Settling into beach hut on Cherating Beach

I’m sitting on the worn wooden porch of the hut where I’m living right now.  I’m looking out on a small field with a white horse grazing on long grass.  It has a dirty long tail that reaches the ground.  The tail’s quite luxurious, actually, and the horse is continually flicking it to keep flies off.   Maybe I’ll buy it some carrots when I go into town today.

To my right is a hill that rises steeply above us, tropical jungle, lush green trees and vines suspended from them.  There is a particularly splendid large tree bridging the earth and sky which looks like the tree of life.  To my left, in front of my beach hut, is a large palm tree where I saw two monkeys playing this morning.

I went to have my lesson with my Russian student online who works in Siberia at the restaurant nearby, but the signal wasn’t strong enough for us to have video.  I need to find a stronger signal for teaching on Skype.  In my room, I can only get one bar (out of 5 which show how strong the signal is) – that’s enough to email, but not Skype.  After our lesson when I returned to my hut, the monkeys had taken the lid off my trash can.

I’ve been studying the Malaysian language since I arrived here in January.  Now I am starting to speak in sentences.  It’s quite an easy language to learn, and I find that I don’t have to work very hard at remembering new words.  I’ve studied ten lessons in a very good book, and worked my way through a couple children’s workbooks.  I really enjoy workbooks.

I saw eight monkeys foraging for food in the trash as I went out for breakfast at one of the open cafes on the main street here.  Maybe it wasn’t a whole troop, but there were enough monkeys moving about to make me a little nervous to walk past them.  Macaques.

There are so many birds here that I’m not familiar with.  I’ve been listening to their calls.  Some have lovely songs.  It’s been raining off and on.  There’s a gently breeze blowing right now… a proper zephyr, it is.  It cooled off quite a bit last night.  I didn’t sleep too well, all these jungle sounds kept me awake, peepers, birds and frogs… and I could really have used a blanket.  Also both pillows were feather, which I’m allergic to, so I’ll remedy all that today.

But the energy by the sea is very gentle and sweet.  Once I get used to it, I’m sure I’ll sleep well.  I have a roommate, a pale yellow lizard about 4″ long.  He doesn’t take up much room on the wall, but I can hear him moving about.  I also heard something chewing on something early this morning.  I was careful to discipline my thoughts not to imagine too much about what that something was.  I think it was surprised when it heard me moving; it’s probably been a while since someone has lived in this room.  I didn’t hear it again, so I think it moved on when it realized the room was now inhabited.

I had to kill off the fire ants on the steps of the porch yesterday that kept swarming out of a hole.  But I wasn’t surprised to find a hazard here.  It was their cheapest room, only about $3 a day, but it has windows on both east and west walls that catch a sea breeze.  It’s actually a good size and has a sizable square bathroom that you step down into.  The bathroom has nice tiling, but a funky toilet with the tank mounted on the wall high above it.  At first I had to pump the plastic handle to get it to flush, but now it’s flushing easily.  Surprisingly, there’s a mirror on the wall, (although not above the sink) and a good, long sturdy towel bar.

So I was up early and went out by the beach.  I watched two guys pull up in a car just before dawn.  They were waxing their surfboards, even though it started to drizzle.  The waves didn’t look large enough to surf, but I noticed later that they were considerably larger.   Fabian, my new French friend, told me that surfing season is really over.  The best waves are in November and December during the monsoon season.  We’re entering the dry season now, but it’s still plenty wet.

It’s just about time for the leatherback sea turtles to come in and start laying their eggs.  I’m looking forward to seeing that.