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Taking Chances

Hyman Weisbord

Chapter 1. The TRIP

Like you, I have read colourful newspaper reports and seen happy TV news stories about septuagenarians who take up sky-diving, or go wing-suiting off cliffs. I have met ’ole folk who sell all their assets and open orphanages for sexually abused Cambodian children.

I have crossed paths and listened to the stories of the fit and not so fit elders who have travelled all their lives and want to go out with that one last, edgy, possibly dangerous, exclusive trip before they die.

I can understand all that.

When the time you have to live is much shorter than the time you have lived, why not take some thrilling, altruistic or legacy enhancing chances?

With that in mind and in preparation for our friend Angie’s 70+ birthday we decided to celebrate and go beyond our Thai town’s borders to find a new, secluded beach.

We took the chance that if we found a guest house, boutique hotel or great bed and breakfast, we would stay out the night. We packed: Passion killers, T-shirt, bathing suit, toothbrush, meds.

Our hotel lent us an Old Beater … crappy back seat bench, no shocks.

Angie drove.

If you’re heading out on a celebratory road trip and the vehicle’s steering wheel is on the wrong side and the stick shift is reversed, you might as well take a chance and let the Birthday Girl drive, possibly into a fatal crash.

Angie had found The Secluded Beach in a Thai guide book and with Google Map pulsating and minimal luggage in hand, off we headed.

It WAS indeed a Gorgeous Beach, and with no one on it.

It was a beach with an 11-km road bordering it providing uninterrupted access and all along the road, across from the beach, wall-to-wall resorts.

Resorts with inflatable castles for kids, hotels for tattooed British blimps, Guest Stays brimming with Russians saving their skin from Putin, B&Bs populated with decrepit old white men with short, wide, middle-aged Thai wives.

We left.

Kate studied Google Earth and we pushed off to check out another deserted beach 6 klicks south.

One hundred metres from the turn-off road to this beach we were blocked by a bridge repair.

We found a dirt road that led to a decrepit boat yard.

From this shore we could see a series of gorgeous islands, and curiously, on one, what appeared to be a temple? a shrine? a Wat?

Kate approached the boatyard dudes and arranged a ride to this deserted beach, around a promontory, easy over water.

I played Leonardo DiCaprio.

The captain played himself.

We were hot, parched, drained already by the days challenges and chances lost.

We needed a swim.

From a distance this secluded beach appeared still and deserted; one or two buildings showed.

With uncanny traveller’s intuition (and unlimited 5G data that is everywhere in Thailand), Angie identified the white building online as  “La Brasserie” and, close to shore, leapt into the water, striding purposefully towards her target.

I thought:

Maybe it was run by French people.

Maybe they were open.

Maybe they had cold drinks.

Maybe they had BEER!

We climbed the steps and looked around and were each, simultaneously, overcome with a “We have arrived.” Smile.

THIS is what we had set out to find.

It checked all the boxes.

The beach was deserted.

The place was stylish and impeccably clean.

The bridge under repair had limited vehicle traffic, keeping other guests away.

What were the chances?

The place was ours!

After a short search, we found the manager, booked two rooms, arranged for dinner and breakfast, had a swim, got back in the boat and returned over water to get the truck.

We had been given a hand-drawn, cow-track map back.

We bumped our way back to the Brasserie in no time and were quickly installed in our rooms.

Chapter 2. The “BRASSERIE”?

Angie is British.

Understandably, she missed the spelling of the place we were to sleep that night.

Here’s what the place was REALLY about:

We looked more carefully and realized that the room keychain in our hands were all hand-made mini replicas of that under-garment that keeps women’s breasts, um, “secured.”

There were women’s undergarments and sleeveless tops decorating the walls.

The place was a kinky paean to women’s breasts!

Was this a joke?

Was that temple on the island a place to worship the young, dismembered female body of an invented legend by some obsessed, hotel-owning westerner?

Were those two islands, so evenly matched, so close together, so pointy, the symbols of the breasts of this young woman?

Would a visit the next morning out to the island temple help clarify what to me was total batshit weirdness?

No, yes and sort of.

Chapter 3. The TEMPLE.

We headed out in kayaks the next morning, moored them at the bottom of the slippery ceramic-covered steps, asked a monkey to keep an eye on them and crawled out and onto shore.

At the top of the stairs the temple was divided into two sections: to the left, a place to leave offerings, to the right: “A DRESS SHOP !” Angie screamed.

She started modelling the ones that were” her colours.”

I modelled the manikins.

Back at the Alter we studied the offerings to discover that indeed, there were brassieres, women’s dresses, shoes, hats, jewelry, perfume and more, all left in homage to the poor victim of a marriage that never was.

Through no fault of her own.

The “dress store,” we subsequently confirmed, provided additional space for the offerings to the spirit of this young woman, who died as a result of poor communication.

Yet, she lived on:

Yes, she lived on through a legend, a temple, two boobs popping out of the ocean, and a B&B dedicated to her breasts.

And what did her spirit offer to those who braved the high seas, as did we, to visit and leave these various treasures?

Marriage advice? Lessons in interpersonal communication? Fashion counsel ? Kayaking techniques?


Let me explain.

This is man is selling lottery tickets:

Lottery ticket vendors are ubiquitous all over Thailand. Everybody buys these tickets.

But obviously, not everybody who buys a lottery ticket in Thailand can go to the island where our de-breasted (or is it re-breasted?) spirit resides.

But if you can boat, swim, or walk on water to visit and if you bring an offering, she will guide you on choosing the winning lottery numbers!

In other words, if you are Taking Chances on the lottery, she’s your gal.

That’s what her spirit does. That’s why she lives on. That is her (after) life’s purpose.

All Thais know this. She’s famous.

I checked.

Epilogue: We packed out that afternoon, but not before these hopeful folks showed up at our private B&B.

They spent time, arranging flowers, dressing, posing for pretty wedding pictures.

We found out that Thais do not waste everybody’s time at extravagant weddings getting attendees to get into a picture. It’s a party. These were to be the pics to display at the wedding.

I confirmed that they had not yet married and had rented the whole site for a wedding in a month’s time.

I used Google Translate and choosing my words carefully, told the future bride that she was Taking a Chance, to cancel the event, the place was cursed, that she might end up dead, de-boobed and floating in the sea.

When she had read my Google App conclusion, she looked at me and she smiled.

Then she walked away.


Photo credits:

Thanks to Kate MacDonald, Angie Kaye and the monkey

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1 Comment

Bra-vo, Hyman! A feather in your cups!

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