Monday, May 13, 2013


A street name that doesn't really roll off the tongue!

Life in Satun

Before going into the final stages of our adventure at the boatyard I thought it might be interesting to describe our lives living in a Thai house. The street is quite small and narrow with single fronted terrace houses crowding closely on to the road and each other. The street is used as an extended living area and people have chairs and table permanently placed right on the road ready for sitting and socializing in the cool of the evening. The road is used as a playground for the mobs of children riding bikes, playing volley ball and generally yelling at the tops of their voices continually until 10 o’clock at night.

Our street


Most houses don’t have a garden apart from a small strip between the front fence and the road, but this is lovingly watered and trimmed every day. Our landlady lived right across the way and we felt that she was keeping a good watch on what we were up to, as were most of our neighbours, I bet. There was very little English spoken and our Thai despite my best efforts is woeful. It really puts into perspective how important language is and how helpless you feel in an environment where you can’t communicate on even the most basic level. I take my hat off to the migrants who come to our country for a new start and appreciate even more the hurdles that they have to overcome.

Our land lady tending her miniture garden.

The house itself had a small living room at front with a hard carved wooden lounge suite. You could be reasonable comfortable for say, five minutes. Then there was a long passage way with two bedrooms without windows off to the right. Some natural light comes via a sky light in the ceiling. The beds had mattresses made from coconut fibre and as hard as ...a coconut. There was air conditioning in the main bedroom and because of the heat and humidity that was where we spent the majority of our time, eating, watching movies and sleeping. Moving through the house there was a kitchen of sorts with two tables and a fridge, then an outer room or closed in veranda with a free standing sink. The bathroom has a pedestal toilet but no flush, so we used a scoop to flush. The hand held cold water shower was fine because a cool shower is all you ever wanted any way.

The kitchen sink

Out our back door you could step over the very smelly open drain or look out over a riot of creepers and banana palms, tropical paradise if you ignored the plastic and glass rubbish strewn everywhere.  The back yard was home to five or six semi feral cats and kittens, which soon discovered the cat lady in me. I fed them once a day and soon they were trying to find their way into the house. It took some time before they would be touched but by the end of our six week stay they were more affectionate and looking quite healthy. I left a bag of cat food hoping to pass the baton on to the next tenants. Poor Motley cat didn’t like the house at all. The strange noises from our very close neighbours, the wild cats out the back and the general heat of most of the house kept her under the bed for most of the six weeks. As soon as she was back on the boat you could almost see her smile!
Our cat family in the back yard

We hired a car and the house for about $500AU a month, and despite the standard of comfort compared to a house in Australia it was a whole lot better than trying to live in the chaos of saw dust and general upheaval on the boat.

House and car $500 a month

Cooking was not part of our lives for the six weeks in Satun. Apart from not having a stove, the food was fantastic and very cheap. We could both eat for only a few dollars so who needs to shop, cook, wash up and all that palaver when the options for almost free food were available. One of our favourites was from a road side stall selling only the best fried chicken and sticky rice in the world. KFC is not even in the running. If we were looking for a more healthy option the local mall called, strangely The Big C, had a food hall with yummy Thai soups and omelettes to name but a few. If we felt like we couldn’t face another spicy or rice meal there was always On’s Bar, an ex patriot hang out that serves pretty good western food. On can organize anything you need in Satun. She is a friendly person who can help out with accommodation, car and bike rental and good food.

So our days and weeks drifted past each of us taking turn and turn about driving to the boat yard to supervise work on the boat. Before we knew it we were packing up the house and moving back on board our newly painted and varnished Doctor. Where would I rather be?    I think you know.

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