Monday, January 23, 2012

The Whisky Diaries - day 3

The lateness of this post is due to a gigantic python.

I'm not even kidding. Totally serious.

Let me tell you the story...

Phuong and I were sitting quietly on our bungalow balcony, staring in rapture at the tiny laptop screen playing the third piece of the Star Wars saga (we were only up to the part when Padme tells Anakin she's pregnant, and despite the obvious lack-of-chemistry-or-acting-skills we were already completely absorbed) when I heard a loud rustling in the scrub from the back side of the bungalow. I leaned back on my rattan to inspect, and caught a glimps of a very long, very shiny, very thick tail. It was awkwardly slithering through the dry leaves and roots of the steep slope, but struggling and slipping -
     "Phuong! Look! A gigantic snake!" I said to her, slapping her arm to get her attention, and as soon as she leaned back to follow my gaze we heard a loud kind of thump-slap, and the snake had fallen from the steep hillside and down under the stilts of the house so that it was directly below our feet. In that moment we were frozen - watching this massive thing through the gaps in the bamboo slats of the floor as it was panicking and hissing and crazy slithering. Phuong started panicking and then we realised that it was coming up over the railing, just a couple of meters from us. I pushed Phuong behind me as I watched it heading into the bathroom area and as its tail disappeared through the doorway, I crept forward for a good look at our villain with my heart pounding and when my eyes rounded that corner I really saw it in full for the first time and let me tell you this motherfucker was no joke. Three metres long, give or take a couple of hundred meters, a shiny silver that I-shit-you-not was like the moon, and it's body the thickness of an English breakfast muffin. The moment I saw it there it also saw me and it did that freaky thing snakes do when the breathe really loudly and hiss and say "Fuck of or I'll mess your shit up." So that's when I decided that we should probably fuck off, because there was a good chance that if we stuck around this babe would really mess our shit up. (Read: by 'mess' I mean 'bite / kill' and by 'our shit' I mean 'our faces'.) We made our way down the steps to get to the bottom of the hill where reception was, listening to the thing knocking shit over in its slithery bumbling confusion as we went.

We were laughing by this stage, you must understand. The release of too much adrenaline into the body in not-so-serious situations results in humans feeling wack and so the receptionist was quite alarmed when I declared that there was a "big-ass snake in our bathroom". She took us relatively seriously and yelled out something to the nearby gardener in Thai, then turned back to me and simply asked "how big?" My reply was a little less laughter-filled as I held my arms up as far apart as I could - and that's when things went into action-mode.

Suddenly everyone (read: all the Thai people) were yelling out to one another, and motorbikes were pulling up with dudes carrying long poles. I turned back to the lady and she told me that she had seen one five days ago. "It was black?" She asked me.
     "No, it was a shiny kind of creamy white." I replied.
     "Oh." Her brow furrowed.
We both paused. Silence.

Well this is greeeaaaatttt, I thought to myself. This place is pretty much a big snakey party town.

So Phuong and I stood around and just waited. Occasionally breaking out into nervous giggles, and occasionally laughing at the other, poor, unsuspecting visitors who were walking up the jungle path to get back to their own bungalows - blissfully unaware of the monsters lurking in those deceptive afternoon palm tree shadows.

So about fifteen minutes later we saw the hoard of heroes slumping back down the steps towards us. No snake in their hands. "It is gone now." The lady said to me.
     "Oh yeah. Okay. Well. Um-" I was entirely unsure whether this was supposed to be a good or bad thing.
     "We not see it." She said solemnly, "but we know snake can be problem right now."
     "Yes. Snakes, I suppose big snakes can be a bit of a problem." I replied. More silence followed. "So can we go back now? Do you think it's safe now?" I asked.
     "Yes should be okay now. No snake there now."
     "Alright!" Phuong and I just looked at each other and laughed, and headed fearlessly (read: we were giggling like idiots again) back up the steps. There was a man with a gigantic broom sweeping the forest floor all around our bungalow, banging the butt of the handle on the ground and on the bamboo walls occasionally. He had really gappy teeth and no English, but was intensely cheerful and rambled at us in completely incomprehensible, but surprisingly reassuring Thai. We made a quick sweep of our surroundings, decided for ourselves that we had no reptilian company and then simply sat back down, hit spacebar, and watched the rest of Star Wars whilst the gardener "swept" around the area.

