Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Az and Ellie

I’d been on Chang 72 hours without meeting a native English speaker. Like a Trappist monk, but with a more varied wardrobe. Or a modest Robinson Crusoe: loincloth strictly optional. Wandering down the beach one day, I was climbing over some rocks when I overheard a couple heading towards me, speaking said native tongue.

“Oh my god…are you actually English?” I asked, incredulously.
“Yes…” replied the smiling woman “…are you?”

I beamed. “I thought I was the only one here. We haven’t been this outnumbered since
Dunkirk.”
“You’re the first we’ve met, too.”

This called for a beer, obviously.

We walked up the beach together. Azer is an affable Kiwi, and speaks even more quickly than I do. Which is pretty quickly. Ellie’s a freckled English Rose. Both of them very chatty, so I tagged along with them and we went for a few beers. The afternoon flew by. They’d both been working on a yacht in the Caribbean for a couple of years, and had just escaped to roam the land for a change. They had some interesting tales of arrogant rich folk, snooty models and their coke-freak of a patron. The guy would get that wired on the mind-blowing Caribbean powder constantly available, that he would frequently insist he was dying of a coronary and demand Ellie accompany him to the nearest hospital. Which meant docking the boat and scooting off in a jeep with this deranged sexagenarian Scotsman…only for him to recover on the way there. He killed himself recently, they said. If I was a millionaire playboy with nothing to do all day but sail the seven seas with A-grade coke and beautiful women, I’d kill myself, too. Not.

Az and Ellie were great company, and I happily whiled away a few days with them. One of my favourite stories they told me about the yacht regarded the millionaire who hired it while staying on an exclusive island. He wanted the boat at his beck and call every hour of the day, yet never actually went out on it. He just wanted it in sight of his window when he awoke…to the point of actually radioing down one morning to get the crew to back it up 20 metres, as he couldn’t see it from his bed. Insane.

We attended the opening of the Air Bar one night, free BBQ and all. Lovely location up on the rocks at the southern end of Ao Yai beach; check it out if you ever visit. We didn’t stay long though, it was full of Germans…including some classic examples sat at the bar. White vests, sandals with socks, bumbags and permed mullets. Classic. I’d have taken a photo surreptitiously, but it was impossible. Would have been quite rude, too. I know…it’s never stopped me before. Maybe travelling has mellowed me? We left just as Sting and Johnny Rotten turned up, pissed out of their heads. Great timing. Even their fellow countrymen looked appalled. So pleasing it wasn’t drunken English louts, as is usually the case. Provisionally arranging to meet Az and Ellie on the early boat next morning, I headed off to Gan’s for a nightcap.

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