One-Chai the Cobra Killer
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I am a 31-year old American woman and have been traveling the world for
seven years; I am now based in Athens, Greece. I am trying to put together
a collection of short stories based from my experiences. I would appreciate
any criticism, good or bad. Thank you for taking the time to read my story!
One-Chai the Cobra Killer
It was my second week here at Benjawaan Bungalows and nothing had changed.
A cool sea breeze came in through my door, the sun beat down on the bamboo
roof of my bungalow and the palm trees on this white-sand beach rustled
their leaves in the wind. I nestled further in my hammock and savored the
taste of heat and ocean, as well as the pineapple that I had just cut for
my breakfast. I had found paradise on Hat Yau beach on Thailand's island of
Coming here for a vacation was the first thing I decided to do after
finishing a two-year contract teaching English in Taiwan. I had a great
time living there, but two years of trying to teach screaming kids A-B-Cs
warranted a beach holiday like you wouldn't believe. I was drinking up the
silence that this little island in the South China Sea was giving me.
Beautiful, glorious silence.
Silence until Frank, my muscular next-door neighbor from Dusseldorf ran
out of his bungalow screaming in a heavy German accent, "Help! HELP!!!
Snake, snake!! BIG snake! Somebody, you must help me!!"
I jumped out of my hammock and ran to the edge of my bungalow. Frank was
running around in circles underneath my balcony, looking desperately like
he wanted to get away but didn't know where to get away to.
"Snake!! Snake!!" he screamed.
"Frank, calm down!" I yelled to him. "What snake are you talking about??
"Snake, snake! Der in meine bungalow! God-travel agent she tell me
mosquitoes in Thailand-ja-but she doesn't tell me big snake here! Aargh!!
Maybe it still coming!" He ran up the stairs to my bungalow and hid behind
a bamboo chair, peeking over the top towards his bungalow.
Poor guy. I felt sorry for him. Some people are just afraid of snakes, you
know? I've seen snakes around my bungalow, sure, plenty of times. Green
garden snakes, maybe six inches long, but definitely not poisonous. They
never bothered me; they seemed to mind their own business and eat bugs.
Maybe that's what was wrong with Frank, maybe he had a snake phobia.
He buried his face in his hands and started sobbing. "I could of died in
"Ah, Frank it's ok," I said softly. "You'll be all right. Here, have some
He looked up, but dropped his head, continuing to sob " I don't want the
pineapple! I just want the snake out of meine bungalow!" he sobbed louder.
"Man, what's with you? Why are you freaking out about this little old
snake? Don't you remember last week when you got that scary spider out of
my bungalow for me? God, it was terrifying! I still say it was a tarantula.
And here, you're scared of a small garden snake? C'mon, man. Hey, did you
know that those kind of snakes actually eat mosquitoes?"
"This no small snake!" Frank growled.
"Whatever, I've seen those snakes slithering around here in the morning. I
guess they are kind of creepy, the way they slither around, but really,
they're kind of cute in a way-"
"I tell you!" Frank yelled, throwing his arms up in the air. "This no small
snake! No, no garden snake! Big snake, I tell you!" He stretched his arms
out. "Very big snake. Bigger than this!"
I froze in my hammock. I've heard that big snakes live on this tropical
island in the Gulf of Thailand, but I always thought that they were more
than happy to stay in the solitude of the jungle, far away from people.
Snakes are usually shy. And I've certainly never heard of one coming to
"You don't believe me? You come look!"
If Frank was this scared of snakes, then maybe he was making it out to be
bigger than it actually was. Or maybe there really was a huge snake in his
bungalow. I decided to go have a look anyways because I was curious so I
followed Frank to his bungalow, where he was walking to, slowly and on his
He motioned for me to follow him to the back where part of the bungalow
jutted out to make a shower and a hole had been snipped out of the bamboo
for a window. Frank stole a glance inside the window and motioned for me to
"Snake still in there," he silently mouthed at me.