Oh wait - Phuong updated her Facebook status to mention the event, which prompted a frenzied call from her mother about 2 minutes later. Then we finished Star Wars. I mentioned the event in an e-mail to my mother later that evening and received an informative response about the snakes currently residing in our house out in the Australian countryside, and about the kinds of snakes my mum and dad used to encounter all the time when they were younger and lived on an island in Papua New Guinea. Yes I know what you're thinking, and yes I do have the literally the coolest parents in the world.

So now the story moves on to later in the evening.

We had finished the movie, and I decided to go for a run. Phuong and I agreed to meet up at 7:00pm for dinner at the restaurant, which we did, and then we went together to return to our bungalow. The evening was warm and our bellies were full and we were discussing the plausibility of chemistry between Padme and Obi Wan Kenobi. We kicked off our thongs at the edge of the steps, climbed onto the balcony, and Phuong pulled out the key to open the door with me talking about something to do with Anakin's hunger for power, when my ramblings were interrupted by Phuong screaming "SNAKE SNAKE SNAKE!" Then I heard her slam the door, then I heard a loud thump from inside the bungalow, and then I saw a screaming, panicking Phuong run towards me and grab me and say "What do we do!?"
     I looked at her seriously and said "Calm down. Okay focus, Phuong. Are you sure it was a snake?"
     "I think so."
     "You think so, or it was?"
     "I think it was."
I made an angry/serious face at her, "What did you see?"
     "I opened the door and I saw it's body slithering around the corned of the door, then I slammed the door closed."
     "Did you drop anything or did anything fall down?" I asked.
     "Because I heard a thump-"
     "You heard a thump?"
     "I heard a thump."
     "So there is a gigantic snake inside our bungalow?" She paused. She looked at me.
     "Yes there is," she replied - and we both started giggling stupidly again! But then I realised we should probably get going, so we bounded down the steps once more and announced ourselves puffing and laughing at the desk, that "the big snake is back and this time it's inside."

Well, you can imagine the ruckus this time. The owner came to talk to us and explained that the snakes were in mating season and so extremely active, and as men with all manner of poles and bags passed us heading up the steps, we were offered a change of bungalows to something a little more ground-level and seaside and generally less-jungly. There was apparently something special about our particular abode that attracted the damn thing, and so if it wasn't caught we'd have to move, lest we be killed in our sleep. Literally.

Ok. Cool. No worries! They catch it, we go back. They don't catch it, we move to a seaside bungalow. Simple enough. We sat down at the restaurant chatting and bursting out into sporadic laughter at the absurdity of our dilemma. It took a long time until the men came back, I think about half an hour, and when they did they were empty handed. Far from silent, though, as one of them walked back into the kitchen and announced something loudly in Thai to which there was great uproar and response.
     "Who sleep on the bottom?" The lady at the desk asked us,
     "I do," Phuong replied,
     "You are very lucky girl tonight! The snake sleep near your bed!"
I burst out laughing and Phuong quickly joined in. Somehow the whole situation just kept getting funnier.
     "So you saw it this time?" I asked her,
     "Yes," she nodded vigorously, "we have lot of people but it too big. Gone up and away again. It too big."
More laughter from Phuong and I. But then silence. What now?

The owner joined us again after a few minutes and essentially begged for us to move to a different bungalow, and of course we felt obliged to oblige. You know, just because she asked us. A man escorted us back up to the bungalow to get the things we absolutely needed and his level of alertness and wariness gave me a bit of a hint that perhaps we should be taking the situation a little more seriously than we were. Nevertheless, we quickly grabbed pyjamas and toothbrushes and just as we were about to leave, the man shone a light towards a small gap between the wall of the bungalow and where Phuong's mattress and mosquito net were placed. "That is were snake is," he said, "you are very lucky tonight." And so she was. And so goes this story, of Phuong the 'lucky girl' who might have gotten into bed beside a big-ass python.

The seaside bungalow has superior hammocks and a dinstinct lack of reptilian infestation, and unless the moony beast is caught, we'll be moving there for at least a few more nights. I'm struck by the amusing idea that all of this trouble is just because Mr. Snakey can't get a girlfriend and I'm tempted to draw parallels between this saga and that of Star Wars, but I think that would signify a consumption of too many coconuts on my part... if you catch my drift.

So that's what happened on day #3! I'm writing to you having just finished a delicious fruit salad and Americano coffee, and as I'm also just about to order a fresh coconut. Tonight we'll go for a walk to get a wood-fired pizza and then watch the fourth Star Wars - but I'll tell you all about that a little later.

1 comment:

  1. I Think your snake sounds very impressive and maybe your should take it a wee bit seriously . . .and that is a, I think some snakes are bad news . . . not the rantings of a panicking MUm. xxx Enjoy the seaside bungalow!!


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