So there we all are, sitting in a speed boat, a crazy cast of characters, sort of like an off-color joke told by a bartender to a priest: “Two Mexicans, three Estonians, four Iranians, five Americans and a gay Jewish couple all head off to Monkey Beach on the Pee Pee Islands in a speed boat. Along the way they meet ….”
Really, nothing happens along the way, except everyone checking everyone else out. This type of voyeurism used to bother me until I realized it went both ways, that it is part and parcel of being a tourist. For example, the Saudi couple had a huge giggle to themselves watching the British Jack Sprat and his wife strut and waddle along the shores of Khai Island. They were particularly chuffed by Jack’s “banana hammock”, an English version of a Speedo, the husband animatedly using his index finger to imitate a vital part of Mr. Sprat’s anatomy. I can only imagine what they thought of the American family, the mother with her crazy, salty hair and thick thighs, the dad with his receding hairline and Hawaiian shirt, the sleeping teenager …
It did provide interesting fodder for dinnertime conversation though:
Me: So what was the deal with the teenager? I didn’t realize she belonged to the guy who looked like Jaws until half way through the trip.
Mr. U: I think that was his daughter.
Thing 2: You should have seen her jump off the boat!
Thing 1: How old do you think she is? Thirteen?
Me: Not with that chest. Seventeen at least.
Thing 1: No way! She’s not that old!
Mr. U: Your mother is right, seventeen at least.
Thing 2: They were huge.
Thing 3: What?
Me: Her chest.
Thing 3: What?
Me, Things 1 & 2: BOOBS!
Thing 3: OH! They were big?
Mr. U: Sizeable.
Sizeable??? Only Mr. Understanding could be so tactful.
Me: I felt petite in comparison!
Mr. U: I think the step-mother was pregnant.
Me: She was not! That’s just a middle-aged paunch.
Mr. U: I know the difference. Middle-aged paunch is flabby [here he actually gesticulated with his hands], pregnant is tight and hard [again with the hand movements].
Me: Give me a break, you know the difference!!!!
Thing 3: Jaded Traveler made the blood drain out of my body.
Everyone Else: What?
Thing 3: I didn’t like the way he looked. He looked like Hitler.
Everyone Else: Hitler wasn’t Jewish!!!
Thing 3: I know, but he just looked evil.
And so on and so on ….
At the end of the boat ride the Iranian father made a point of saying to Mr. Understanding, “I hope our countries can be friends. That there will be world peace.”
How’s that for a punch line? You can’t write that in Hollywood or Washington, D.C. and mean it. Maybe real-world diplomacy starts in a speedboat headed towards Phi Phi. I’d say it’s as good a start as any.
Q: What was the first joke you could remember as a kid?
Mine, which I should have published during Elephant Week, is the following:
Q: Why did the elephant step on the marshmellow?
A: So he wouldn’t fall into the hot chocolate!
HAPPY 40TH BIRTHDAY TO FIRST SARGEANT UNCLE PAUL!!! Hope your very own speedboat adventure is as much fun as ours was!