We’re treated to a good breakfast spread at the Boutique Bootcamp. With military precision they produce tea, coffee, eggs, toast, jam and melon. This softens us up for their news of the day. They inform us that the fumigators are due to pass through today around lunch time which we’re not so keen to hear. This does explain the number of ants and assorted bugs we’ve found making themselves at home amongst our possessions though. We decide we’ll leave them to it and depart to the beach for a few hours. We’re staying beside Klong Dao beach which is a nice, sandy beach that isn’t too busy at this time of year. It’s only 10.30 and already it’s HOT. Far too hot for us to be sitting out for long. Even with plenty of suncream our pale skin is no match for these kinds of temperatures. After we walk the length of the beach we choose one of the few shaded spots where someone isn’t trying to make us buy something and read the books we’ve borrowed from the hotel. Of course there’s a reason there aren’t sun loungers already set up in this spot – we’re fairly overrun with insects. Brodie never actually finishes his book, but abandons it later in favour of something that isn’t complete drivel. My random pick proves to be at least readable. After a couple of hours sitting on the ground loses its appeal and we risk some more intense sun exposure on the way back to one of the resorts where we can get some coke to cool us down. There’s a nice relaxed vibe (for Thailand) on the beach which is a relief after the hustle and bustle of all the places we’ve been to in Asia so far.
We return to the hotel and follow the stern ‘suggestions’ of using the outside shower to make sure we don’t spoil the inner sanctum. Why the owner is so preoccupied with keeping sand out of the foyer when his building is permeated with insects we don’t know. Priorities man! The fumigators have passed through our corridor by now. The question of how much of the building was being done is answered by the neat stacks of clothing in our drawers. The absence of disarray immediately screams out that someone other than us has put them there. We’ve been living out of rucksacks for three months and know that carefully folded items will be dishevelled after one rucksack rummage so we’re more inclined to throw clothes around. Despite the valiant efforts of the extermination crew we’re a bit freaked out to still find insects crawling out of our laptops during the afternoon. My keyboard was not built to house life. It’s also not built well enough to survive me dropping it in shock the next time something launches itself at me unexpectedly. The continued presence of insect life in our room doesn’t bode well for our future here.
We’ve been disappointed to have a growing collection of insect bites since we arrived on the island. Brodie is the first to get riddled with them, but it’s not long before the same pattern is emerging across my feet and legs. The worst are the ones liberally spread about our feet at locations that you can’t avoid irritating when you walk. Because of, and despite the attentions of the fumigator, we’re forced to the conclusion that we’re suffering from the scourge of the dreaded bed bugs. Not even the hostel from hell in Singapore inflicted this kind of discomfort on us. It’s not the kind of idyllic setting we were hoping to enjoy for our last few days on holiday. The pus-filled sores on Brodie’s face are giving the impression of a horrific illness, particularly the one that’s swelling up and closing his left eye. Our night time slumbering is increasingly interrupted by the itching and crawling sensations across our skin. We’re depleting our insect bite cream at a rapid pace and there’s no sign of respite. At this rate we’ll be returning home looking like we’ve been tortured.
Once the heat starts to dissipate outside we arm ourselves with what will soon become a trend for us, cornettos from the local 7Eleven (mine’s a chocolate and Brodie is partial to strawberry), and return to enjoy the beach at its best. The sun is just starting to lower in the sky providing the perfect photo opportunities for even the worst photographers. Cameras are out everywhere capturing the sea, sand and sky as the dying sun casts its rosy glow across everything. I’m collared by a couple and end up giving them their own mini photo shoot. Surprisingly they request more long shots, and there was me being kind and focusing in on head shots that didn’t reveal the guy’s belly straining against his t-shirt. I sigh in artistic disagreement and comply. The cooler breezes are enticing people out and the odd person jogs past now that they’re not hindered by the intense heat of day. We ignore the nagging feeling that we should be one of those joggers and have dinner at one of the beachfront restaurants while the last embers of the sun fade and night descends. Slowly the resort lights wink on and music starts up, adding to the atmosphere.
We discuss our plans for the remainder of our time in Thailand. We’re enjoying the beauty of the island, but we’ve been wavering about venturing up to Phuket to visit a spa resort whose web page has been enticing us with much cheaper accommodation than the Boutique bootcamp and a long list of courses and treatments that can be made available should we wish to avail of them. While Koh Lanta is a great spot to spend some quiet time, the attentions of our uninvited night visitors aren’t really endearing us to the plan of remaining for the rest of the week. We consider merely moving to a different resort on the same beach, but eventually decide to indulge ourselves and see just that little bit more of Thailand. Perhaps we’re just gluttons for punishment, but after one more day at Koh Lanta we’ll flee the bed-bug-ridden Boutique bootcamp and hope for better luck at the Kata Beach Spa Resort where we’ll finish out our beach days.