My Thai Girl and the Fire Flies …
If you have read my post about the weekend at the Beach, you may have an idea of how this trip goes: When a Thai Girl says ‘Let’s go the Beach,’ Beware
Mum in law wanted to see the ‘Fire Flies’. OK, this sounded fun. It seems that the place to go for Fire Flies is Amphawa, in Samut Songkran.
Now you or I would do what? Jump in the car one evening, take a drive out, check out the fire flies, take some pictures and be home by midnight. But that is a very Western and a very male way to do things. Oh No. Not the way trips are organised in Thailand. Not at all.
Where to go? Extensive research was carried out online to establish the best place to see the aforesaid flies. I have to say I was wondering what all the fuss was about. I mean we are talking flies, right? Here in Australia we have the World’s supply of flies. In your sandwiches on the beach, in your eyes. The ‘Australia Salute’ as it is known, is a flourish of the hand to brush the flies away…….. We know flies!
Ahhhh. But not these flies. These are special flies it seems, that glow in the dark and light up the trees along the river like Christmas trees. Sounds like it might be an interesting trip.
So my darling wife has now determined the spot for us to see the flies. Not only see the flies though. We are going to LIVE with the flies. It seems we are going to rent a holiday house on the river, where the flies live.
For the Australians reading this, be assured that I packed a large can of Aeroguard! Kills any insect on sight. It is even alleged that the so called WMDs of Saddam fame, were in fact mobile Aeroguard factories! It’s powerful stuff.
Now to get to the holiday house and the fire flies was not just a simple drive up the road. Oh No. It seems that a drive of 2-3 hours was required as a start. You’ll notice that Thais can never actually estimate how long it will take to get anywhere. It’s always ‘about’ something. In my experience it is always safe to add another 30% on whatever the ‘about’ time frame was.
One thing that was not mentioned when we booked online, was exactly how to get to the holiday house! The directions were a bit vague. So once the drive was completed, we had to transfer to a boat, for a trip across to an island, and then ‘walk in’ across small wooden bridges before the tide came in. At which time we were would be cut off. Alone, in our holiday house, with only whatever we carried in with us. Hmmm. I’m sure we could see these flies from the ‘mainland’ but who am I to argue.
Now the ultimate question of course. “Sweetheart…………..who is coming”?
You’ve guessed it. Mum, Dad, Brother in law, sister in law, Niece, Uncle, Auntie, Cousins, but sadly not Grandfather. Indeed the infamous trip to the Beach, his last sight of the Beach before he was due to die, was indeed his last trip. May he rest in peace.
And no mini bus this time. That was deemed to have been a bit of an extravagance, and this was a short trip, not in the heat of the day. So our transport was……….Brother in Law’s pickup truck. That’s a favourite family transport of rural Thailand. It’s actually a very nice truck.
And as the aging rather unfit ‘farang’, I am usually offered a seat inside, with the aircon. It has a crew cab type structure with 4 seats in all. Which of course means at least 6-8 can fit in! The worst trip we ever did, was a 7 hour drive, again to the beach. Me and Brother in law in the front seats, and behind us on the ‘2 seat’ bench seat sat, my wife, his wife, mum, niece and sister in-law. All excitedly talking at once………..for 7 hours. I vowed next time to sit in the back of the pickup in the heat and fumes with Dad and the other ‘guys’ Sensible men I think.
Sorry, back to the fire flies. So we took the pickup truck. Only about 12 of us this time. 5-6 inside and the rest in the back, like a party of motley construction workers off to the building site.
So after trekking across the island, dodging the rising tide, we make it to the holiday house. Not one house, but two!
A small one near the river (pictured) and a much larger one 60-70 metres back down the path, in the ‘jungle’.
Being the chivalrous guy I am, I of course suggested to Pat that we have the smaller house with the ‘river view’.
Much more romantic I thought and at least we would be alone. (Why did I even think that could happen)
So anyway, the fireflies were great, observed from the river in a long tail boat that night. And we had a great meal at a riverside restaurant, whilst our ‘boatman’ waited to take us back to our romantic riverside retreat.
No it should have been a romantic night. Just the two of us, alone by the river. But things never seem to go quite to plan in Thailand for some reason. Two things made sure we did not relax too much.
ONE. If you get the chance to do this trip, DO NOT pick a holiday house next to the river! Why? Well think about it. People come here to see the fire flies. How? They cruise up and down the river in long tail boats. Long tail boats that are VERY noisy! It sounded like a Formula One race meeting till well after midnight………
TWO. Now Ba Nong (Aunt Nong) is a lovely lady and we try to take her on a few trips (but see note below). You see she has a tough life, kids to support and struggles to make ends meet. So it’s great to get her away for a break.
But…whether it was the flies, the dinner, who knows. Ba Nong had a rough night. Really rough. We were awakened by the worried family at about 2am, with calls that Ba Nong was critically ill. Why call us? Well, two reasons. Pat is somewhat of a matriarch of the family. Comes from her being one of the few level headed family members who can actually make a decision perhaps. But she tends to keep everyone in check and dish out advice as required. She always has, apparently. In fact they have called her Ba Kung (Aunt Kung) since she was about 12!
The other reason I suspect why they came rushing to our house, is because that is where the ‘farang’ was. And ‘farangs’ to many Thai people seem to have this ability to access all knowledge that might be required in any situation and have answers to anything.
So I grabbed my trusty travel medicine bag and of we went to see Ba Nong. I always travel with a bit of a ‘kit’ for common ailments that Pat or I might pick up. Ba Nong was indeed not well. Now having suffered myself from insect bites and food allergies, and also seen the effect on my Dear Pat, (yet another story) it was fairly obvious that Ba Nong had either been bitten by insects, or had consumed so many of the prawns at dinner that she was having an adverse reaction to too much seafood.
And given that we were ‘cut off’ on an island till the next day, she needed something to relieve her symptoms. So we ‘pumped’ her full of anti histamine tablets and watched her for a couple of hours. That seemed to do the trick. As we were heading back the next day anyway, we would make sure we dropped in to the local Hospital to have her checked out.
So the fire flies? Actually well worth seeing. But the moral of the story, is that a trip with your Thai lady is never quite what you imagine it will be 🙂
Afternote: Ba Nong has asked that our next ‘family trip’ be to the Beach please!
Read about our Beach Trip:When a Thai Girl says ‘Let’s go the Beach,’ Beware