Can you help me get rid of some old bamboo?
It’s low season now on Koh Lanta, a time when many business owners do maintenance work to get their places ready for the next high season of tourists. My friend and her husband have a small bungalow place here on Koh Lanta. The bungalows are fairly basic but are super clean, safe and in a beautiful romantic garden setting. Every 3 years they have the bungalow roofs re-thached and this work is happening now.
Replacing the bamboo panels means that the old ones need to be disposed of. There was this huge mound of old bamboo piled high in the middle of their garden and it was growing daily. With only half of their 16 bungalows completed, the pile had to be removed to make room for the old bamboo from the remaining bungalows. My friends know I’m very physical as I exercise and doing yoga daily, so they asked if I could help.
When you think about it, the situation is very crazy. Of all the people they could ask, they asked me! I’m 61, female and the the temperture is in the mid-30s (C), as in sweltering hot. Of course I said yes! I will always be there helping a friend. And I love crazy and anything physical!
I did have the small problem of not having appropriate clothing to wear. I didn’t have any work clothes, so I made up an outfit that would cover me from the sun and the bugs. For sure I looked like this big idiot clown, and they gave me a hat that was to die for – as in die and hide so no one will see you!
The bugs all over the bamboo were out of this world. A bug biologist would have been thrilled. You name it – from small to large, from bitting to more biting, and so ugly. At least I had running shoes on as the last thing anyone needs is to get foot cuts or scorpion bites in the middle of ‘way out there’.
I was having a blast. We loaded up their pick-up truck with the bamboo, piling it as high as well could on the flatbed. It took a few hours as we had to make many trips hauling the bamboo from the pile in their garden to the truck. Teddy, their St. Bernard, and her sister, Pooky, were our cheerleaders. They were encouraging us the whole time, the sweethearts, and of course, getting in the way. We laughed a lot and I felt I bonded even closer with this wonderful Thai woman. She was so hardworking and very focused on the best way to pile up the bamboo on the truck with supporting sticks. She then secured it with ropes so it wouldn’t all tumble down on our way to the local dump.
I got to haul a load to the local dump with a Thai, and I’m a Farang woman over 60! Crazy doesn’t get much better!
What a fun trip to the dump! We had to drive up up a bumpy rutted road from their resort to the main road. A few times we had to get out and pick up the bamboo falling off the top of the flatbed pile. Once on the main road we were okay. But then we came to the dirt road that would lead us to the dump. As it was rainy season this road had sections full of mud-lakes in deep ruts. We laughed and joked about getting stuck in the muck with the truck and no hope of getting rescued. You see we were in the mountains in the centre of Koh Lanta cut off from transmission lines so our phones weren’t working. Even if we could somehow get out of the truck, wade through the muck and walk 2 km down the road, I sure didn’t want to be the one to tell her husband that we had a problem with their truck!
We made it to the dump and what a place. Garbage bags piled high as far as the eye could see. I wondered if anyone knew of this mess. Of course people know, but the tourists don’t and I haven’t hear the other farangs (foreigners) taking about being there. It seems that all the Koh Lanta garbage is just piled onto this garbage mountain to dry in the sun. When I got out of the truck I hesitated breathing as the anticipation of beyond stink had me concerned. I finally did breath and was surprised that the smell was very weak. This was so kooky and I was loving what I was doing. Not your normal afternoon for a retired over 60 woman for sure!
We drove around the garbage mountain to this fire pit area and unloaded the truck. The pile we made sure didn’t seem like much as the pile back at the resort was bigger. But we felt good. We were hot, very thirsty and the sweat was flowing down our bodies in rivers. What a workout!
What an amazing time I had!
I sure felt alive and strong, and so happy. At 61 I’d done a good job for my friends. I pitched in with all the tasks, never using the opt-out I’m too old ticket. I didn’t want to. The more we worked the better I felt. I’d grown closer to my friend’s wife, learned things about live on Koh Lanta and even had new ideas on how to better interact with the Thais.
I’m ready to help out another day and know they will ask me again to pitch in. Life is full of surprises and if we are positive and willing to give it a go, there is so much to do and be thrilled about.
It’s all good!