Lory is not a squeamish kind of woman. She was raised on a farm, riding horses, milking cows and selling calves to the market for slaughter. She raised cats that were half pet, half ratters. Not squeamish at all, really. So this story may surprise you…
We had been at the Rawi Warin Resort on Koh Lanta, Krabi for about a week. Part of our morning ritual following a two-hour walk, a twenty lap swim and breakfast on the balcony restaurant of the hotel. Lory throws pieces of bread from the balcony into the pond below. Fish of various sizes immediately attack the bread, and we anxiously await the arrival of the arapaima fish, a seven-foot long import from South America, that is the prize fish of the pond. This is Lory’s morning entertainment, consistent with the farm girl described earlier.
The morning ritual following the fish feeding frenzy is the deliciously decadent period of sunbathing and reading by the lap pool. You really know you are on holiday when your biggest decision in a four to six hour period is when to roll over. On the morning of our story, Lory rose from her poolside lounging chair to return to our hotel room, a mere thirty paces. Whether her purpose was to get a cold drink from the minibar, or to tend to some other personal business is now forgotten.
When she arrived at the room, Lory noted that the door stood open, a sign that the hotel housekeeping staff was on the job. However, she also noted that on the step outside the room, a monitor lizard was on his way into the room. Lory stood her ground and called out for the attention of the housekeeping woman, Khun Ming, whom we know on the casual basis of her tending to our room every day. No answer came from inside the room, but Lory’s calling out inspired the lizard to slither into the room at lightning speed, cross the length of the room and climb two and a half feet up the curtain of the patio doors. Lory entered the room tentatively, keeping the lizard at a safe distance, once again calling out to our friend Khun Ming.
Khun Ming did indeed respond and appear from outside the room at our doorway. Lory informed Khun Ming in English that the monitor lizard had entered the room, pointing at the beast, where it hung from the curtain. Khun Ming, who speaks little to no English, fully comprehended madam’s concern and responded to this cry for help by wisely keeping Lory between herself and the lizard. As the two women communicated their strategy, Lory in English and Khun Ming in Thai, I remained somewhat oblivious to the event, lounging poolside, deeply ensconced in a novel. However, I can attest to the fact that the communication referred to above emanated from room to poolside in the form of women screeching with what I interpreted as hilarity. Perhaps not.
Back to the scene of the intrepid intruder. Lory had cleverly climbed onto the countertop, which houses the television and some shelving space. Khun Ming was still poised on the floor holding her mop. Lory requisitioned the mop and leapt from the countertop onto the bed, positioning herself nearer to the lizard’s curtain. As Lory stealthily moved the mop toward the curtain, the lizard turned its scaly head, darting out its slithery tongue and undulating its bulbous throat as with breath and cunning. Lory winced as the mop handle made contact with the lizards tail. In a flash the lizard was down the curtain and across the floor! Khun Ming shrieked in alarm and leapt onto the bed for protection. The lizard moved toward the open door of the closet and Lory feared it would make its home in one of the drawers containing our unmentionables. Again the lizard reared its ugly head, exposing a long lick of a tongue, and stretched its bulbous throat in defiance. The tail, as if with life of its own, slithered back and forth on the hardwood floor.
Suddenly, a man to the rescue! Thank God! One of the groundskeepers, hearing the cries of damsels in distress entered the room valiantly and chastised poor Khun Ming with the Thai equivalent of “These lizards don’t bite. What are you afraid of?” Then in a disappointingly anti-climactic gesture, the unnamed hero ushered the lizard out of the room. And so ends the story of Lory and the monitor lizard. Except of course for the moral of the story, which is: in the event of an encounter with a reptilian arch-villain… send for the groundskeeper.