Thinking & Feeling

“The world is a tragedy to those who feel, but a comedy to those who think.” Horace Walpole

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Thailand: Rest of Phuket & Back to Bangkok

Day 9 - Saturday 5 July 2008
Phuket - Karon Beach

On Saturday we had a slow lazy breakfast and then just lazed around our hotel, looking at the photos we had taken, swimming, playing cards, watching TV and just being. It was great having nowhere to go and nothing in particular to do.

At around lunch time we strolled down to the Internet cafe to check mail, upload a few photos, blog and browse for a while. Quinn took a walk to the 7Eleven while Griffin played on the Classmate PC. After that we took a walk into Karon to get more Yu-Gi-Oh cards, since the boys have been getting into their 'dools' (duels).

While walking around town we found a lady with a young elephant, so we bought a bag of bananas for 20Bht and Griffin fed them to the ellie. The lady could tell the elephant to make a little high-piched squeal and pose with his trrunk and or leg lifted up. He was very cute. We also had a look around a local theme-park/putt-putt course called Dino Park.

Then we took a scenic walk to the beach via another hotel's grounds and beautiful gardens, where I took many photos of the stunning flowers and plants along the way. The new camera is working out really nicely and I can take photos of all sorts of things which I couldn't before. It does quite well at macro shots and even gives me some depth of field too :). Then we made our way down to the beach in time to watch the sunset. We spent about 2 hours on the beach as the sun dipped further and further and the light changed. I took loads of photos... becoming quite silly and zoolanderish in some of them. ;)

Once it was dark we walked to a beach front Thai restaurant and had a delicious meal and then followed it up with some seriously yummy street-side Thai Banana & Chocolate pancakes. Then we had a long swim in the hotel pool, and then watch the Nelson Mandela 90th birthday 46664 concert on TV and then went to bed.

Day 10 - Sunday 6 July 2008
Phuket - Karon Beach

Another lazy day on Sunday (I could get use to this), starting with breakfast, photo editing, and swimming at the hotel, then we went down for a walk around town.

After a while the boys wanted to go back tot he hotel to swim and play and so I went to a nearby massage parlour for a Thai massage. This time I had a lady masseusse, and she was very good. I just LOVE the tingly electric feeling I get when the top of my spine and into the base of my skull is rubbed. That's the best part. I left feeling completely relaxed, stretched out and just fantastic. Ahhhh. It's almost like a passive yoga class.

Later in the afternoon we talk a stroll to the beach where we set up camp for a few hours swimming, lying in the sun, listening to music on my iPod shuffle, watching a beach soccer match and seeing the people coming and going. It was really lovely. I was eating loads of fruit, especially watermelon & pineapple, and picked up a half pineapple to snack on at the beach. All the fruit is always cut & presented very attractively and looks really pretty. In fact everything in Thailand is decorated and has an extrav touch to make it look nice. A lot of care is taken with things and it shows. It makes everything that much more special and yummy too. We also got into the habit of buying little jelly-cup drinks for 5Bht each, I got Litchi flavour and the boys liked the Orange one. They are really cool and refreshing and although the cup is small, they last a long time as you have to suck the jelly through a straw.

The boys were playing in the sand and sea and collecting bits and pieces along the beach. They ended up befriending some little Thai girls (of about 4 and 6) and were walking right down the beach with them collecting tiny crabs and putting them in a polystyrene bowl.

As the sun set we started drawing in the sand and writing messages - and of course taking lots of photos. (It is so nice to have a camera that not only has enough memory to take more than 30 photos but also enough battery life too. I previously had to stress over running out of battery and/or disk space all the time.) I don't think I have ever spent that long on a beach before. Although it is warm here, the sun doesn't seem as harsh as the SA sun, and I seem to be able to tolerate it better. It's really nice.

As night fell we tried another restaurant near our hotel. The boys had wanted to try this one as they had professed to give children free ice-cream one night when we walked past, but sadly none was forthcoming after our meal. But we did get paper and crayons so we all drew and coloured in and then the boys got balloons. To make up for the lack of ice-cream we hunted down a pancake vendor where we got some more decadent chocolate (and condensed milk) pancakes before heading back to our hotel for a final long late night swim, to pack our bags, and then go to bed.