I stood on my tiptoes to peek in the shower and almost collapsed when I saw
what was in there. Sure enough, there was a cobra, about six feet long
coiled up in the corner of the bathroom. It looked like it was taking a
nap, and it looked quite comfortable, actually.
No, Frank was right. This wasn't a small snake. This was a big snake. A
really, really big snake. Not only was it a big snake, but it was a
poisonous, venomous, deadly King Cobra. Wow. I felt my knees tremble.
Frank stood there with his hands on his hips. He seemed to forget his fear
and just looked indignant. "I tell you, big snake. You believe me now?"
Wow, Frank, yeah, I guess you were right. Keep your voice down, ok?"
"So what we do now?" he whispered.
" Uuuhhh, restaurant. Let's go to the restaurant." I whispered back to him.
We tiptoed away from the bungalow, but then broke out into a run for the
restaurant. I didn't think we'd know what we'd do once we got up there, but
anytime there's a problem you go to the restaurant, so going there seemed
like the best thing to do at the time.
The restaurant of any bungalow operation is its nerve center. You go there
to socialize, eat, arrange a ride into town, get the light bulb in your
bungalow changed, anything you needed done you went to the restaurant first
to make it happen. One-Chai was the owner of Benjawaan Bungalows and that's
who we were looking for. We figured if anyone could take care of the
problem of there being a six-foot cobra in Frank's bungalow, then it would
be One-Chai. We saw him in the restaurant with some of his many cousins
who owned bungalows further on down this family-operated beach. They were
lounging on psychedelic-patterned floor mats with a bottle of Thai whiskey
and a bowl of peanuts between them, and were gazing out at the turquoise
sea. We must have been quite a startling sight rushing in and screaming
about a snake.
It must have been really surprising for them because Thai people don’t get
into an uproar about anything. It's in their culture to keep a lid on their
emotions, and if they are to show any sort of feeling, than it better be a
cheerful one. Fear or anything unpleasant is frowned upon in their culture.
It's hard to get a Thai pissed off at you. But if you do succeed, then
you've turned on a faucet that won't be turned off too easily. A rushing
faucet of anger; anger that's been repressed from years of smiling and
keeping all those emotions under wraps. I've seen Thais go ballistic, but
only in rare push-you-over-the-edge situations, and then, it had taken a
lot to get them back to their normal, smiling, peaceful selves.
So it came as no surprise when Frank and I ran into the restaurant
screaming about a snake, that One-Chai and his cousins just sat there and
smiled at us.
"One-Chai," I ran up to him "There's a snake in Frank's bungalow!"
"Snake?" One-Chai giggled."You no worry bout small snakes. They no bite. Is
ok. Mai pen rai. No problem!" He said something to his cousins in Thai and
they all started laughing. I guessed they were laughing at how farangs-what
Thai people call foreigners-are always scared of everything.
"One-Chai no!" Frank exclaimed. "No joking! Is a big snake!"
"Really, One-Chai," I pleaded. "Just come to Frank's bungalow and have a
look. We're not kidding about there being a big snake in there!"
One of the cousins said something and they laughed, a bit more loudly this
time. "Ok, I come." One-Chai giggled. "You show One-Chai where is big, big
snake." He got up from where he was lounging, emptied his glass of whiskey,
and skipped down the rocks towards Frank's bungalow. After a couple of
seconds, he turned around and saw that we were still standing in the
"Why you no come?" he asked, and then laughed. "You farangs, why everything
you so scared? Is just a snake. You come." Frank and I stood there looking
at One-Chai. "Yes, is ok. One-Chai here. Come!" he repeated.
So we all walked down the rocks to Frank's bungalow, One-Chai humming a
Thai tune while and Frank and I remained silent.
One-Chai reached the bungalow and glanced on the balcony, then stood there
with his hands on his hips looking up at us on the set of rocks that were
above, and safely away from the bungalow.
"I no see snake. So small I no see it!" he laughed, almost falling over.
