in Phuket. The man could not have been happier for me. All that I had to do was go with him to Patong to collect my prize and there he would show me “nice small girls, very nice”. He was persistent and I had wanted to get rid of him so I told him he could pick me up at my hotel at 10 AM the next morning. He advised that he would not be allowed into the hotel and so I had thought myself safe.

The next morning, around 10.15, he came to my door with one of the hotel staff. I told him that I had changed my mind and he left with alacrity because, I am sure, he did not want the hotel staff to be able to identify him. I began to wonder exactly what would have happened if I had gone with him to Patong and so I searched for the scratch card. Although the print was incredibly tiny, I managed to make out that I would have been sitting in a time share seminar for three hours. So, basically, thank God that I managed to avoid the trip. As for the “nice small girls, very nice”, I no longer have any interest in women. I have mentioned this fact on a previous occasion so it will suffice to say here that the benefits of being alone greatly outweigh the costs.

Tonight I talked with Kannika, the masseuse at the massage parlour that I visit, about her income and retirement. Kannika did not offer to tell me what she earns but I am more than certain that it is a pittance, likely just enough to survive day by day. As for retirement, she told me that she will work until she dies because there is no real pension in Thailand, and certainly not for a masseuse working in a small seaside town. I image that the same holds true for the woman who washed and ironed my 3 KG of laundry for 198 Baht. I would say that she is probably around 30 years old and so she is facing another 40 or so years of washing and ironing.

When this holiday is over, I shall return to my two bedroomed home in Australia, which costs me AU$2100 per month to rent, likely more money than Kannika makes in months, if indeed she makes that kind of money at all. I shall collect my two cats from the cattery and they will continue to live their life of comfort and ease, eating four times a day and being indulged to an extreme by me. I will return to work and, as long as Covid-19 does not result in my losing my job, I will continue to earn my 6 figure salary. My life is a dream. I have a large income, money for retirement slowly accumulating in investment funds and the option of actually retiring should I wish to do so.

First Published March 6th, 2020

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