Have you ever wondered if geckos can fly? No, me neither. But if you had googled it you may have been directed to illuminating conversations such as, “Can I fly with geckos?” and “Geckos on a plane”. Perhaps the scientists of the world are too busy trying to stop Trump’s ban on future human existence to care.
But, if they had spent some time in a fisherman’s hut on Koh Lanta, an island on the west coast of Thailand, perhaps they would have discovered the magic of the gecko!
Let me put this in scientific terms, based on everything I learnt from my rotating door of biology teachers in my final years of high school and their ability to dictate directly from a text book. Lab coat at the ready:
Aim: To establish whether household geckos can fly
Method: Observe several geckos living in house “scientist” currently resides in, which lies over the ocean on Koh Lanta. Wake up to the sunrise over the water, put kettle on with eyes half closed, grab bread out of the fridge, put bread in toaster, turn toaster on.
Results: If Gary the Gecko is in said toaster when it’s turned on, HE FLIES! Two feet in the air! Scientist squeals in fright (there’s no other way to describe the sound that came out of me!)
Conclusion: Gecko’s do in fact fly.
*no geckos were harmed during this experiment, in fact Gary was back in the toaster after about 15 minutes. Gary isn’t too bright.
In Thailand, wildlife and domestic life are one and the same. From tiny platoons of ants to big dogs named Trevor (I’m sure that’s not his real name but he seemed like a Trev to me), who saves you from a pack of angry looking neighbourhood dogs.
My fisherman’s hut is on the east coast of Koh Lanta, in the Old Town which is over 500 years old. It’s away from the touristy west coast of the island and comes with the perks of being a quiet area to relax and work, masses of bird life, with a spattering of restaurants and a lovely community feel.
Each day I’ve walked into town to buy groceries or just wander around, which is about 1 kilometre along the back of the houses that sit proudly on stilts over the water. As you pass kids on the street they all smile and say hello, and the mothers wave and say a welcoming sà wàt dii ka.
The back deck of the fishing hut is large and comes complete with hammock and chairs for lounging in and watching the spectacular sunsets and growing moon. The tides are powerful, reaching out over 200 metres from the house and lapping underneath my bed at night. The first night I feel into a deep sleep with the waves crashing underneath me and the sound of the fisherman heading out for the evening in longboats.
The beauty of Airbnb is that it gives you the opportunity to feel more like a local, to cook your own food when you want, and fall into the habits of the people who call the place home. The hut was no exception, with big open doors and gaps between the walls and ceiling (like my bungalow in the jungle), an ample kitchen and a bed which overlooked the water.
On Sunday I went to the local market and bought fresh vegetables and seafood. Much to the surprise and excitement of the fisherman who were selling it. In their broken English they told me the best way to cook the fresh squid and fish straight off the boat that morning. That night I stir fried the squid with Thai flavours and fresh vegetables, it was melt in your mouth delicious.
On my second day, I’d left the front door open waiting for a delivery of water. I was sitting at the bench, working away on my laptop when I heard something large behind me. I turned around with my heart racing to discover a cute old dog who’d let himself in, and without a word (yes dogs talk), proceeded to the deck and spent most of the day there. From then, Trev would visit daily, sitting on either the back deck in the sun or the shade of the front veranda watching the world go by. It was a tough life.
One night, after I had been for a tasty dinner in town I came to a point in the road that was quite dark and turned to see a big black dog behind me, ears pricked, back arched. As I started to walk towards my hut with more speed another brown dog came between me and the house.
I went through the plan of escape in my head. If I could walk 10 metres to the house with a light still on I’d be ok. I also had a bag with some groceries in it which I could use to protect myself (in theory). As I started to slowly walk away, not making eye contact with the dogs, gripping my bag tightly in my hands, I noticed another shadow approaching me from the bush beside the road and my heart skipped a beat, or several.
Out trotted Trev, with his big butt wobbling excitedly ready for a tickle behind the ears. In an instant, I had three tails wagging and nudging me for tickles, and since that night, all three dogs whenever they see me, have bounded over with goofy loving faces for some tickles and to inspect my grocery bag.
So, I raise a glass to Sir Trev, Protector of the Humans, King of Houses on the Street, Breaker of Personal Space, Barker at Tourists Passing by on Scooters They Can’t Ride and Guardian of the Back Deck. Trev for President. Hazar!
Nugget of Wisdom
Don’t use a hammock when you have vertigo. You can’t get out.