Bullitt's Bros

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Superthai

I know I promised a posting on food, but this is too good to not immediately write down. Here we go:

Ed, the father of my friend Mikey Y, is the stuff of legends. I don't remember too many specifics, but I'm pretty sure he's beaten up two guys at once and wielded a chainsaw with one arm while standing on a ladder. And, he's, like, a nuclear physicist or something. (Mikey can elaborate in the comments.) Despite Mikey's earnest claims, I never fully believed everything he said. I felt that his tales had the air of embellishment. People like Ed just don't exist, or if they do, then books are written about them and we've all heard of them (e.g., Bo Grice).

But count me a doubter no longer. Why? Not because I met Ed. No, because I met another man. His name? Mr. Sexyman.

Now, you might think that "Mr. Sexyman" is not Mr. Sexyman's real name. And you would, I'm sure, be right. But whatever his real name is, it's lost to the sands of time. For even fellow Thais refer to him as Mr. Sexyman.

So what's this guy's deal? Well, to tell you that, I have to step back and explain something about my situation.

Let me inform you a bit of my itinerary for this Thailand honeymoon. Wife and I started in Bangkok, then we went to Chiang Mai, then we went to Ko Lanta (a small island with incredible beaches--The Beach was filmed there, or somewhere very near there), and then we want to Khao Sok national park.

Khao Sok national park demarcates the oldest rainforest in the world--160 million years old. It's an ecological treasure, of course, but more important from my point of view: it has monkeys.

Monkeys are hilarious. I've seen them before in zoos and on nature documentaries, but I've never seen them when they've seen me. Along with eating really good movie popcorn, this is one of my dreams (I'm a man of very attainable dreams; wife has even more attainable dreams. Her great wish is to one day drink a margarita near the beach or a pool. She has lived the dream something like fifteen times). So, I was an interested party in Khao Sok.

When we got there, we were greeted by Sherry, the most helpful Thai I had (up to that point) ever met. She spoke excellent English and knew all about how to get from one part of Thailand to another. She hooked us up for tours and such.

Then we were shown to our room. Wow, it was terr... uh, it was rustic. It cost something like $15 a night, so we were doing pretty well. After settling in our room, we made our way to the inn where we were staying and had some food.

It was there we first met Mr. Sexyman.

He didn't seem like anything much. A very dark-skinned Thai who loved drinking and smoking. He looked fit, and he was very good at Jenga. That was pretty much all I got from him. Oh, and his English was pretty good. He informed us that he would be our guide. He also tried to convince us to go on a more demanding tour than the one we were signed up for. But since we were sick we declined.

It was a good move.

The next day, we met Mr. Sexyman in the inn, and it was off from there to Khao Sok national park. Now, Khao Sok has two areas: a path, full of small, separated rocks, and the rainforest, full of brambles, snakes, and what-not. We were informed that we'd need a lot of bug spray and good hiking shoes. We duly obliged. And what about Mr. Sexyman?

No bug spray. Barefoot.

What?

Yup. He insisted on walking the entire time, on jagged rocks, barefoot.

It must be a Thai thing! Surely all the other guides were barefoot?

Nope. Just him.

I thought to myself, "what a badass."

As we walked further--maybe half an hour--Mr. Sexyman suddenly started up. He heard something. I heard nothing. He then started making some kind of call.

Nothing happened.

Then, about five minutes later? Monkeys.

Yup. He can call monkeys. He can also tell when they're in a 1,500 foot radius. In fact, not only can he tell when they're near and draw them out, he can see them (and point to them) when we haven't the foggiest idea what he's seeing.

Anyway, the monkeys came. Dream fulfilled. They skittered down to the forest floot, and a baby monkey scurried toward some pineapple Mr. Sexyman had cut up for them. He carried it away eagerly.

Wow. I'm starting to get very attracted to Mr. Sexyman.

Then, after walking us for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half, we took a break. I thought, "this isn't so bad." Then we got on the real trail.

