{This was an email I sent out to my contacts on my first trip to Asia in 2002}

so far we’ve been exploring koh samui. we’ve rented a jeep with no suspension and have been bouncing around the island. i must explain that in thailand there are no road laws. or, possibly there are, but no one seems to know or follow them. there are these signs everywhere that say, “please remember to drive on the left”. maybe they should have the signs written in thai as well, for the thais drive on the side of the road which has the least amount of cars/bikes/animals, no matter if it is the left or right side.

a few days ago we were exploring the southwest end of the island when we came across the royal meridian. we stopped and had dinner while watching the sunset. it was the most expensive dinner by far we’ve had in thailand, the bill was about $20. pippin had a mai-tai drink served in a whole pineapple, with a hole for the straw, decorated with orchids. they even had an entire vegetarian menu!

i have to tell you about the ants. i dont mind ants at all, in fact i kinda like them. i used to play with them when i was a kid, blocking their paths and seeing what they’d do, flattening ant hills and coming back the next day to see if they’d rebuilt.. but the ants here are from another planet… they’re unbelievable.

my first encounter was on koh tao, after a rainstorm had washed out the sandy walking paths. it was about an hour later and i saw no one had walked on the path yet, but the ants had already rebuilt their hill. and what a hill it was, maybe 10 different entrances along a line about two feet long, and about a million ants scurrying from entrance to entrance. the line between was about one inch deep already from the ants walking back and forth. i was impressed…

well… the ants found our trash can about a week ago. they love our leftovers. i followed their trail over the side of the can, to the floor, around the back of the fridge, around the corner, in front of the door, up the wall to the side of the door and out through a hole about eye level.

i figured i’d had them, i’ll just block up the hole with some tape! right… the next day there was a hole in the tape i put there. a hole!! they’d eaten through!! i couldn’t believe it. i figured i’d just have to be a bit cleaner in the kitchen, we couldn’t leave any scraps out. but it was too late, they’d found us, they were here to stay.

yesterday i outsmarted them. i filled a large shallow bucket with water and placed the trash bin inside — an uncrossable moat surrounding the trash. the ant line has disappeared.

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