Quotable quote:
Me at bedtime: 'Griffin did you like those little girls on the beach?'
Griffin: 'Yes, and they even gave us crabs!'
I suspect that's quite common in Thailand and I hope I don't have this same conversation with him in 15 years! ;)

The only things I didn't get around to where having a cocktail and/or fresh coconut juice straight out of the coconut shell. I also didn't spend any time in the pubs, because I couldn't really take the boys there, and I didn't really want to go alone...

I decided not to bother with the Fantasea show this time because although it is nice, it is horribly over-priced and a complete tourist trap and I didn't think the boys would really appreciate it. They enjoyed the simplicity of our days. And being able to watch TV, have ice-creams, swim as long as they liked and just having time together playing and being silly. So we mostly stuck to our beach and local area and just enjoyed ourselves. Last time I was wanting to see and do as much as possible, this time the focus was to be BE.

It was a pretty perfect holiday. I already want to start planing my next visit!

Day 11 - Monday 7 July 2008
Phuket - Bangkok (Shanti Lodge)

Despite setting my alarm for nearly an hour earlier. And actually half waking up several times waiting for it to go off, we actually woke up half an hour later than usual. I was having some unpleasant dreams, and I have no idea why the alarm didn't go off, or maybe it did and I switched it off in my dream? I don't know. (I worked it out the recurring alarm was not set for that ONE day! *roll eyes*)

But I was so glad I had done all the packing the night before because I had less than 2 hours before we had to leave for the airport and I had not arranged a taxi yet! I settled the boys into the breakfast area and then trotted down the main road to negotiate and everyone wanted to charge 1000Bht! No way. The hotel said they had a taxi service for 800Bht, and then on the way back I stoppped in at the travel agent who booked our island trip and she said she could arrange a taxi for 700Bht. That seemed to be the best deal we'd get so I took it. Whew, at least that was sorted.

We got off to Bangkok without incident and then landed just as the skies opened to a massive downpour of rain, to the point that we had just boared the bus with about 25 other people when the rain hit and they had to close the bus and plane and we sat waiting for the rain to abate for about 45 minutes. Then once in the terminal we had to wait another 45 minutes or so for our luggage to appear - soaking wet!

Finally we were back in Bangkok and in a taxi making our way to our new lodgings - Shanti Town. Shanti Town is a rustic back-packer type lodge. It is in an older part of town in Bang Lumpoo - near to the Dusit Zoo and about 2km from the infamous Kao San Road.

After checking in, we walked around our neighbourhood and took in the sights & smells. I love the smell of Bangkok. It is a heady, hot, scent of cooking food, spice, chilli and drain, but it's intoxicating. The boys seem to love the vibrancy of the place too.

This part of town is not very English at all, and many of the people don't speak much, if any English and many of the road side vendors don't even have English (or even English numerals on their signs). So we were a little unsure of the food on offer from these people. We did however decide to sample a roadside cup of coconut ice-cream, which the boys enjoyed until they found suspicious bits of green & yello fruit in it. I realised the yellow bits were durian, so quickly ate those out before the boys got freaked out by them.

After some more walking around, where I was kind of ambitiously trying to walk all the way to Kao San Road, we found a stinky river canal and fresh produce market with all sorts of weird & wonderful meats, fish & vegetables. They were just closing for the night and their were cats milling around and general choas and stink. We did make a fun and interesting discovery of an Insect Vendor selling fried critters. Locusts, Crickets, Cockroaches, Worms, Grubs etc. I tried to be polite, but the boys were going 'Euuuw, eeeeurgh, OH SICK ' etc ;)

