When me Mam came to South East Asia: Part 3 of 3

Welcome to the long awaited (read:late) third and final part of Me Mums Visit To South East Asia; Thailand. More specifically Phuket, sunshine and beaches.

We shall start at arrival in Phuket, after getting some money exchanged into Thai Bhat we found ourselves trying to find a taxi at the airport and exasperated as the sellers tried to base the taxi price on the number of people; 3 of you x 500 baht = 1500 baht (30 quid) – really? So can we take one taxi each for 500 baht each? No, of course not. Thanks to this horseshit we ended up getting a shuttle with 12 others for 150 baht each. This was a touch more hassle but we ended up being the first drop off which made things rather much better.

Having flown in at 12 it was around 4 by the time we got to the hotel, put our bags in the room and worked out where we were at so we headed to a haunt round the corner Ken knew; Pum’s Café (apparently coming to Manchester soon?) this was a place with delicious Thai food made from super fresh ingredients for a reasonable price served with excellently cold beer. Perfect.

Rather than making this a list from here on out for the next “seven days in Phuket” (not starring Brad Pitt) I will look at some of the highlights and events and add a few pieces of insight, for two reasons; avoiding boredom and the days have rather blurred into one another in my mind.

Firstly lets get a rant and me embarrassing myself out of the way first. First the embarrassment; one morning after breakfast I came back to the room and could not find my iPod for love nor money as I was packing my bag (we were moving rooms but we’ll get to that in the rant) I searched and searched but nothing so of course I figured someone must have stolen it.

I head down to see the manager, puff out my chest, get my best indignant voice out and spend some time complaining, ranting and threatening to sully his hotels reputation all over Trip Advisor and various travel websites. Moustache and all he proceeds to tell me that his hotel will be doing nothing about it and I should report it to the police, a 30 minute drive away.

I decide to consider this and head back to my room, where of course upon embarking on last search I find my iPod which has somehow ended up in one of my socks. (A clean one at least). I then have to go and eat some crow with the manager who looks none too pleased with me. At this point I felt bad.

By the time we had finished at the hotel I did not, and here is a short list of reasons why:

1) The first night we were right next to a club blaring out music and kept awake until around 3am, after finally getting to sleep the noise of 4 foot wide steel posts being driven into the ground at 6am left us with 3 hours sleep.

We complained and our rooms were moved the following day.
2) In this 2nd room the air conditioner failed in my Mums room and their “technician” (a cleaner) couldn’t fix it, resulting in a third move.

3) We booked a taxi on the last night to take us to the airport the next morning with the hotel, thinking this would be the easiest option by far.

Error. The hotel gave our taxi to someone else and didn’t call another, it took 30 minutes of us waiting and getting steadily more annoyed for them to realise this mistake and another 15 to call another, we eventually set off for the airport around 50 minutes late and pretty sure we would miss check in for our flight.

During this time the staff were completely unhelpful, said “one minute” around 379 times before doing nothing about the problem and walking off.

Completely. Useless.

Now that we have the rant out of the way lets get to the good things! Sitting on the beach, lazing around in the sunshine, reading books and swimming in the pool, after an island trip that tried our patience at times on the third day (we’ll get to that next) we decided the rest of the holiday would be spent chilling without anything stressful.

After we’d spend our first day doing precisely bollock all Linda e-mailed the next morning to say Borneo was being surrounded by the remnants of a storm and the next town on her destination list, Sandakan was currently flooded and people were crossing some roads in boats. She of course didn’t like the sound of this and so consulted with AirAsia and various weather websites and concluded flying to Phuket would be the best way to go forward.

Now we were four people but little else changed, days were spent in the sunshine, at the beach, under umbrellas, in the sea, by the pool, reading books and generally chilling out. Nights were spent eating good food, gossiping, drinking, sometimes doing irish jigs (we’ll get to that too) and having an excellent time.

getting some of Liam Gallagher's Sunshiiiiiiiiiiine!

