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Phuket – Chilling or Burning?

Chilling on the beach in Phuket

We spent the first afternoon in Kamala beach, Phuket, just getting our bearings and enjoying some much needed food and drink. We found a great little beach-side restaurant called “Beer House and Restaurant”, for some reason, it appealed instantly! After eating our fill, we found a quiet spot on the beach and sat watching the sun go down. We took our time and enjoyed a couple of drinks as we recuperated from our earlier formidable journey, and were amused by the tiny white crabs that sped around by our feet.

A short while later, one of the many stray dogs bounded over with quite a cheeky smile on his face. He looked like a cross between Basil Brush and a corgi on steroids! Neither of us wanted to encourage him too much (rabies etc), so he started to play in front of us, maintaining our attention. I threw him a stick or two, which he chased, but didn’t know what to do with, and we laughed as he jumped back to avoid the incoming waves. It was then that the little swine decided to make off with my t-shirt – grabbing it and tearing off down the beach (much to the amusement of the locals and Andrea!). I gave a half-hearted chase as I thought it would make him run off further if I charged at him, but he got sufficiently far enough away to drag my shirt through the debris- littered surf. Eventually, he dropped it and I chased him off, but my top looked disgusting (thank god for the laundry lady in our hotel!).

The next day was spent on the beach under a somewhat hazy sky. We enjoyed chilling out and all the travails of the previous day were gradually dispelled with our relaxation. Unfortunately, the sun was stronger than we’d anticipated – the cool sea breeze reduced the heat as we lay there, ultimately burning. Andrea thought she had kept herself mostly in the shade, and indeed she had, but unwittingly her midriff was exposed to the brutality of the sun. Upon returning to our room we discovered that my shoulders were pretty red and angry-looking, but were nothing in comparison to Andrea’s stomach – ouch!

We decided to spend the next day away from the beach, and therefore hired a moped to take us up to Bang Pae waterfall and Gibbon sanctuary at the north of the island. I was a little apprehensive as I had not ridden a motorbike (even a piddly 50cc or whatever, like this one). Still, my 30 seconds of instruction from the lady hiring the bike served me well, and soon we were speeding (slowly of course) along the roads of Phuket. As my confidence grew, I could not help but perform my Frank Spencer ‘Demon-King to base’ impression, looking as comical as I did with a bright purple crash hemet that resembled a sort of day-glo WWI German soldier’s helmet, minus the spike!

We arrived at Bang Pae without incident and enjoyed a cool and refreshing dip in the plunge-pool of the waterfall and a brief look at the Gibbon sanctuary. As we set off to return, we pulled over at an elephant trekking place and decided to give it a go. We had read in the guide books that this was a positive form of eco-tourism as it kept the elephants in their natural environment as opposed to the keepers bringing them into towns to make money. The trek was pleasant enough, although by no means comfortable, as we ploughed through a large stream, scattering small fish before climbing up a steep incline and heading through a rubber plantation.

Since then, we have moved on to Patong beach – a much livelier resort, but still nowhere near as busy as during the peak season. We have enjoyed more of the beach and a more diverse and entertaining night-life, but are somewhat sickened by the sight of so many western men (who tend to be fat, greasy, middle-aged, or geeky) who stroll around with young, slim and comparatively very attractive Thai girls. It seems that there is a seedy underbelly here, where the girls are quite predatory, and the western men naive or brazen enough to pay for their company.

Still, we had a good night out last night (our first proper one), sipping a few cocktails before catching a very decent covers band. Tonight some of the bars are televising the Liverpool – Everton game, so we will be off soon to watch that (Andrea is obviously overjoyed, but “I am on holiday!!!” [I wonder how many times I will be able to use that!]).

By Dan & Andrea – Aug, 2003

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