Malaria and Dengue fever are similar. Both are a symptom of early tropical rain and the bothersome mosquitoes biting by the dozens whenever one steps from under protection. I sleep under the mosquito net in my dandy chamber and preferably with my window open, but these days I hide in the air-conditioned safety of locked shades, bothered by the fact I live at the beachfront and cannot dream under the skies. Turns out that my prediction about the illness of my staff was head on when I treated the pastry chef with Malarone on his first day of symptomatic Dengue fever. Although HR finally dragged him to the nearby hospital (where they had no equipment to take a blood sample) I had had requested a transport to the better Phuket hospital. Tomsai beach hospital still under construction send two of my staff back to the Island with Aspirin and codein but unclear about a diagnosis. To circumvented HR’s uncompassionate care for my staff I arranged for little Steward to go home to the Phuket where the local hospital confirmed Malaria. The doctor prescribed him the same medicine I gave the pastry chef the first night. Not a big mystery, it’s explained in every Thai travel journal and awkwardly I’m wondering why we don’t have this prescription drug in our nursing department… To explain a little bit further, Malaria is basically dangerous, if caught multiple times you will experience terrible muscle pain, headaches and high fever, diarrhea, loss of appetite and here in Thai they call it “bone shattering sickness”. Keep in mind there is no need to suffer through this for three days before HR finally sends you to an inactive hospital, where they received something equivalent to Tylenol.
These last days we were busy, especially around lunch time. I designed an easy to prepare menu for a Spanish travel group visiting Thailand for a promo tour, and served exquisite Gazpacho Andalusia and prepared Paella with sea food. After they enjoyed their “home-cuisine” I invited the ladies to view the kitchen. They all walked barefoot from the beach into my squeaky clean workplace (which is quite normal here…) and one of the Agents, while flicking her cigarette ashes on the floor said:” Very clean kitchen! I can tell you are Swiss”… I’m American. Another travel group of eleven arrived two hours after they announced their lunch visit (luckily) and within the first fifteen minutes complained that the food took way too long to arrive on the table. That after-noon, around 3:30 I schlepped myself to bed and took a nap. It was one of those naps you wake up one hour later feeling even worse.
The days are starting earlier, having an underwater dive team shooting with the big boss and requesting staff presents at 6:30AM. We are still five people short. Somehow we manage, but everyone is showing signs of tiredness.
Dinner preparations are getting faster and the consistency is improving; it is of great advantage for the cook helpers that I am working next to them and physically can show techniques. (Although sign language becomes a dangerous attempt when talking with knife and fry pan) it helped that the skies regularly close at sunset and it rained a few evenings, chasing the guests for early dinners inside. Room service orders drizzle in and in general we have a fun time, even though we stay busy for the entire days. The other evening I requested Pastry kitchen to write the names of my cold kitchen lady; Yok (sweet lady-boy) and the GM’s secretary on a birthday cake. There is this little whole in the wall bar on the very end of the beach. A scary walk through living quarters of fisher villagers and back there is a karaoke dungeon. I have no better words for that dark smelly room I once briefly visited in daytime; it was scary even then. One can imagine what awful quality schnapps they drink back there. A busy snooker table (how did they get this one on the island) and an open kitchen right next to each other and if one has to pee you simply “release” into the corner; seriously! Maybe tomorrow I can blame my hangover or any other illness on the Dengue fever.