Monday, July 13, 2009

Gone to the Dogs

I should have known that my housesitting adventure was going to be somewhat less than idyllic when I woke up on the south-bound train to discover that my stop was several kilometers in the distance behind me. Suddenly the cup of coffee that I'd just purchased was completely unnecessary because my adrenaline was wide awake and raging.

I had closed my eyes for a tiny minute after being roused by disembarking backpackers en route to Koh Tao. The conductor, convinced that any foreigner onboard was no doubt headed for the pleasures of Koh Samui, was happy to let me sleep until the train reached the ferry for every farang's favorite tropical island. He was honestly confused when he learned I'd missed the one-minute stop at Lang Suan. "Why do you go there?" he asked and his interest was not perfunctory.

So the man for whom I am now house-sitting had to make his pickup at Chaiya, 70 km further than he had expected, and I started my visit with apologies and a fair amount of chagrin. When we later went for supplies at Lang Suan's Tesco Lotus, I could understand the conductor's surprise at my desire to be there--but compared to the community closest to where I am now, it is indeed metropolitan. Pak Nam is so tiny that its main shopping experience, other than the Saturday market, is a 7/11.

I am in another country altogether from the Thailand I've experienced so far and I'm counting the days until I leave it. This is Alaskan isolation--trees and a stretch of sand and absolute quiet. The weather has been soggy and gloomy and even the dogs look depressed. It's a dandy spot to edit and to practice the joys of contemplation and to write, at least as soon as I'm able to shake the feeling that I'm stuck on Alcatraz.

I suppose I spent too many years plotting how to leave a place that was much like this--although colder--to properly appreciate rustic pleasures. Yesterday the electricity went off and I had to force myself not to hyperventilate.

Once again I'm stuck in a spot with no name, no public transportation, and no sidewalks--just like my formative years on an Alaskan homestead. This morning I woke up to a frog perched in the kitchen sink, looking somewhat dazed. I was positive that I knew precisely how he felt. I folded a dishcloth around him and threw him outside into the grass, thinking that I should probably kiss him and see what sort of prince he might become. However, with my luck his kingdom would be a rural one and I would be stuck in rainy green silence forever.

3 comments:

Tokyo Ern said...

But Janet, you make rustic places sound so poetic. Of course, it would probably drive me up the wall after a day or two as I'm so used to the metropolis of Tokyo (and live in the middle of it).

Janet Brown said...

Yes, it's culture shock coming from Bangkok to the deep countryside. Actually I went up the wall during the first day or two (rain didn't help!) and now it feels much better.

janet brown said...

Yeah--jaded that's me--it comes with being alive for six decades. You shall see, Anonymous...