13th Jun 2012 - 22nd Jun 2012
Who Invited This Lot??
8 months is a long time to go without seeing a familiar face (Patsy and Eddie were our only taste of home) and we were really looking forward to seeing my sisters, Ben, James, and Mum and David for 10 days in Phuket.
Vietnam had been great but we were done in with the dong and we couldn’t wait to get back to Thailand. It was funny though because as well as being really excited we were also a bit weirded out by the thought of seeing people we know, staying in a proper nice hotel for a change and staying in one place for more than 3 nights!! Travelling had got us used to moving about constantly and to be honest a little holiday was exactly what we needed.
Our journey started early when we took a taxi with Dom and Jaa from Hanoi to the airport. We had a bit of a blip when we missed the cab by 30 seconds! It turns out the driver was an arse and he went without us. Still after a false start he came back to get us and we made it on our first flight of the day to Bangkok. We had a couple of hours to kill in Bangkok airport, which we did by eating a massive lunch and sneaking samples of perfume, moisturizer and lip gloss from duty free (me not Andy!).
The next leg, Bangkok to Phuket, was nice and easy and after a shared mini bus ride to our hotel we were reunited with Helen, Ben, Laura and James! They had already been in Phuket for a few days and we were there for the remainder of their holiday. It was amazing to see them all again and after hugs and a welcome drink we spent time catching up. Helen delivered my new pants and some well needed new clothes ‘Thank You Helen!!’ and the old pants went in the bin!
The hotel we were staying in Pacific Club Resort was perfect. The rooms were lovely, with posh swan towels on the bed and the breakfast buffet was to die for! Honestly!! Mexican Eggs were Andys favourite and Eggs Benedict Florentine was mine! My family treated us to the room for the time we were there, which was really kind of them and meant our budget wasn’t so stretched. James and Lauras room became the base for a few nights guzzling the duty free gin and cheap bottles of Chang. We tried to stay up for the football one night but after it was delayed because of the weather only a few of us managed it! We had a funny impromptu quiz night one night and tested our knowledge of theme tunes too! Complete with proper funny buzzer sounds that probably really confused the next door neighbours! We also found some nice restaurants about 10 minutes walk from our hotel and we feasted on great Thai food, including pad thai, noodle soup and giant battered prawns. We did the usual holiday stuff, lazing by the pool, a trip to the town in a tuk tuk, an afternoon messing about on the beach and even hiring some scooters.
We educated the visiting Brits in the Thai language (not that we knew much!) teaching them how to say hello, thank you and how to ask for the bill. The only other thing we know how to do is survive on a budget, we showed them one of our secrets and introduced them to the 7-11 burger. (A staple snack food for days we go over budget!) It’s only a cheap microwave burger for 20 baht (about 40p) but after you add your own salad and sauce it tastes pretty good! We didn’t hear anyone complaining after Ben and I did a burger run on his scooter and brought a bag full home to enjoy by the pool!
We sampled the local culture too, going on a big night out to ‘Sin City’ … Patong. Lady boy and girlie bar capital of Thailand! It started with a ride in a party tuk tuk and ended with a McDonalds at about 2am. Patong was a crazy place, the most mental night life we have seen since new year in Bangkok, and maybe even a bit more mental! The main street is lined with bars all sporting poles, girls in windows and ‘over friendly’ hostesses! As you walk along you get bombarded by dozens of people trying to flog you the stereotypical ping pong shows, they hold menus up to show you all different shows you can go to …. We wanted a closer look at the list of random shows but we didn’t want them to think we were interested in going. I saw Chinese and Needle show on the list but I have no idea what they were. Despite its very obvious seedy side it is surprisingly relaxed and touristy rather than sleazy. There is a Subway in the middle of the street for goodness sake! Anyway we started with a drink in a quieter bar, walked the strip a few times and then took the plunge and went into a more rowdy place with loads of small bars all vying for our custom. As I got led into the place by an over excited Thai girl the others followed a bit behind. Andy was at the front followed by Laura and I nearly lost him for good at one point when a girl took hold of his arm and asked him if he was ‘here alone?’ …. ‘NO!’ shouted Laura from behind …’His wifes in there!!!!’ It’s good to know my sister had his back… god knows where he would have been taken if the hostess had decided the answer was yes! We had a ‘quiet’ drink surrounded by ladies dancing around poles on the bar top and laughed at a drunk Russian lady in a track suit who thought it was a great idea to get up on the bar next to us! It wasn’t long before they told her to get down, I don’t think the Thai dancers were particularly threatened though! Andy and Ben also had an interesting trip to the loo! They had to make their way to the back of the bar past loads of girls (??) and through the throng they got a bit of casual groping and even a nipple tweak! They were laughing their heads off when they got back!
