After a stormy start to their travels, Paul and Andrew had now made their way down the eastern coast of Thailand for a ray of sunshine or two.
They had arrived at the small seaside town of Prachuap Khiri Khan, just a few miles from the Burmese border, sun cream in hand and sandals on foot. Unfortunately the famous south-west monsoon had other ideas. Unlike Paul, her climactic tears were not yet over and she sobbed incessantly.
The sun had got it’s mac on and it wasn’t out to play.
Not for days.
The blue was grey. The humidity sky-high. And at times the firmament fiercely fiery, as lightning flashed like exploding light bulbs in the hellish heavens. As the boys lay beneath the thunderous ceiling there was nothing much more to do in their steamy abode than reseal their friendship.
And, of course, make new ones.
The small guesthouse they had found was run by a fabulously eccentric Australian miner and his lovely Thai wife. ‘Pancake House’, appeared to Paul, a little flat on arrival. He thought perhaps the owner didn’t give a toss, but he couldn’t have been more wrong. The lovely couple could not do enough to make Andrew and himself welcome. They sat for hours, drinking beer and regaling each other with past exploits. Rob and Pan took the boys out to dinner and encouraged them to sample fermented crab and fresh shrimp cooked in soda water.
Cold soda water that is!
Paul wasn’t truthfully that keen on the raw prawns. He had trouble with sushi at the best of times, yet there was nothing fishy about the proprietors at ‘Pancake’. They were bone dry and utterly charming.
The boys also had the pleasure of meeting another antipodean couple under the canopy, one of them being an old friend of Rob’s. Scott, was half Scottish and the rest of him came from Fiji. He had once been a famous underground fighter in Japan and fascinated Paul and Andrew with his violent tales of ‘throat palming’ and other equally terrifying techniques. As his lovely girlfriend, Mon, refilled their glasses well into the wet night it turned into one very long bout. They knew they should have thrown in their towels, but they were sodden too. Paul and Andrew’s heads were quite split the next day – much like one of Scott’s opponents. Only there was no real blood – just a violent throbbing after one too many rounds. They were most definitely on the ropes, but it had been fun.
The tropical torrent continued for days. The rain came in oodles as the boys went for noodles – drumming tribally on their umbrellas and making speech impossible. Paul knew this quietly pleased his husband, for he was well aware his conversation to be torrential too at times. He knew he liked to reign when it came to a war of words.
There was also something so soothing about precipitation, he thought. After all, it precipitated life. And he and Andrew had come away to weather a perfect storm, not for the weather to be perfect. This, being rather fortunate as it continued to pour. And pour. And pour!
There was really not much to do in ‘Prachuap’ during such inclement times. Paul threw himself into a deluge of classic literature he’d ignorantly rain-checked, and Andrew hit the Ipad, immersing himself in the rather aptly named game of ‘Fishdom’, by which he was horribly hooked.
Paul imagined they would both grow fins before the finish. He, certainly, had never known such a downpour. And he hailed from London!
Day four and the cats and dogs continued to howl down. Paul wondered if they would ever be reined in. It was now sending him slightly barking and Andrew a touch catty. They couldn’t dry their washing, and the one pair of trainers Paul had packed remained sodden. He was worried trench foot may take hold if the old ‘currant bun’ didn’t start to bake the landscape soon.
On the fifth day, Paul had learnt at Sunday School, God created the fish – apparently. He found it easy in ‘Prachuap’ to see why. The town was now practically an aquarium. He was literally drowning in letters. There was little to do but read whilst Andrew sung scales.
Paul knew, like President Trump, that Stormy could be fun, but only for a short while. He was definitely ready for some celestial brightness to return. He picked up his Ipad and looked to the weather map for help. Up north the sun was in her sun hat and he knew there was an Ark heading that way fairly soon. He and Andrew decided to be on it. To head, two by two, in that direction. Away from any more monsoonal monstrousness.
They knew they’d return. It was so beautiful along the eastern gulf of Thailand, and they would love to meet up with Rob and Pan again. But whilst ‘Pancake House’ was taking a battering they would head upwards and wait for the biblical waters to depart.
The deluge would surely give up sometime. After all, even God took a nap on day seven!
The boys couldn’t wait that long, so decided to head
Somewhere over the rainbow,
Where it’s dry,
To a land that they’d heard of,
Once in the Thai Rough Guide.
Paul only hoped the Bluebirds were aloft.