“Tim, I guess we’re going to have to pee on you.”
These words, I can only imagine, were the last ones Tim, the 20 year old Australian, wanted to hear from Brian and I– two 25 year old Americans who at first, in a genuine attempt to emote compassion for their suffering friend, only wound up laughing at him. Let me explain.
[quote]Tim had been, “BITTEN” or “STUNG” or “I DON’T KNOW, BUT IT BURNS, MATE!” We sprint to the shore and find Brian laying in the sun squinting at us. It was obvious that Tim had been stung by a jellyfish[/quote]
Brian and I had first met Tim and his Aussie buddies two weeks prior on a bus trip from Bangkok to Kho Samui, an island eight hours to the north in the Gulf of Thailand. We had stumbled onto them by chance a week later in Ko Pangang, and then again, a week after that the night prior at Hippy’s Bar on the island of Phi Phi Don in the Andaman Sea, just south of mainland Thailand. Today’s activity: snorkeling.
We left the harbor at Phi Phi Don around midday in a rented long tail boat captained by a smiling local named “Mo.” Our destination: thirty minutes southeast to Phi Phi Lei, the island made famous by the movie, “The Beach.” We spent a few hours in the cove there, snorkeling in the shallow reefs, drinking beer, more snorkeling, and scampering around the rocks of the tiny island with the big cliffs until “Mo” said it was time to go to the next snorkeling spot: a reef 100 meters or so off a little sandbar of an island who’s name escapes me, somewhere in between Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Lei.
It was on the north end of this reef where Tim had interrupted me from my lobster chasing, grabbed me underwater and made a frantic, wild-eyed, snorkel-bubbled, “go up to the surface right now” gesture. At the surface I learned that Tim had been, “BITTEN” or “STUNG” or “I DON’T KNOW, BUT IT BURNS, MATE!” We sprint to the shore and find Brian laying in the sun squinting at us. It was obvious that Tim had been stung by a jellyfish, and after about thirty seconds of medical discussion, Brian whispers to me, barely able to hold back a laugh, “Dude, we have to pee on him.”
I had never heard of this, and hesitated to question my friend’s medical credibility that diagnosing man-urine to treat a jellyfish sting in the heat of a wilderness crisis such as this was the right thing to do. Brian appeared confident–so I concurred. It was at the moment of us undoing the strings of our boardshorts, preparing to pee on the wailing Australian at our feet that the three of us simultaneously realized the silliness of what was occurring and began the laughter which would go on for the next six hours or so.
And this exactly what Tim’s friends found the three of us doing, after their sprint from the other side of the beach: Brian and I on the ground, pants down, wailing and crying from laughter. Tim in the middle, torso and arms streaked with the puffy red swirls of a jellyfish sting, rolling in the sand, wailing and crying somewhere between laughter and extreme stinging discomfort.
“What the hell happened here?” asks one of the Aussies, already laughing. I compose myself and struggle through a teary-eyed explanation of why it was exactly that Brian and I, instead of helping their moaning friend, had our pants down and were laughing at him.
“Well, go on then. Quit laying there laughing at Timmy and pee on him already,” laughs one of the Aussies from above“
“I can’t.” I cry. “I can’t. I have stage fright.”
“I can’t either,” wheezes Brian.
“YOU GUYS DO IT, “ Tim pleads with his friends.
“There is no way we are going to pee on you mate.”
“ARRRRGH, C’MON PLEASE.”
“Nope, you’re going to have to let the Americans pee on you.”
“PEED ON BY AMERICANS?! ARRRGH, ITS BAD ENOUGH, AIYE!?”
“C’mon boys, seriously.” Tim’s friends plead. “He is in a lot of pain after all, quit being soft and do it.”
“Okokok.” Says Brian, “Maybe in a bottle is easier.”
Brian and I giggle ourselves up and make our way back to the boat. We look for “Mo”, finding him through some palm trees in front of a little bungalow chatting with a Thai woman. They wave at us. I wave back as Brian grabs a couple of empty water bottles from behind me. We sneak around to the other side of the boat to pee in them there. We keep laughing. I am useless, and cannot squeeze out a drop. Brian manages to without much effort and runs his accomplishment over to the Aussies. He stops and we all pause for a moment to admire Brian’s production: a frothy brew of warm, yellowish, American pee. Tim stands up, grabs the bottle from Brian’s hand, and doesn’t hesitate to empty it all over his wounds. A symphony of hand-clapping laughter erupts from the five onlookers.
“Feel better?” asks an Aussie.
We stand there laughing for a few minutes until Mo casually arrives with a huge smile on his face. In one hand he has a bag of limes, in the other–a knife. He looks at all of us, laughs and says, “Citrus work better than pee, is more acid.” “It was very, very funny to watch all of you. My friend and I laughing very much at you. You should have asked me, I always keep limes on boat.”
Tim curses something, we continue to laugh at him, and runs into the water to rinse off Brian’s pee. The sun begins to go down over Phi Phi Lei, and we crack our first beers on the sand watching Tim squeeze an entire bag of limes over his inflamed torso. A few hours into the night most of Tim’s marks were gone, thanks largely to the analgesic effects of another wilderness remedy, beerhistamine. I can’t remember when we stopped laughing.
Photo: Alex MX IT
Meet intrepid junketeer, Shaan Kirpalani, author of Wilderness Survival. If you’d like to read more about the going-ons of Shaan, please visit his site at http://www.shaankirpalani.com/