Footprints on the Sand

At night I had a weird dream about people I haven’t spoke to in years. I woke up with a strange feeling and sat for a while at the porch with the sea and the islands at the distance, and when Roni woke up we went to the town we saw the day before on the way to the shore. We walked through steep paths with red ground, surrounded by plants. The town above us had one main street where most of the businesses worked, and we found a small open restaurant and had noodles soup with pork and barbecued shrimps with black pepper and garlic, and kept strolling. We pat some elephants that were tied in a big yard, standing there as an attraction for tourists who wants to tell everyone back home that they rode elephants in Thailand. Even though elephants always kind of look a little bit as if they are smiling, I had a slight feeling that they were being abused.

We walked inside a supermarket and bought coffee and tea for the room, and some snacks and beers for the evening when everything around is closed. One of the first things that I want to see in trips is grocery shops at other countries. I loved to see the Thai old women get there every morning to buy dried leaves and spices, soups in vacuum sealed plastic bags and cans that god knows what’s inside them, the same way we casually buy the basic groceries back in Israel. I liked to look at colorful snacks for kids, strange packages, soaps that smelled like fruits I haven’t heard of before. There is a supermarkets chain in Thailand and it’s logo is a cartoon bear, and sometimes after you pay you get stumps with funny pictures of it.

Throughout the afternoon we were at the beach, at the chilly water or in one of the small cafes that were scattered around. When we were hungry we came back to the town and had phad-thai with shrimps, curry with pork and white rice. The restaurant was ran by a big family as the women cooked in a completely open kitchen, the younger teens were the waiters and the bellied father sat by the entrance and managed the money. I peeked at the note that the waiter wrote as he took the order from us, at the strange handwriting that seemed to me like alien’s language. Afterwards we bought a green coconut from a gentle woman who cracked-opened it with a huge machete, and we took it to the swing that was tied to a tree by the water. The tide ,was high and washed the crab’s footprints away. It reminded me of something I’ve read once, that when mankind invented handwriting, they were inspired by cobwebs and bird’s footprints on the sand.

We had coffee at the porch and watched the sunset. The man responsible for the elephants took them out for a walk on the shore and the younger ones played in the water, and it made me think that maybe they are treated well because they seemed happy. Afterwards we came back to the same place where we ate lunch, since they told us that in the evening they turn on the BBQ and fry fresh fish and seafood. We had big fried shrimps, phad-thai, papaya salad and rice. The youngest kid, who was about 10 years old, was working skillfully on the BBQ. The whole area was more bustling at these hours, and a few families of tourists and locals sat there. We kept walking around. Most shops and businesses were basically a room in the family’s house, and many times we saw toddlers playing on a carpet or napping on a hammock. Some families owned pets, such as small dogs or strange rodents on a leash.

We finished the day with beers on the porch.

We began the morning after with iced coffee and shrimps in ginger by the sea. The night was rainy and the morning was still a bit dripping occasionally. We stretched on a small hammock under a sunshade, and a stray dog sat with us and looked at the rain. After it cleared we passed the day between the beach and the town, looking at fishermen’s boats in the distance, swimming in the cool water, eating seafood and fried meat with rice.

I looked a lot at the few tourists that were there. The only ones that stayed at the hotel with us were a family of Germans or Austrians with a tiny fluffy dog with a small bell tied to its collar. When they strolled around the father was trailing behind with a floral bathing suite and a wide hat, wiping sweat of his forehead and taking pictures. There was a French couple with a child that spent most of the time kayaking and drinking beer, and many Asian tourists.

The sunset was red and sprout out from the blue clouds, and I thought that just a few weeks ago I was still at my old job and they must be switching shifts right now. In the evening, after we had chopped meat with rice and fried greens at our favorite family restaurant, we sat at a cocktail bar where mostly young people worked, and had beers and caipirinha. The place was almost completely open, half on the street, and a small cat walked around everybody’s feet.

We woke up around 4 AM from a thunderstorm, cuddled and went back to sleep. I dreamt that we have a brand new house, completely different from our home in Jaffa, and there is a cat there that we own now.


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