An old man in a leather cowboy hat and baggy red pants pulled up above his waste greeted us as we arrived at Ko Chik (also spelt Jik or Jeek) in December 2020. “Welcome foreigner,” he said. “Ko Chang has many foreigners, but never any here!”
In a flash, this welcoming “uncle” led us into the village. Other curious islanders joined as we strolled. Hearing our voices, only one of the three dogs laying in the sunshine raised its head. Hung from a window, a dozen silver fish contrasted the faded wood-and-mortar walls of a shophouse. Patches of flowers — purple ruellia and bright-orange bird of paradise — bulged over the lane.
“Are you hungry?”, a plump woman in a floral-pattern sarong asked us. “My cousin makes delicious noodles. Follow me, follow me…”