The night before we leave for the Surin Islands we check into small individual bungalows. This is mine.
t’s a rickety hut with simple lines. At a distance it looks exotic. Upon closer inspection, the slats are so far apart little is kept out. Luckily, the queen-size bed is covered with mosquito netting. I walk lightly across the fragile floor hoping to get to the other side of the hut where a back door opens to a narrow, unstable balcony that overlooks a river and forest. A wrong move, or heavy foot could send the balcony, and me along with it, reeling into the water below.
Best that I spend as little time as possible in this temporary home of mine. The crew is meeting for dinner in a few minutes. We feast on rice, vegetables and noodles.
It’s almost 8 pm. We have an early call tomorrow. As everyone leaves to go across the street for bottled water and other provisions for our voyage, I decide to call it a night and go back to my hut.
“Are you okay to walk back alone?” Dr. Arunotai, who heads the research team, asks.
“Yes. Why?” Assuming she’s referring to the uneven path in the dark. But I’m wrong.
“Just walk hard so they can feel you.”
I stomp as hard as I can down the narrow dirt trail to my hut.
Thus, begins my adventure to Surin…