This was the most treacherous, draining hike I've ever been on. Let me spoil the surprise and tell you that the hike lasted a total of 7 hrs. 30 min. And the terrain! Holy crap. The steepest inclines and declines I've ever walked up or down without having to literally climb (sometimes I had to literally climb). Mr. Sexyman walked it all no problem. In fact, throughout the course of the hike, he lost his balance just two times, for incredibly brief periods of time.

I can't communicate to you how amazing that feat is. Just trust me--the man has the balance of a land-ninja.

After about twenty minutes walking through this territory, wife and I were pouring sweat. It was wetting my shirt, dripping on my glasses, mussing up my hair, etc. Mr. Sexyman? Didn't break a sweat.

Ever.

Not for the whole hike.

Then, we got to the main sight of our hike: a nice waterfall with a pool at the bottom where you can swim. So wife and I swam--we needed to cool off, and good Lord it was cold. Like, you never get warm in it, you just get numb. And while we swam (and ate lunch) Mr. Sexyman kept to himself a bit and carved something. What did he carve?

Two bamboo cups.

Yup, he just made two cups for us while we were swimming.

Then he caught a fish with his bare hands.

That's right, some real Tom-Hanks-in-Castaway-near-the-end-of-the-movie shit, he just reached his hand in the pond we were swimming in and caught a fish. In fairness, it took him three tries to do this.

After that, we took a different way back. Along the way, he swiped suddenly at a tree. I heard a strange squealing sound and then I looked into his hand.

He had caught a chameleon with his bare hands.

Then, for the topper, we took a different way back, and came to some rapids. Apparently, most people swam across these rapids, because the rocks you had to traverse were too separated to step across.

So I guess we have to swim?

Nope.

Mr. Sexyman cut (with his machete) some thick vines from the forest canopy, hooked one set to the trees on our side of the river, skipped across the rocks, hooked another vine to the other canopy, skipped to the middle and tied these thick vines together with his bare hands, and made a rope hanger for us to hold on to so we could cross the rapids without getting wet.

It took him half an hour. Maybe twenty minutes.

I am not making this up.

So I believe Mike about his dad. I've met Mr. Sexyman. I might even believe that Aleks Emelienko hunted a bear with nothing but a knife. After all, I've met Mr. Sexyman.

He's not perfect, though. He asked a lot of personal questions.

6 Comments:

  • OK, I will admit I've only ever been present for a couple of the "Ed stories".

    But since Ed doesn't lie or brag, it's hard to imagine he's embellished the stories he told my family. I've posted 2 of the stories in the past which had witnesses;

    http://smootchmystarfish.blogspot.com/2007/07/trying-to-wear-old-man-out.html


    http://smootchmystarfish.blogspot.com/2007/06/snake-story.html

    As far as his career, he's actually not -technically- a nuclear physicist. You're supposed to have a PhD in nuclear science, which he does not, he has a masters in Applied Nuclear Science, and an electrical engineer undergrad.

    However, the big feather in his resume cap is leading the build team for these;

    http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/galileo/messenger/oldmess/RTGs1.html

    There were guys with PhD's working under him, which always amused Ed, who grew up on a farm in Eaton, Ohio.

    I'll try to add a couple of the shorter Ed stories to my blog.

    Yates

    PS- Who's in charge?!?!

    By Blogger Mikey Y, at 1:14 PM  

  • Shawn are you sure that you are in charge? That hike sounds exausting. And dangerous. Really. I was exausted after reading it. Just reading it. Lots of love to you both and TAKE CARE.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:05 PM  

  • Oddly, the same thing happened to me, Robert.

    By Blogger kmosser, at 4:44 PM  

  • Oh, and...who's Bo Grice?

    By Blogger Mikey Y, at 8:20 PM  

  • When I was on my honeymoon in the Bahamas we had an experience with a Sexyman. Really, he was just a guy who liked to sleep with women on their honeymoons. But he certainly acted sexy.

    Years later, spiritually at least, mission accomplished.

    By Blogger Joe, at 9:57 PM  

  • Bobcat has an update to this post that I hope he will get to today, but as the H. W[ife]. I. C., let me reassure mom that today we are in much, much swankier surroundings and he really did enjoy the hike.

    By Anonymous shawn, at 1:17 AM  

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