Day 192: Ben Norris The Immortal

Today gets its title for the simple fact I consumed a variety of drinks, all of which offered various health benefits. Not only that but I think it has a nice ring to it. I shall explain what each one does over the next few paragraphs. In terms of doing stuff, again, we didn’t do much. I’d say it was safe to presume we’ve become creatures of habit. There is certainly a pattern emerging with the things we do: have breakfast, chill by pool, go out for tea. That’s basically it. Now here’s what little else happened on the day I became immortal.

• When we eventually got out of bed, we decided to check out the restaurant Tiffany told us about the previous day. I call it a restaurant, but in Pai that’s a very loose term to throw around. By restaurant what I actually mean is a small open building which looks more like somewhere you’d go to chill out, rather than your Jamie Oliver’s and Rick Stein’s glorious establishments. Fat Cats was the name of our eatery, they sold very nice food and an array of health based drinks from ginger to chamomile. As we sat down we were joined by two cats that led around our table, it was then I understood where the place got its name. Beside us was a large flower pot filled with water, inside was a tiny baby turtle swimming freely, occasionally climbing on the rock to do some yoga.

• We both ordered a simple tuna melt sandwich and a couple fruit shakes. While we were waiting for them to arrive I began flicking through the menu. Near the back was something called Kombucha. This magical drink sounded like the elixir of life, as it claimed to have amazing healing powers. As well as being a great immune system booster it also said studies found it played a great role in fighting cancer. Obviously we were both skeptical, but I ordered a glass all the same.

• The drink itself is an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea that is used as a functional food. Sometimes referred to as a “mushroom” or “mother”, the kombucha culture is actually a symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast (SCOBY: symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast). As strange as it sounds, it was nothing compared to its taste. The flavour sat somewhere between sangria and vinegar, and it tingled my tongue with each sip. Oddly enough it was both endurable and enjoyable. After drinking the bright red liquid and my healthy mango fruit shake, I was off to a great start, I’d probably already increased my life expectancy by at least 5 years.

• We left our bikes in the shade the whole time, as the day was even hotter than the previous, and sitting on a scolding hot seat isn’t fun for anyone. After settling the bill Sarah and I returned to the resort. We grabbed the necessary items from our room: book, iPod, kindle, towels, as well as applying the all too important suntan lotion. We then spent the whole afternoon in, and by the pool. It was a lot easier to read a book in the water, because as I’ve already mentioned, the sun was unbearably hot. I managed to read another two lengthy chapters of my book, and occasionally led in the sun listening to podcasts. From 3pm – 5pm the sun was a lot more bearable, as not only had it sank in the sky somewhat, but the white clouds floating gently by created shade on the ground. After grabbing a couple Cokes for the pair of us I returned to the room, leaving Sarah to sit by the pool chatting with her sister and niece online.

• When Sarah came back, we (by we I mean Sarah) began looking at flights to Singapore, as we would be meeting her parents there on the 9th of May. And seeing as it’s 1,642 miles from Pai to Singapore it would certainly be quicker to fly. Although, we’d have to travel some distance to Phuket first in order to catch said flight. While Sarah was looking at various flights I looked at clothing sites, and did google searches for discount codes (which I think you’ll all agree is much more useful). It was then I made the discovery. Last summer I missed the opportunity to buy a nice pair of burgundy cotton shorts. They were available for a limited time, then they disappeared from the shops forever. At least that’s how it seemed. Now, on a particular shops website, they were back, and were only available in my size. I immediately added them to the basket and just had to wait for Sarah to see if she wanted anything as well. She didn’t get around to it immediately, and instead we decided to go out for tea.

• It was the latest we had left it to go into town, around 7:30pm. It was very dark out by that time, so to stay illuminated and allow passing traffic to see us, I set the torch app on my phone to flash mode. We were going to eat at the Witching Well as soon as we arrived, but Sarah saw that the beauty salon was free. She asked if it was a good idea to get a pedicure before food, to which I agreed, then I wandered back towards Pings Burger Queen. God bless her, she was there for me in my moment of need. Their food must be good, as it attracted the attention of a local dog as I stood outside the salon eating. When I finished I went inside to join Sarah, then it wasn’t much after that the lady was finished with her feet.

• Because I had the burger already I only ordered a tuna sandwich. We both enjoyed more fruit shakes (increasing my life expectancy some more) then afterwards we took a walk around town. Pai seemed busier than the other night, which probably meant a bus load of people had just arrived. We stopped in the 7Eleven for our usual pre-bed water purchase, adding to the healthy lifestyle even more. Outside the building I noticed the crazy tea guy had moved his stand. During our last visit he was tucked away around the corner, now he looked to have bought a prime location for his business.

• This was a guy that dressed up each evening in a funny costume. Usually a black fluffy bullhorn hat and large red framed glasses (kind of like Elton John’s star shaped ones). There looked to be a new addition to his stall, the banner on the front. It now had a large image of both him, and what looked to be his colleague, on it. As well as all the various flavours of tea they sold. You could order different sized cups for your tea, the largest being a bamboo tube converted into a cup. If you brought this along on your next visit it reduced the cost of another drink. To add to my ever increasing life expectancy I ordered a large bamboo tube of ginger tea. I don’t know why, probably because I read of its health benefits at Fat Cats earlier that morning. It made the ride home very difficult, not only did I have two large bottles of water in the basket on the front, but I now had to ride one handed, with the free hand clasping onto a tube of boiling hot tea. I don’t quite know how my grandad used to eat crystallised ginger, I know it’s good for you, but it doesn’t taste great, and each sip of my drink burned the back of my throat. We had to stop halfway for me to finish it so I could ride the bike properly along the dark lanes. It was in that moment I wished I’d bought the iced tea instead, but I couldn’t complain as by now I was probably invincible.

• When we got back to our room we booked the flight to Singapore, it came to £110 for the pair of us. If all went to plan we should arrive at the same time as Sarah’s parents. I then looked on the website for those shorts, and encouraged Sarah to look for something so I could go on and order everything, but once again the shorts were gone. In that small space of time the shorts had sold out, it was obviously not meant to be. Sarah then promised she’d do her best to scour the Internet and find another pair for me. To finish off our day we watched the annual British tv show “The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year”. This was a quiz show (if the title didn’t give it away) that aired in England at the end of each year. It was basically a satirical look back at the years events, and involved three teams of funny celebrities answering questions posed to them by British comedian Jimmy Carr. As always it was hilarious, and quite informative for us, as we missed the last three moths of 2012 because of this adventure. We then went through the evening rituals, and by the time we decided to go to sleep it was somewhere around 2am. Don’t tell my mum, as that’s at least 6 hours past my bedtime!

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