Today was our last full day at Dolphin Bay. Tomorrow afternoon Christina and I will travel back to Bangkok and spend the night there before taking a bus to Phnom Penh the next morning.
I’ve really, really enjoyed our week here. Thursday (day three) was the day the whole holiday thing started to sink in. I found myself really relaxing, sinking into a place of peace inside I’d nearly forgotten about. There was some pool lounging, some book reading, and some game playing. I helped myself to a little keyboard in a common room and played and sang and realised that I am getting better at playing by ear.
There was also a barbecue on the beach for everyone staying at the guesthouse. Beforehand there was face-painting for the kids and I got roped into helping; I really enjoyed it! The beach barbecue was great – chicken satay sticks, grilled prawns, and other good stuff.
A whole bunch of kids were running around and as the evening grew a little darker, they started chanting “Fire! Fire! Fire!” – impatiently awaiting the lighting of the bonfire. Made of dried palm branches, it reminded me of the “beacon” in the movie Madagascar and went up nearly as quickly! Lots of bats swooping around, lots of green lights in the bay, and a generally great evening. Finished up playing 3 on 3 football in the pool with some TCKs from Cambodia and India.
On Friday I didn’t hit the pool til after 4pm. Instead, I put on shoes for the first time since arriving and Christina and I went adventuring – we hired two mopeds and drove up the coast. We stopped at a little bay with small waves, empty but for the fishing boats, sat in a palm-thatched shelter and ordered food from a little place by the road. We had seafood rice with lime and chili – the freshest and most tender calamari I’ve ever eaten.
We drove all the way to Pranburi and ended up relaxing in the front garden of a little hotel – we ordered drinks and hung out under a frangipani tree that protected us from a little sunshower. One of the more unexpected sights of the trip was four Ferraris parked outside a small resort. All up we travelled 45km. It was a long day but very enjoyable.
The enjoyable day had a less enjoyable consequence, unfortunately, as it brought on a flare up of the tendinitis in my arms. Most of Saturday was therefore spent under the air con playing Monopoly Deal with Christina. Across the road on the beach there was much excitement – a ladyboy beauty pageant was in town. A little fair set up, with food sellers and some other stalls and all sorts of people milling around taking a look. The beauty pageant seemed a big-ish deal, with big cameras projecting on a screen. Loud music (getting louder by the hour) played just outside the guesthouse and white-green-pink neon lights lit up the street.
This morning (Sunday) I helped lead worship for a casual gathering of those staying in the guesthouse. The young woman who lead worship is a TCK originally from Japan, and 5 of the TCKs staying also helped with the music, so I was very much in my element – singing, and spending time with TCKs. A man from Guatemala (who lives in India) gave a lovely message which included comparing the ocean and fishing boats we could see with Galilee and the boats there.
The rest of the day was reading, swimming, playing cards. On Sunday evenings the kitchen staff are off and no evening meal is provided so Christina and I wandered up the road and down a dirt path to a small restaurant she’d found in previous wanderings. We managed to time our walk perfectly to coincide with the heaviest rain we’d had all week and we arrived soaked through (my clothes are still a little damp hours later). We ordered Thai dishes including the best Tom Khar Kai (chicken soup with coconut, lemongrass and galangal) I’ve ever had.
Across the road the little fair, with the smell of grilled chicken and the drone of obnoxiously loud karaoke, continues as last night. I assume the racket will go on til midnight as it did last night. The staff here tell us this isn’t a normal occurrence – they’ve not seen anything like it before. Lucky us!