Mum and David had arrived safely and we decided to have a day out all together. We chartered a traditional Thai long boat to Coral Island for a day of sunbathing and swimming. It was a bit of a bad start though as Helen was a bit sickly and had been ill in the night and on the boat Laura brought up her Colorado scramble … but we made it there in one piece and after the sickness had worn off we spent the day relaxing on the small sandy beach. The sea was really clear and there were lots of multi coloured fish swimming around us. We sunbathed, ate yummy watermelon, pineapple and mango and Andy and I even had a nap on the white sand after a late night the night before. It was a lovely afternoon and the surroundings were beautiful!
James isn’t keen on water and the boatman assured him that we would be taken right up to the shore when we got on and off the boat. No problem, but then as usual in South East Asia they sometimes say what you want to hear instead of what they can actually do! So, that meant that on the way back James had to wade into the shore about 100 meters or more to get to land! The tide had gone out so much that the boat literally couldn’t get any closer to the shore. We were all very proud of James for overcoming his fear and impressed that the air wasn’t much bluer! Good old captain James!! And as promised you have a well deserved mention in the blog!
While we were in Phuket we also visited the local market and picked up some knock off bargains. The Havaianas flip flops and Ray-Ban sunglasses with a small price tag were very popular. But the selection of toasted bugs Andy brought didn’t go down so well! We didn’t manage to get Ben to try one, but James and the girls did … they weren’t too bad if you imagined you were eating a funny looking pork scratching instead of a cricket! Oh and the legs can sometimes get stuck in your teeth! Still at least Andy got to try some bugs finally, we were expecting to see lots in Vietnam but we must have missed them as when we were there we saw none.
On our last day we had some great news delivered at the breakfast table. Helen and Ben had got engaged! Yay!! Helen was wearing a beautiful ring that had been passed down to Ben which they were going to get customized when they got home. There were congratulation all round and we started the wedding planning chatter right away over breakfast! We all went down to Kata beach to see Mum and David after we checked out so Helen and Ben could tell them the exciting news … Mum needs to buy a new hat!
We had a last lunch all together and then with one final drink in the Irish Pub we said our farewells for another 3 ½ months! Andy paid homage to the many Mai Thai cocktail that had been drunk all holiday by having one himself on the last day… he’s not really a cocktail drinking kind of guy (drinking something not in a pint glass/bottle is pretty unusual for Andy!) but he raised his Mai Thai that afternoon as we all toasted a great holiday!
The day the others had left for the airport we had dinner with Mum and David and as it was the England match against Ukraine that night and Andy and I decided to try to stay up and watch it. We presumed that there would be loads of places to catch the footie so at 1:30am we ventured out to find a bar. We were really surprised to find the main street deserted! Only a couple of stray dogs and two tuk tuk drivers were about and we were worried we had stayed up for no reason. Luckily we took a right turn and came across somewhere open! We were the only people there except for one other English bloke, Chris. It turned out to be a fun night and despite the pretty slow match we had a great time chatting to Chris who was staying in the same hotel as Mum and David and was an Argyle supporter. Andy and him had a great lower league football chat and I tried to stay awake! We had brought each other some drinks back and forth and at the end of the night when I went to pay our bill I found he had cleared it already! When we protested he told us to be quiet and enjoy our travels, the drinks were on him. What a kind fella and a true gent. It was a shame we didn’t bump into him and his wife again while we were there but I guess they were out riding elephants and island hopping.
The time we spent in Kata with Mum and David we relaxed by the pool and splashed around in the sea. On the 20th it was Andy’s birthday and we made the trip to Patong again to eat the best BBQ skewer ever. (James had chosen it the last time we were in Patong and it looked amazing!) We also showed Mum and David the sights, David had spent many years in the navy so there wasn’t much shocking him and me and mum spent lots of time laughing at the other tourists and their funny expressions. Mum said at one point, ‘they look like kids in a candy shop’ about a couple of blokes. I think she was right! We were well looked after in the bars and the locals had a habit of calling Mum and David, Mama and Papa which is funny when you are surrounded by ladies on poles! We had a great evening and Andy had a memorable birthday!
Finally our lovely long holiday with the family was over and it was time to get back on the road again. We were heading down the coast to Krabi. We had a fantastic time with everyone, it was great to see them and share a little bit of our adventure in Asia with them! We were spoilt, treated to meals, drinks and even our fantastic hotel room by my generous family. So, thank you very much for coming all that way and making the 10 days really great!
Now it’s just the two of us again …. weird!
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