Lets get back to that island trip I mentioned earlier; we decided we’d like to see James Bond Island and after a little negotiation with a Thai “girl” with a voice deeper than Barry Manilow we were booked on to a tour the next day.

Great, an early start was followed with a long bus trip and to a waiting place, to a bus to a boat and finally out toward the islands. There were various stops throughout the day and some were lovely; sitting on a beautiful island and shooting the breeze, being paddled around caves inside islands during the afternoon among them.

Also shining through was the effects of Phuket becoming ridiculously commercial, a myriad of shops on James Bond Island all selling the same utter crap and spoiling the place. Crappy quality boats, a beyond disgusting lunch that was never enough for all the people on the boat, being asked for tips for our canoer and the girl (whose English was a teacher’s nightmare) who told us which island we would get to next and for the guys who dressed up as ladyboys. Get fucked, its not like the trip was particularly cheap, it came to nearly a 100 quid for the 3 of us on a boat that wouldn’t get out of the harbour in Australia!

There were definitely some fun parts of the day out but by the time we arrived home at 7pm (brochure indicated we’d be back at the hotel before 4:30 of course) and the driver then looked at us like he would like a tip also we were thoroughly soured on the prospect of another boat trip to anywhere.

On an unrelated note I would like to compliment the Thai sellers on at least being pleasant to negotiate with, they are still pushy and start at ridiculous prices but they certainly don’t make it feel like a personal verbal fight as it can here. I was mainly negotiating for my Mum in all fairness though, outside of a couple of fake football shirts (Australia and Thailand national teams) I didn’t pick up much of anything. I did want a hat but they didn’t have them in sizes big enough for my fat head. Bummer.

I got to add a few more beers to my collection that I’ve drank and had my photo taken with over the years (I’m determined to make them into some kind of awesome photo album at some point), my favourite in the naming stakes was “Cheers”; its very hard to name a beer better than that. Singha is the best tasting beer in Thailand for me and Chang is the one most guaranteed to lead to a hangover at 6.8% – that makes Stella look weak and we all know about Stella!

Cheers! Skoll! Masdaravia! Slantje! Etc, etc 😀

Speaking of beers one of the nights we were there Linda was feeling a touch sick and headed back to the room early leaving me, Mum and Ken to head out for a few quiet drinks. Something I have become more proficient at in recent times but not something I feel I will ever perfect – sometimes a few quiet drinks just have to lead to a few more messy ones.

We found ourselves in Scruffy Murphy’s Irish bar, a live cover band were playing and pints were on special offer. At this point we’d had a few beers with dinner and from that point on I could only guess at 6 or 7 more pints while we laughed, shouted at each other, sang along in rough approximations of the song being played and even danced what we thought to be an irish jig to various songs. Any Irish friends of mine would likely have shook their head and opined I looked more drunk and stupid than of any particular dancing nationality. A fantastic night which lead to a pretty decent hangover at least on my part.

Three skunks about to get drunk!

To successfully complete any trip to a place where one is located it is simply a must to head to Hard Rock Café and on the last night in Phuket we did. As usual we were given superb memorabilia, great atmosphere and an awesome soundtrack. As any regular readers know I rather love Hard Rock Café; great food, reasonable prices, great atmosphere and they always have a good beer on tap. In Phuket it was Singha, which went down like silk when accompanied with a big thick SOB Burger (guacamole, jack cheese, bacon, etc) that was followed by a four way share of the always delectable Hard Rock Café Fudge Brownie. NOM NOM NOM NOM.

When you can't face dessert on your own share it between all four of you - a Jon Bellwood proverb!

In the postscript to this blog we will pop into Singapore for the last day where I say goodbye to my Mum and head back to HCMC but that’s another blog for another day!

So after what some might consider a rather disjointed look at our time in Phuket I shall end this blog here dreaming of Hard Rock Café, Burgers and Beers. *Wistful Sigh*

Love and Singha!

J. Xx

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