Realising we were at the further canal and not as close to Kao San as I had thought we decided to pack it in for the night, since it was almst 8pm, and headed back to our hotel - while I still more or less knew where it was! I found I felt completely safe being in Thailand - both in laid back Phuket and the craziness of Bangkok. There is no feeling of threat from being out after dark, or that you will be mugged or robbed or pick pocketed etc. I am not paranoid about these things in general anyway, but in SA you do have to be that much more aware and concerned for your saftey and you simply can't leave bags unattnded, or flash money, cameras and wallets around. But I could walk around with my camera around my neck, with a small purse attached to the outside, and a back pack on my back, and there never seemed to be a risk of anything being statched or stolen off me, it is great. Our biggest 'threat' was the people holding Griffin's hand and delaying him keeping up with us as we walk, because they thing he is cute. ;)

Once back in our area we selected a restaurant below one of the guest houses and had some very tasty and very reasonably priced food, and then settled into bed - with no TV for a change - to read and then sleep.

It was good to be back in Bangkok, but the feeling of our holiday drawing to a close was starting to settle in. *sulk*

Day 12 - Tuesday 8 July 2008
Bangkok - Dusit Zoo & Kao San Road

Our guest house did not include breakfast this time, so we decided to set off quite early and walk down to the Dusit Zoo, and find something to eat en route. As it turned out suddenly we found what must be the only few blocks in Bangkok without 7000 food vendors and 7Elevens in them! Murphy's Law I guess.

Finally near the zoo we found a trust 7Eleven and the boys got some custard buns etc and we walked on to the zoo. We ended up staying there for about 5-6 hours, walking around looking at the animals, talking to the monkeys and crazy parots, having lunch, cruising the lake in a pedal boat, playing in the park and generally just milling around and walking up and down. I also saw several monks browsing the zoo and snapped a few sneaky pics of them... I don;t think it's really polite to opening take photos of them... We were actually all a bit exhausted by 3pm when we decided it was time to leave.

Just as we stepped outside the rain came pumelling down, so we ran back into the zoo and for some cover to wait it out. It rains almost every afternoon in Bangkok at this time of year, but it usually passes pretty quickly. So we watched the rain and the black monitors swimming in the lake and once it slowed to a drizzle we walked on.

We made a pit-stop at the Vimanmet Teak Museum where we walked around the grounds a bit and the walked on. I again found a banana vendor, but this time instead of fritter the banana were grilled and coated with a toffee syrup. YUM. Then we found some waffles for the boys and then I found a coconut vendor selling whole coconuts. So I got one to drink the juice and then eat the fresh and soft coconut strait out of the shell. We ended up taking a bit of a scenic route back. I have a generally excellent sense of direction, so I never actually get lost and pretty much always know which direction I am heading, but in Bangkok you can't see very far, so even if you are 50m from where you are going, you may not be able to see it. Just when I thought we MIGHT be lost and asked a traffic director it turned out we were literally about 50m from our street!

The boys were thrilled to be back as they were about to collapse from exhaustion, but of course the minute we got into our room, they perked right up and wouldn't be quite or still. *sigh* I told them if they didn't act tired and REST we would go walking again ;)

After we (well me anyway) rested we headed out for the evening. To Kao San Road. I spared the boys the pain and we caught a taxi there. Kao San Road despite it's infamy is only one little road about 300m long, but is the 'Back-packer Mecca' of Bangkok. It is like Hilbrow. Bustling with manic activity of every kind you can imagine and everything is offered cheap and 24-hours a day. You can get anything there: clothes, music, braids, tattoos, cocktails, souvenirs, DVDs, visas, even fake Degrees, Licenses and Press Passes etc.

We had Pad Thai from 2 different street vendors and then the boys had choclate pancakes (yes AGAIN), and we walked up and down taking in the sights and vibe of the area. It is totally touristy and has no authentic culture at all, but it/s really fun and 'happening'. I was tempted to try the cocktails, clearly aimed at the budget conscious student traveller and advertised only as 'Gauranteed very strong cocktail only 80Bht' but I decided to refrain and remain sober... next time.

Griffin started fading and even a 'special super-engergising foot-empowering toffee' (I have to get creative sometimes ok?) We headed back to our hotel via another taxi.


  1. Very envious I am. Sounds fantastic. :)

  2. - just for youm Jane-i-Pooh!