"Snake gone, mai pen rai, you no worry now. Is ok!" he beamed.
"No, in der bungalow! In der shower!" Frank whispered. I furiously nodded,
pointing at the bungalow.
One-Chai shrugged his shoulders and giggled. He poked his head in the
window of the shower and then almost fell backwards on the rocks. He got
his composure back and just stood there for a second, frozen in front of
the bungalow, looking as though he was trying to decide what to do. He
then tiptoed up to us. "Restaurant," he whispered. "Go to restaurant." We
nodded back at him and turned to head back, but One-Chai was two steps
ahead of us, and had already beaten us up there.
He ran up to the group of still-lounging cousins and yelled at them in Thai
while running around in circles. The cousins sprang up from where they were
lounging, an excitement to break the monotony of whiskey and wave watching,
I'm sure. One-Chai and his cousins exchanged Thai in a very excited manner,
something seemed to be agreed upon and One-Chai ran into the kitchen. We
heard pots being thrown around and One-Chai still yelling in Thai.
The cousins were jumping around with excitement. I don't think they had
seen this much action on the beach for years.
"What's One-Chai doing?" I asked them.
"He take care snake!" One of the cousins answered. "One-Chai, no scared!"
"But how is he going to do that?" I asked.
"One-Chai, he find snake and kill it!"
"But how do you kill a cobra? They move so fast, and if they bite you, you
could die! How is he going to manage to kill it without getting killed
"You see! One-Chai, no scared! He kill snake!"
But how do you kill a cobra? Do you throw it some food that's been
poisoned? Do you attack it with rocks and stone it to death? I've seen
flute players in Morocco pacify cobras with music, but I don't think they
do that here in Thailand. And c'mon, does One-Chai really have to kill it?
It's probably just wandered too far from its home in the jungle and figured
that the corner of Frank's shower was a comfortable enough place to crash
for a while. Was that enough reason for it to die? It must be so tired and
scared too, I'd imagine. Maybe I should ask One-Chai if there's some way we
could knock it out for a while, maybe give it some fried rice laced with
sleeping pills. It would eat the rice and stay asleep long enough for us to
throw it into a sack and take it back to the jungle. Not only would it be
safer for One-Chai, but it'd be a lot easier than killing it.
As I was walking back to the kitchen to bring this plan up to One-Chai, he
ran out swinging a huge machete above his head. Huge considering
One-Chai's size. Just over five feet tall, and waving what must have been a
three-foot machete, he looked like a baby hill-tribe warrior gone crazy in
a toy store.
This is when I realized it was out of the question for me to try and talk
One-Chai out of killing the cobra. This was his chance to prove his
strength, to show his manhood. In Spain they kill bulls, in Kenya, lions,
and I guess in Thailand they kill cobras. Man's triumph over nature.
One-Chai's fifteen minutes of fame. As I watched him swinging the machete
over his head while the cousins oooed and aaahed him, I saw that it would
be useless for me to start in on my pro-animal speel. He was ready to go
into battle. Poor snake. There was no hope for it now.
One-Chai jumped towards me, brandishing the machete like a samauri.
"I ready! I kill snake!"
Frank started laughing. "One-Chai, what will you do? You will cut the head
off the cobra?" He laughed harder. "The snake is bigger than you!"
But One-Chai didn’t laugh. All his concentration was focused on holding
that huge machete steady between his white-knuckled grasp. One-Chai was
serious on getting that snake out of Frank's bungalow.
One-Chai's brow furrowed and his eyes narrowed on the glare of the machete.
He looked like Saint George about to slay the dragon. "We go to bungalow
now. I take care snake." He whispered. One-Chai was hypnotized with the
magnitude of his duty. He had a purpose to fulfill. He walked slowly out of
the restaurant towards the bungalow while the cousins cheered and followed
Frank chuckled. "You really think he can kill the cobra?"
"I don't know, man. I wish he didn't have to kill it, you know? That
snake's probably just lost."
