Two Lovely Weekends
August 5, 2019
Last month, my friend Gary and his partner Pat invited me to spend the weekend with them at their second home in Ban Chang, a small town in Rayong Province, a two hour’s drive south of Bangkok.
I met Gary ten years ago in my condominium building. He is a retired American expat from Seattle. Pat, a Thai citizen, is an executive at a Thai corporation.
Gary and I meet frequently for lunch in Bangkok. We discuss our personal concerns as well as the issues of the day, both here and abroad. The rules for the Thai Retirement Visa seen to change by the hour. We share our pleasant memories and our dismay at current events “back home.”
Gary and Pat are “bikers” … the unmotorized kind. Gary just got back from a ten-day ride in Laos and Thailand. We agree that in Southeast Asia, as well as many other places in the world, especially in the rural areas, and despite the language barrier, most folks are curious, hospitable and kind.
The highlight of our weekend together is the visit to the Golden Mangrove Field. We stroll along the “boardwalk” through the mangrove forest adjacent to the eastern shore of the Gulf of Thailand. Lots of photo opportunities for the dense, exotic scenery and the smiling Thai visitors.
The final surprise of the July weekend is Pat’s expert breakfast preparation of pancakes on Saturday and French toast on Sunday. Gary and I smile and confirm Pat’s skill.
Pat is an insistent and generous host.
This August weekend, my friend Mark suggested I join him in Krabi, a town in the south of Thailand, not far from the resort island of Phuket.
I met Mark more than fifteen years ago at his home in Nang Rong, a market town in Buriram Province in Isan, the northeast area of Thailand. Mark and his family now live in London.
Mark works in the entertainment industry. He is under contract in Krabi as a Production Supervisor on a feature film. Since we hadn’t seen each other for two years, we reckoned that the weekend would be an ideal time to “catch up.”
The flight to Krabi is an hour and ten minutes. The delightful cabin crew serve a tasty meal and hot beverages, free of charge.
The highlight of the weekend was nothing more and nothing less than our shared enjoyment of a peaceful holiday on the grounds of the Dusit Thani Krabi Beach Resort.
What a resort! Outstanding plentiful buffet breakfast including food and beverage items to accommodate the mostly Chinese, Indian and European children and adults. A sprinkling of Israelis in the international mix. Delicious Thai dishes as well. Piles of fresh pineapple, mango and watermelon. We eat on the terrace overlooking the lawns, ponds and trees.
Mark and I explore the enormous and immaculately tended grounds.
Two extra-large swimming pools. A broad, perfectly smooth and clean beach that must be a mile wide. White-capped waves roll in from the Andaman Sea.
A modern, comfortable king-sized guest room with all the expected amenities and views of a five-star resort. I just love the white cotton bathrobe.
The important highlight for three days: Jan and Mark never stop talking. Issues related to family, health, work, finances and retirement are all open for frank discussion. British and American politics creep in but we quickly dismiss them.
Mark is an enthusiastic conversationalist. He is also a good listener. Over the years I have counted on Mark to provide “street wise” suggestions and advice. I hope that I have been able to respond to him in equal measure.
Two lovely weekends. In the sun. In the forest. At the breakfast table. At the beach. At the buffet. On my balcony, wrapped in a cotton bathrobe.
I am grateful for all my trusted and trusting friends.
Here at home.
Around the world.