Maybe it was a little premature to announce the return of regular entries... I'm sorry about the lack of blogging lately- a mix of too much work, miles of travelling, and too few precious minutes of internet access have left my blog trailing behind my life. We're currently in Trang province, where our work is taking us among a string of gorgeous islands. Our favorite island so far is Ko Libong-- it's the largest of the islands, but also one of the least visited. In fact, there are only three small guesthouses on a single beach-- the rest of the island is used for agriculture and rubber tapping. Even the beach with the guesthouses manages not to feel too commercial, as it's split right in the middle by a small village.
While walking past the village yesterday, we passed two boys picking coconuts from a tree. They stopped us, and directed us to watch as they chopped them open, then offered us each a drink. It was much tastier than other coconut juice I've had-- as fresh as possible, and still cooled by the shade of the tree. We gave them back the coconuts, and after they each enjoyed a drink, they hacked the coconuts in two. With a twist of the blade, the smaller boy created a spoon, and gave us a half to enjoy the tender coconut flesh.
On the way back through town later that afternoon, Bordeaux and I stopped at a general dealer's to get a drink. While we relaxed in the shade, we were joined by a man from the village, who was taking a break from working. He was building a new guesthouse, he explained-- pantomiming nailing, in case we didn't understand. After asking us the usual questions about where we were from, and where we were staying, he invited us to join him for lunch. We were each given a plate heaped with rice, and we served ourselves modest spoonfuls from the soup bowls. The first was a clear broth with chunks of beef, the other a spicy-sour curry of shellfish. Though it was a modest lunch, it was very tasty. And more than anything, it was a generous gesture on our host's part-- and it was certainly far more interesting than eating at our guesthouse. Finished, we thanked our host, who suggested we come back in 2009 to stay at his guesthouse. Hopefully we'll return to take him up on the offer.