"You have a camera?" Frank asked me.
"C'mon, you don't actually want me to take a picture of One-Chai
slaughtering that poor snake! It'll be gutty and bloody and gross, ew!"
"Ok, I will take the picture then! Meine friends in Dusseldorf never
believe such big snake in meine bungalow!"
"All right," I sighed, "let's go down to my bungalow and grab my camera."
When we got down to my bungalow, we saw that One-Chai was standing outside
of Frank's shower on his tiptoes with his head and one arm through the
window, and from the thrashing noises we heard coming from the shower, it
sounded like he was trying to kill the cobra by chasing it around with the
machete. He had also somehow acquired a baseball bat and was holding it in
the hand that he was using to steady himself with outside of the shower.
Frank and I decided to watch what was happening from the safety of my
The cousins sat on the rocks southeast-asian style, that comfy, lazy-boy
position of sitting on your ankles with your arms relaxed on your knees and
which seems that only people in hot countries can do. They sat on the rocks
above One-chai, egging him on. It looked like they were watching a football
game, all they needed was a couple of hotdogs and beers. Kill-the-cobra
show. Manhood fanning manhood, they were encouraging One-Chai to reach the
zenith of his masculinity by killing a snake. Jeez.
Frank was jumping up and down with excitement, but I was absolutely
disgusted. Still, I had to admit that underneath all my revulsion I was
curious whether One-Chai would be able to kill that cobra. So when Frank
said he was going down there to get a better look, I joined him.
There's something about a bullfight that makes you want to get a glimpse,
even though it's repulsive to see the fighter plunge the sword in the
bull's heart, even though you turn your head and hide your eyes, you can't
help but steal a glance.
We joined the cousins where they were sitting with One-Chai below them.
They were having a heated discussion in Thai, I'm assuming on how to kill
the cobra. One-Chai was covered in a thin sweat that glimmered in the
midday tropical sun. With the dragon tattoo that covered his chest and the
striped sarong wrapped around his body he looked more like an island
combatant rather than the owner of the bungalow I was staying in. He was no
longer One-Chai, the changer of burnt-out light bulbs, he was now
One-Chai-warrior of the jungle.
In a fast and excited voice he demonstrated how he was going to kill the
cobra, swinging the bat first this way, and then that way. A faint rattle
sounded from the bungalow. One-Chai had woken up the cobra, and by the
furious way it was rattling, it was definitely not a morning snake. It
sounded like it too was ready to go into battle.
"Hey One-Chai," I called out to him, interrupting his battlelougue. "What
are you going to do with that bat?"
He swung the bat around and grinned ear to ear.
"I pick up snake with machete, hit it with bat!" One-Chai smiled. Great.
That rattle sounded again. I think the snake heard that.
Round two for One-Chai. "I go kill snake now!" He whispered, clutching his
tools of battle and tiptoeing back to the shower.
"One-Chai, say cheese!" Frank called out. One-Chai held up the machete in
one hand and the baseball bat in the other and posed for the camera looking
like some post-modern island warrior.
This time, we were all brave enough to join One-Chai in front of the
bungalow. Besides, we could get a better view of the action there than if
we had stayed on the rocks. One-Chai's cousins formed a half-circle behind
him, like a football team cheering him on.
Even though I was the in back of everyone and the farthest away from the
bungalow, I could now get a better view of the cobra. It looked a lot more
menacing than it had earlier when it was curled up in its comfy coil. It
was standing to attention, ready to strike. It was watching One-Chai's
every move; every time One-Chai made a move, the cobra made an equal but
opposite move. It looked like they were playing a game of chess. This was
no dumb snake, it knew what One-Chai was up to.
One-Chai's cousins crowded in around him to get a better look at the cobra,
which made it nervous and caused it to spring at One-Chai. My heart jumped
as One-Chai and his cousins jumped back. They all squealed with delight, I
think they were more excited than frightened. This seemed to egg them on
even more as they all moved closer to the bungalow, each cousin trying to
stick his head in the windowto get a closer look.
