Well … according to the solitary “English-speaking” employee of central-Chiang Rai’s Boots pharmacy, it appears that I may in fact pull through after all. I still have no clue what bit me; the pharmacist’s English wasn’t quite good enough for her to understand me, or for me to understand her. But I’m pretty certain she was under the impression that since I hadn’t suffered from any sort of pain or experienced a fever, I was probably bitten by a large insect of some sort. Definitely not a mosquito, probably not a snake … but who knows? I was sent on my way with a tube full of anti-bacterial gel, and firm instructions to apply the cream every morning and night.
I’ve been emailing back and forth quite a bit with Joe Cummings, one of the most legendary Lonely Planet authors in the company’s three-decade long history, and asked for his opinion. (Joe has been living in northern Thailand for something like two decades, and I suspected he may be able to share an educated guess.) He suggested I may have suffered from a spider bite or a scorpion sting, and then told me about a time when he’d been bitten on the foot by a scorpion himself. Here’s a direct quote from Joe’s email:
“I would think that if a snake bit you in your sleep you’d have felt the bite immediately. Same for [a] scorpion or centipede. I got stung by a scorpion in my bedroom here in CM just 15 minutes before driving to an important televised gig with the Rays. It got me on the bottom of my foot and I had trouble walking but by the time we hit the stage the pain was gone and I swear the venom gave me added mental vigor. I remember a friend who walked the entire length of Baja California (took him two years) telling me that he was stung by scorps there so many times that he grew to like the mental stimulation and would seek out their stings … “
Don’t worry Mom! I promise to not seek out scorpion stings. But it’s an interesting thought nonetheless. And by the way, if any of you out there happen to be fans of Joe Cummings’ work (he penned the original LP guide to Thailand and worked on updates for about 20 years), you’ll probably be interested to hear about his most recent project, a sort of garage/roots-rock band known as The Tonic Rays. You can listen to clips on the band’s MySpace site, which is here. Or, visit the band’s official site at www.thetonicrays.com. Joe is also the publisher of the only English-language newspaper in the city of Pai; it’s known as The Pai Post.