Weekend Wanderer: Spending a Week with Thailand


weekend wanderer

I promise this isn’t another column about scuba. 


Given my aquatic adventures of late, I am obsessed with two cinematic genres. 

The first is scuba and scuba-adjacent horror movies.  

“Should you be watching this?” my husband sighed as I watched Blake Lively’s battle for survival against a shark oblivious to any food that wasn’t Blake Lively. 

If he’d caught me watching the movie about scuba divers submerged in a sunken city, pursued by — what else? — sharks with heightened senses thanks to their blindness, he maybe would have removed every screen from our house.  

And before you ask, yes. I saw The Meg 2: The Trench. I saw it opening weekend. I saw it so early, I was one of the first people in the country to see it. A man from the studio gave me a comment card. 

Five stars all the way. If a movie with Jason Statham and a giant shark doesn’t make you happy then you are a hard person to please and maybe asking for too much from the universe. 

That man from the movie studio, by the way, told me he’s friends with the author of the source material for The Meg. So of course I asked him to pass along a marriage proposal to Jason Statham. 

You didn’t know The Meg is a book, did you? Oh, my friend. It’s an entire book series. 

Life is good, guys. 

Anyway, the second film genre occupying my time is scuba and scuba-adjacent documentaries. 

“Should you be watching this?” my husband again queried as I watched divers kit up for a treacherous dive. 

My dude. How am I supposed to know what to fear in scuba if I don’t know what to fear in scuba? 

I mean, come on.  

By the way, last weekend I went scuba diving in something called the Shark River. 

“Good God,” my husband laughed. “Do you park in the Snake Parking Lot? Take the Eel Highway to get there? Is it next to Alligator Park? Are any of your other fears nearby?” 

It’s not called Shark River because it’s full of sharks. I checked. 

Of course I checked. 

Even if that river was littered with sharks, I would have dived it anyway. Now that I know to watch out for blind sharks with heightened senses. And now that Blake Lively has taught me proper shark evasion technique. 

Thank you, scuba and scuba-adjacent horror movies. 

This, um, deep dive into waterlogged documentaries means I have spent the last few weeks consumed by Thailand

Which made it that much more curious when Willie signed up for a Thai dating service. 

I told you this wasn’t about scuba. 

The first documentary I watched was The Rescue.  

Actually, the first documentary I watched was Blackfish. I’d already seen it, of course. Many times. But it’s always good to have a reminder of why scuba diving with captive orcas is unwise. 

So, The Rescue

Remember the Thai boys soccer team trapped in a cave when Thailand’s monsoon season arrived early? Remember how the rescue divers sedated the boys to get them out of the cave? 

If you don’t remember, watch The Rescue.  

If you do remember, watch The Rescue

The rescue divers were regular guys, obsessed with cave diving. Their stories — before, during, and after the Thai rescue — captivated me. 

I had to know more. 

So I read a half dozen articles about the Thai rescue. I read about the soccer team. I read about the coach trapped with them. 

And I read about the divers. 

Then I found a book about the Thai cave rescue, written by one of the divers. I found a second book written by Matt Gutman from ABC News

Um, ABC News? Yes, please. 

Now that I’ve said all that, I realize I’m just researching a term paper. 

Right? Documentary, news articles, two books? I could bang out an essay on the whole thing in about 15 minutes. 

I’ve learned so much about Thailand through this, well, assignment. First, the Thai cave is not, in fact, home to sharks with heightened senses because they’re blind. Or, for that matter, megalodons once thought extinct. 

But this area of Thailand is home to many people considered stateless — belonging to no one country or ethnicity. 

Like the boys on the soccer team. 

You can read all about it in my term paper. 

Spending these weeks poring over cave diving, Thailand, and the intersection of the two made the alert from Willie’s credit card about the $22.95 she spent on a Thai dating service kind of cool. 

I was happy for about four seconds. 

The reality that Willie’s credit card had probably been hijacked upended my joy. I mean, Willie has been known to buy things I wouldn’t expect her to buy. Like the third sofa for her six hundred square foot apartment. 

“Hey, Willie. Did you sign up for a Thai dating service?” I asked during one of our many, many, many phone calls. 

“Well,” Willie said, “the men here at the Temple of Doom are kind of boring. I thought someone from another country might be more interesting.” 

Look at Willie, making jokes like she has a column to get out every week. 

For a moment, I was disappointed. Not only did I want to learn more about Thai culture, but I now had a fraudulent charge to deal with. 

Reality was quick to knock again. Willie? In Thailand?  

Now that’s something to be afraid of. 

Especially if you live in Thailand. 

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