I could see the snake back up a bit, because it knew it was outnumbered
now. Still, it had to at least try and defend itself, so it lunged again at
One-Chai. One-Chai teased the cobra with the machete, pretending he was
going to lunge it in one direction, but really lunge it in another, and by
the way it was weaving around, this strategy obviously succeeded in
confusing the snake. One-Chai motioned for everyone to move further away
from the bungalow. His muscles tensed, his arm drew the machete further
back to give it more momentum, and then he plunged it into the shower. The
rattling sounded more furious than it had this whole time, and I suspected
that perhaps it was over for the snake.
"Back-Back!" One-Chai yelled, and with one quick move he lifted the cobra
which was impaled on the machete out of the shower and plunged the machete
in the ground in front of the bungalow.
The cobra was thrashing around and rattling frantically. This was the first
time that I got a good look at a cobra and it was quite a stunning
creature. It had black and olive stripes on its body while it's throat and
rattler were a pale yellow, and had big black shiny eyes. It was absolutely
breathtaking to be so close to such a powerful creature as a King Cobra.
One-Chai clobbered it with the bat while it writhed and struggled for life
under the impact of each blow. Finally after three or four blows it stopped
rattling and we knew it was dead.
We were silent as we looked upon the dead snake in disbelief. One-Chai
nudged it with the bat and it didn’t move. The cousins, now finally
comfortable enough to get close to the snake nudged it with their feet as
One-Chai put one foot on the snake and arched his back triumphantly. He
pulled the machete out of the snake's body and waved it over his head, the
other hand on his hip. He waved the machete in Frank's direction. "Snake,
out of your bungalow!" he proclaimed with much pomp and ceremony. He
pointed the machete towards the sky. "Snake is dead!"
The cousins started cheering and jumping up and down. One-Chai stood there
with his foot on the cobra and a triumphant smile on his face.
He instructed the cousins to pick up the snake and they walked up to the
restaurant carrying it on their shoulders, One-Chai in front of the
procession brandishing his machete while the cousins carried the snake
behind him. Frank and I watched them from his bungalow.
"I can't believe One-Chai kill the snake!" Frank said.
"What do you think they're going to do with it now?" I asked.
"Hey you!" One-Chai called down to us. "You come to restaurant!"
"C'mon Frank, let's go check it out."
When we got to the restaurant we saw that One-Chai had the cobra slung over
his shoulder like a striped scarf and was smoking a victory cigarette. With
the six-foot cobra slung over his shoulder, machete in hand and wearing
that sarong he looked like a Thai Tarzan just come out of the jungle.
He was bathed in the golden light of praise from his cousins. You could see
the admiration in their eyes, and it was obvious that One-Chai would savor
the taste of this accomplishment for months, if not years to come. He would
now be a legend on Hat Yau beach. One-Chai: The Cobra Killer.
When he saw that we had come into the restaurant, he motioned for us to
come to the table. Frank, who had been so terrified of the snake only an
hour before, now stood next to One-Chai and stroked the silvery scales of
the snake's green and black body. Beaming with triumph, One-Chai handed
Frank a cigarette.
"Oh no, One-Chai, I don't smoke."
One-Chai laughed and put his arm around Frank while the cobra's head rubbed
Frank's knee. "Is ok! One-Chai kill cobra! You must smoke! One cigarette
Frank shrugged and accepted a light from one of the cousins. He inhaled and
promptly went into a coughing fit. One-Chai and the cousins laughed.
"Good," Frank coughed. "Thai tobacco, is strong but good."
One-Chai stuck the cigarette in his month and smiled widely at Frank. "Thai
tobacco, yes, very good. Now you drink Thai whiskey! Even better!"
"Ja, sure, Thai whiskey, very good!" Frank gave a thumbs-up sign as his
face went red and he coughed more.
