The dream is over…

Not for me but for Marty.

It was all his idea to come here, he’d already planned this as a stopover on his way to spending a year to Australia. He’s been doing Muay Thai much longer than me; two years or so to my three months. I’d never have even considered doing this if he hadn’t mentioned it during a Messenger conversation – something at that particular time just clicked into place, I’d just started a new job and finally had money again so I thought “Why not?”. I also had spare cash kicking about as a result of selling my entire DVD and CD collections (clutter bad, digital good), money which I had earmarked for a trip to Russia, a trip[ I’m now eternally grateful that I never booked.

With a case of classic bad timing, Marty managed to prick his wrist on a thorn bush in Belfast just a week or two before we left. It was nothing, literally the size of a pin prick. No bother – except that it got infected and his left arm swelled up like a balloon, leaving him in agony and pretty much unable to use it for anything, let alone fighting.

The doctors gave him antibiotics and the seemed to be working slowly but surely. However, a couple of training sessions soon put paid to that. Cue a visit to a Bangkok hospital and more pills, all to no avail. The arm remained, stubbornly, the wrong shape, size and colour.

On a normal holiday this wouldn’t be much of a problem: stay away from anything strenuous, keep it rested, keep popping the pills and enjoy your relaxation. This isn’t a normal holiday though, far from it. We came here to do two things, kick some ass and chew some gum – and we forgot to bring the gum.

Furthermore, this isn’t some tourist camp. Bangplee is a remote suburb of Bangkok with no attractions for westerners – the fighters here are the only farangs within a half-hour cab ride, so if you want entertainment outside training times you either spend cash getting there or you provide it yourself. For me this is ideal, I focus on training and in between sessions I can read, listen to tunes, swim, sleep or take the odd trip to Bangkok or Mellows. The camp ain’t cheap though so if you’re not getting the training then the costs seriously mount up.

So Marty has hit the road. Last night he packed up, signed out and headed up north for some adventures which don’t involve repeated use of arms, or any other limbs for that matter. I must admit that I’m absolutely gutted for him, I’d pictured him being the one going pedal-to-the-metal at the camp while I slacked off, maybe managing one session a day. Instead I’ve been at it twice a day while he managed maybe five sessions in total.

I’ve made a change to my own plans as well. Originally we intended to stay here for a fortnight before heading down to Koh Samui for a spot of relaxation on the beach. Right now I can’t imagine anything worse. Tourist central, sitting around doing nothing but ‘chilling’? Fuck that. I’m pushing myself harder in a physical and mental sense than I ever have and it feels amazing. Apart from some shoulder pain from constantly holding my guard up (yeah, I’m a wuss) my body feels great and now I can barely remember how I passed the time before this, it’s all coming so naturally. So I’m trading my week off for another week at Fairtex – after all I can check Koh Samui out any time once I move here, I’ll be living a mere two-hour ferry ride from the place.

Anyway, farewell Marto. I’m so fucking glad you mentioned coming here and owe you big-time for it. Hope you discover some fucking amazing stuff on your travels and we can hopefully grab a pint in Bangkok in a couple of weeks before we head our respective ways.


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