The other morning the Aussies left early and we became the sole residents of the hotel. They found it too quiet and negotiated a 5,000 baht deal with a local taxi guy to take them back to Bangkok. So working for us we have a couple of receptionists, three cooks, two porters, five gardeners eight housemaids and four waitresses plus a driver for the truck which seems to be for staff transport. All very Downton Abbey really the only trouble being that only one of them speaks any English at all and hers is very basic indeed. Communication is by sign language and pointing at pictures on the menu.The receptionist speaks some but understands none unless you write it down. So like some of my pupils back in Puglia she has learnt hers from a book but never heard English spoken by an English person only a Thai teacher.
I have only had this experience once before of being at the only one in an hotel and that was in Sri Lanka in the late 80’s. The troubles were at one of their heights with the Tamil Tigers bombing in downtown Colombo and at the airport. Curfew was in place and I arrived for the monthly visit to the office there. I booked into the Oberoi Hotel , a huge place, all very modern with every mod con. The receptionist and the manager were there to greet me and told me I was alone. They upgraded me to the biggest suite i have ever been in. It was a voyage of discovery just finding my way around all the rooms. Dinner however was excruciating as I sat being watched by about twenty waiters and two maitre d’s . Every time I paused in eating about 10 of them jumped over thinking I had finished and one guy spent the meal merely topping up my glass of beer every time I took a sip.
The Ban Montra has not proved to be the same. Nobody seems to actually run the place it is more a workers co-operative and the Northcote Parkinson rule of work expands into the time available to complete it has never been truer than here. Mind you at £30 a night including an huge breakfast I guess shouldn’t complain too much.
That is looking north and this is looking south
We are however on the wrong side of that hill with the temple on. The town is on the other side and that is where the bars, restaurants and shops are. However lest you think that that is where the hedonist scene is played out. I did mange to commandier the truck the other night when it wasn’t being used by the staff and we hit town. By 8.30 p.m. everything was closing down and by the time the truck returned at 9 p.m. the place was in darkness. Thailand 40 years ago without a doubt and whilst great for the tired executive on his holiday I have to say that bed at 9.30 has never rally been my scene. I met a couple of South Africans on the beach . It was actually rather a Man Friday/ Robinson Crusoe type meeting as neither of us could believe there was another foreigner alive. They retired to Hua Hin 2 hours up the road and come here for 2 weeks a year to wind down. I guess there are times in Italy when i could think of doing that but 2 weeks seems a very long time to have such early nights. A couple of Germans in town were there for 2 months on a special deal at The Arcadia Hotel which is where Google maps put this hotel and why I booked it. Still I bet they put towels on their bed chairs. We of course have no need as we kind of own our hotel. In fact I move around the bed chairs to get my monies worth everyday now and use the beach towels.
For most of this week this has been the view from our solitary breakfast table
However today the wether well and truly changed as the next tropical storm came out of the South China Sea. This one is to hang around most of the week. This is the view this morning
We are rather glad to be leaving tomorrow on our train ride back to Bangkok then up to Chiang Mai on Tuesday. Two months here ? I don’t think so whatever the rate for the hotel.