One-Chai chuckled and squeezed Frank's shoulder. He told the cousins to
bring the bottle of whiskey from where it was sitting on the mats. They
raced each other to the mats to be the one to bring the bottle over to
One-Chai the Hero.
The winning cousin brought the bottle over and placed it in the middle of
the table. One-Chai instructed for another cousin to bring glasses. He
brought them to the table and proceeded to fill each one with approximately
two inches of whiskey.
Once they were all filled, I raised my glass. "I'd like to make a toast. To
One-Chai-the Cobra Killer!"
"No, no, whiskey not ready," One-Chai said hurriedly, putting my glass back
down on the table.
"What do you mean it's not ready?" I asked.
"Must put snake power inside!"
I was confused. Snake power? What was snake power? Maybe One-Chai meant
yaba, Thai speed. I knew amphetamines were popular here in Thailand, but I
would have never thought One-Chai would ever take them.
"Snake power?" I asked, looking perplexed. "Isn't that illegal, One-Chai?"
One-Chai gave me a funny look. "Mai pen rai! Is ok! Is Thai tradition, you
must!" He suddenly threw the cobra where it was draped on his shoulder down
on the table and in one swipe, chopped off its rattler with the machete.
I watched with horror as One-Chai took my glass and let the blood from the
dismembered snake drip into the whiskey. Watching One-Chai kill the snake
was one thing, but there was absolutely no way that I was going to drink
snake blood. I felt my stomach turn.
For a westerner, drinking snake blood not only sounds disgusting, but also
dangerous as well. What about venom? And isn't drinking blood supposed to
be unsanitary, period? That's what I had thought when I had first come to
Asia and visited "Snake Alley" in Taipei. Snake alley is a market that
derives its name from all the snake-blood drinking that happens there.
Tourists went there and snapped pictures of the snakes being drained of
their blood which is put into shot glasses for the Chinese to gulp for cure
of ailments ranging from headaches to stomach problems. Some men even drank
it for virility. It was reputedly so good at curing impotency, that the
Chinese called it "nature's viagra". Being female, I didn't have any
problems with getting it up, so I decided to decline One-Chai's offer of a
"Oh, no thanks, One-Chai."
One-Chai looked serious. "You must. Is very good for health. Is Thai
"But, I don't need it. I mean, it won't work on me, you know?" I said
pointing to my crotch.
One-Chai and the cousins started laughing. "Is good for girls," one of the
cousins said. "Not just for this," he laughed, pointing at the front of his
"Listen, I just can't do it. I understand it's your tradition, and believe
me, I respect that. But no way, am I drinking any snake blood. No way. It
grosses me out. Besides, I can't drink it- I'm a vegetarian."
One-Chai shook his head. "No say no. Can not," he said, trying to hand me
"But I don't want to,"
One-Chai gave me a grave look. "If you no drink snake blood is very bad
luck. Many snakes come again. Maybe next time I can not kill snakes. You
must." He flashed me a wide Thai smile. "You drink, you never again get
sick. Is very good for health!"
"Ja, just drink it," Frank said. "I had to smoke the cigarette."
"But isn't it poisonous?" I asked.
"No, I drink many times, is very good for health!" One-Chai laughed pushing
the glass into my hand.
As he topped off everyone else's whiskey with snake blood, I studied the
concoction in my glass. The blood was extremely thick and dark, and
ribboned itself through the whiskey. The blood didn't mix with the alcohol,
so the drink had a striped effect. Striped just like that poor snake whose
death I had witnessed and now, whose blood I was about to drink. I
couldn't believe I was about to do this. I was always so careful when
ordering food in restaurants, always making sure that my food didn't have
any chicken broth or other meaty thing in it, and here I was about to drink
snake blood. Perhaps I had been here in Asia too long. Oh well. Snake
blood is supposed to be a super potent health tonic, at least that's what
Asians say. I guess when in Thailand, do as the Thais do. I sniffed my
drink. It smelled like sweaty metal.
