Thursday, 18 August 2011

The Land of Smiles

Both of my parents were very much into movies and they would take my sister and I on a regular basis. "For Whom the Bell Tolls" "Where Eagles Dare" my dad and "Gone with the Wind" "10 Commandments" my mum. How they expected a 6yr old and a 8yr old to sit through such epic 3 hour plus movies I don't know, but we did.

I shared my mums passion for musicals and could still recite my favourites word for word now, but the stand out musical for me was "King & I". I think I fell a little bit in love with Siam and Yul Brynner (this may explain my penchant for bald headed men).

My delight and excitement when my husband said he had booked a trip for Thailand couldn't be contained, I was fit to burst and a little wary I had never been this far flung before, would I like the food, I don't particularly like flying and was also aware there was a seedy side to our destination. We were to go to Bangkok for three days, one of which had been arranged to go to the war museum on the border as my husbands father had been a POW there in the Second World War. And then onto Koh Samui for a further ten days.

Bangkok was a complete barrage on every sense, the hustle & bustle, the colours, street food, bartering was a delight, any worries were unfounded. I loved this place, covering as much ground as we could on tuk tuks and the skytrain. Our trip to the war museum was quite eventful, my husband got bitten by a scorpion, his father survived 5 years there and my husband was felled in 5 minutes! So I was quite relieved to be flying on to the island the next day. It was quite literally like flying into Fantasy Island, I could almost hear "Da plane da plane" as we landed. And after a hectic few days we were looking forward to the R&R. This place did not disappoint it was completely stunning, the attention to detail unbelievable.

I really enjoy visiting new cities and exploring but my favourite bit is the beach, and this was paradise. I had settled on to my sunbed with my book and noticed a young lad in his early teens at the end of my sunbed with a beaming smile and a cool box. He asked if I wanted to buy an ice-cream, it was about 11 in the morning and I didn't really fancy one I said if he was around later I might buy one then. Around 2 he arrived back, could I have a Magnum or something similar, he was gutted as he had sold out of them earlier and I really didn't like anything else he had. He said he would see me tomorrow and he would have a Magnum. I felt a bit bad as I felt like I was fobbing him off as this clearly was his way of making a living.

True to his word he was back the next day with a Magnum his name was O, he asked my name and he pronounced it Shalon. There were other young lads selling ice-cream on the beach, but for the remainder of my holiday I would buy mine from O.

The day before we were due to leave O asked what time I was leaving and would I meet him on the beach before I left. All packed and ready to go I went to the beach to say goodbye to O, he was so pleased I came. He then presented me with a red box, I looked at him quizzically without looking in the box. His eyes implored me to open it, inside was an elephant wind chime, I don't deserve a gift I said to him and he said Shalon you have helped me and my family and I want you to take this to remember me.

Every time the wind blows through my dining room and I hear the tinkle of the wind chime I think of O, and his generosity of spirit and the Land of Smiles.

Sha X

1 comment:

Tarin Teague said...

what an amazing and beautiful story . i look forward to more :-)

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