Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Thursday, February 23, 2012


"I love this sink!" Ioan exclaims when he goes into the bathroom in Koh Phangan, Thailand. Without waiting for an answer, he continues, "It's got this huge crack in it."

We didn't notice the crack much over the next few days, but it was definitely there.

The bungalow is small, cramped, and starts telling us how much clutter we can accumulate over three weeks.

It's a lot. Even though we each have two to three shirts (I actually think my wardrobe is the largest in this family, which would explain my backpack's tendency to shrink whenever objects are placed into it), it seems our backpacks are overflowing with stuff

And where could it all possibly come from? Where has this gargantuan collection of stuff been absorbed?

Yes, Ileana bought me legwarmers in Tibet.

I would have died without them, to be honest, and I still have the cardboard that they came with, mostly because I haven't been able to get a proper picture of "Fits perfectly your nice legs." Or "Conforms to your nice legs." Or whatever it is. The point is that the packaging assumes you have nice legs, not that you need legwarmers to make your legs look nice.

Please note the difference. American packaging tends to tend toward the second example. I vastly prefer the Tibetan.

I also bought the punjabi in India. Well, okay, Dad did, but I picked it out. The trouble is that the top is a perfect just-above-knee dress for warm climates. When paired with the leggings, it feels a bit like something one would only wear in India. I'll be fixing that soon.

All three of these items (legwarmers, punjabi top, leggings), are actually a bit more bulky than I'd expected. Paired with gloves, scarves, winter clothing, and hiking shoes, suddenly the backpack balloons. It becomes ridiculously heavy. And even though I'm not carrying my laptop around, it seems to have gained weight. Trust me, clothes are lighter when you're wearing them, not carrying them.

For one thing, the clothes' weight is evenly distributed over arms, legs, chests, torsoes, feet, waistbands, etc. A backpack tends to center on one place-- your shoulders. And your back, if you decide to lean forward and look absurd.

But still. The amount of sheer stuff in three backpacks is nothing compared to the average closet in the average home. We three together own, what, ten percent of what an average person owns in clothing? Scratch that. Twenty percent.

And yet… this little space is full of stuff.


Our toilet paper becomes infested with ants. We have no idea where they come from, and we're not sure how they found our toilet paper. But soon Ileana and Ioan are dousing it with water (we went without TP for some time thanks to this, letting it dehydrate on the unused safe), I'm moving it around and systematically killing insects with a well-placed thumb. I don't mind eating the occasional ant which has crawled into my fried rice, but I draw the line at toilet paper. The little things are hunted out and we have a few days of insectless bathroom.

Until they somehow find it again. I must have missed a messenger ant one day, because all of a sudden there's a swarm of them everywhere all over again.

Ah well. It's one of those things you can record for posterity.


The waiters here tend to be happy and inclined to make conversation about anything and everything. They laugh frequently, spin trays, play guitar, and suddenly start belting out the lyrics to whatever's playing on the stereo system.

They say good morning, yell out "Who ordered rice pudding?", laugh, and exclaim, "Now I know who you are!"

It takes getting used to.

The days are spent in sitting. Relaxing. Reading. Writing. Drawing. Swimming. There's absolutely no pressure to do anything. We can choose whether to eat breakfast or lunch or both. There's no 'family' time except dinner and playing a card game afterwards.

This might sound weird. A family, at the beach, basically avoiding each other.

It's not that strange, actually. We've been around each other 24/7 for the past four months. 


If I had only six words in which to describe our island experience, they would be:

Relaxing, sometimes boring, bemusing, a relief.

A relief, that is, from perpetual motion.

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