After everyone's glasses had been filled, One-Chai raised his glass and
smiled. "You make toast now?" he asked me.
"Umm…Frank why don't you make the toast."
"Ok. To One-Chai! Killer of the snake! Saviour of meine bungalow! Cheers!"
"Chokdekop," the cousins said. "Cheers!"
I figured the best way to drink this toxin was to do it really fast. I
glanced at Frank but he had already downed his drink. I held my breath,
opened up my throat, and let it all go down, blood and all. My senses
filled with a heaviness as the burn of the whiskey hit my stomach. As the
blood settled in my tastebuds, my stomach spun so I reached for the bottle
of whiskey to wash the taste away with another shot.
One-Chai pushed the bottle away from me. "No more whiskey, must not. Snake
power not work. Water, good." He handed me a bottle of water that was
sitting on the table.
I gulped the water to wash the thick, metal taste of blood off my taste
buds. I put the bottle back on the table, and felt my head spin.
"Maybe you feel crazy head, is good!" One-Chai laughed. "Snake power is
working. Is making you healthy!"
"Whoa," I sat down on the table as everything got fuzzy. I felt as though I
had drank ten glasses of whiskey instead of one. I looked at Frank as he
leaned against one of the support columns of the restaurant.
"One-Chai, are you sure snake blood not poisonous?" Frank slurred.
I looked at One-Chai and his eyes had glazed over. "I tell you, is snake
power working. Is ok." He lazily smacked his lips. "Is best now to lay
down." His eyes squinted half shut as he grinned from ear to ear. "Snake
power is making us healthy now."
One-Chai stumbled over to where the cousins had already retired back to the
floor mats and resumed their wave-watching.
The Thais have quite an interesting idea of what makes one healthy. I felt
as though somebody had put something in my drink. Colors seemed brighter
and everything had a wavy quality to it. Wavy like the ocean where it
seemed like I could hear every single drop wash over every single pebble in
the big big blue pond of………….
"Uuuuhhh…" Frank groaned. "I feel very strange," he clutched his stomach.
"Yeah, I feel pretty strange too," I whispered. "everything is really
bright and loud and……..hey, do you want to go for a walk on the beach?"
Frank groaned again. "No thanks. This is very strange. I will go back to
meine bungalow and lay in the hammock."
He pushed himself off from where he was leaning on the pole and almost fell
over. "Frank!" I said in a slow slurry voice, "Do…you…need…help?" All of a
sudden I felt like we were in a David Lynch movie.
Frank straightened up as well as he could. "No thanks. I think I can make
it. Hey One-Chai!" He called over to the pile of bodies on the mat that
One-Chai was part of. "Thanks for getting the snake out of meine bungalow!"
One-Chai lifted his head in Frank's direction and slowly stretched a smile
on his face. He lazily waved his arm a couple of times through the air.
"Mai-pen-rai," he slurred.
"Ja, and thanks for the snake blood! I feel more healthy already!" Frank
giggled as he stumbled down to his bungalow.
As I made my way down to the beach, I reflected on the day's events. I
thought how so many people in Asia drink snake blood, and how important
this act is to their culture. Even though it disgusted me, I felt that I
had witnessed a sacred part of Thai society; a part of their culture that
not too many tourists that come to this beach for a short holiday see. I
felt a warmness in my heart, and a sense of pride. I had just experienced
something local, one of those experiences that make you hold your head up
high and feel so happy that you are travelling. I took off my flip-flops
when I got down to the water and played in the waves where the water danced
on my feet, drops sticking to my skin like crystals, shimmering in the late
afternoon Thai sun. Yes, I had just had an amazing, traditional experience
in Thailand. Too bad it was at the expense of that poor snake. And what was
One-Chai going to do with that snake anyways? I froze in the water and
watched the waves wash past my feet. I think I'm going to skip on
"One-Chai's Special Fried Rice" tonight. Maybe I'll have a grilled-cheese
sandwich for dinner instead.