Published: January 2nd 2011January 2nd 2011
So… if you want to make sure you don’t miss your flight, you need to get to the airport early, but maybe not 6 hours early (especially to a domestic airport!) Ok – so the theory was that we would try to catch an earlier flight but to cut a long story short, and a big wet raspberry to Qantas for messing us around, we walked the length of the airport a few times to waste time before sitting at a café for a many hours until check in so that we could get into the Qantas lounge!
For reasons only know to Qantas, we were boarded onto a very uncomfortable Jetstar flight to Darwin, had to pay for food and drinks and landed a very long time later at Darwin. This is equivalent to you buying a Ferrari and when you go to collect it they give you an Ox drawn wagon and without any remorse or explanation.
We felt like we had already landed in Asia as we only were served by Asians on the Jetstar flights and even at Darwin. Well, for an international airport, Darwin wasn’t much – the one duty free shop had really limited
selection and was so small it felt like we were shopping in a crowded bazaar! Thankfully the next leg on yet another Jetstar was a bit more comfortable but after attempting to ask for a blanket and a lot of ‘What – sorry, say that again – Gaz what the hell is he saying - we realised he wanted us to pay$8.00 to use a blanket! I think they turned the temp up after people refused to pay that! On reaching Singapore, we realised a few other people had been duped by Qantas as we had so Qantas will be receiving a few harsh letters from their customers after this trip!
Anyhooooo, Singapore was its usual vibrant and totally organised self and the taxi queue which seemed to snake several times across the front entrance moved amazingly fast and we were on our way to the Grand Mecure Roxy – 16th floor – great hotel – great service and rooms and we would recommend to anyone to stay there – (discovered afterwards that they have free airport shuttles so didn’t have to do the taxi thing back to the airport).
Then it was back to the Singapore airport
again, waiting for our next leg -Phuket. This airport is so incredible – even has little stand with tiny lockers that hold a large range of phone chargers – you plug in your phone, lock it and take the key, returning to collect your phone when charged. Free massage chairs, and the entire airport is adorned with the most beautiful orchids.
The Phuket airport is quite different and reminded me of Africa – without the smell. Long queues and absolutely no hurry to get you through but when we did get through we were bombarded with taxi drivers trying to get your business. We had pre-booked ours so waded through them to the front where he was waving our name scribbled on an A4 sheet of paper. But Boss from ‘Cheaper than Hotel Taxis’ did not disappoint – and had been waiting over an hour as our flight was late. We travelled over an hour north to our Andamania Beach Resort which is lovely and peaceful with the hugest rooms I have ever seen.
Nobody here speaks English well and it can be frustrating getting what you want with lots of wrong interpretations. We asked for a table
for two and after just getting frustrated and finding our own – we got tea for two. Ordering drinks is just as tricky – at one of the little bars on the beach Gaz tried to ask for a bloody mary – and got a bunch of tomatoes blended and mixed with vodka – and god knows what else was in it coz it curdled! Luckily cocktails here are only $3 to $5 each so I am ploughing through the list though they are never quite the same if you order them twice! We ordered a meal and thought the dude said did we want sting ray - turned out it was 'steamed rice' and I asked if the meal would be hot and I think he thought I wanted it hot and he was delighted that it nearly blew my head off!
We have finally learnt our lessons and only point to what is on the board or the menu and do not try to do anything different - even simple things like I wanted an hour massage but half an hour on my feet and half an hour on my back - ended up with having a foot
scrub, massage, and foot massage for 1.5hours and costing double what I could have paid for two hours.... but you cant argue with someone who does not speak english!!
New Years eve dinner was right on the beach and beautifully set out – had a little cabaret show which reminded us of a school play as it was pretty ‘home-made’ as you would expect in a third world, with screeching speakers and music starting and stopping at the wrong times. The costumes were amazing and we had a good time. The highlight of the evening was letting off these huge candle balloons made from rice paper and about the size of a large sack with a frame underneath with a round candle – you light it and wait for them to inflate and let it go – the skies were littered with them from all over the coast and we let off four – for my dad, mum, Marlene and Gary’s mum. It was a lovely moment and a very beautiful thing to do.
They also had a lucky draw on the evening and we won two out of the six prizes - two free dinners at the
hotel - our usual lucky style! Haha
You have to see the toilets here to believe it and it certainly takes some getting used to. They don't allow you to throw toilet paper down them and you have a little shower to wash your butt with - but they are powerful little showers!! and you can give yourself an enema, or in my case, shower the entire bathroom until you have practiced it a few times!!
1 Jan 11
Had such a lazy relaxing day on the beach and massages – massages are so cheap and range from about AUD10 to 20 an hour. They are really good and right on the beach in little bamboo shelters – lovely to lay there with a gentle breeze and the sound of the lapping sea. Decided to try one of the little local restaurants on the beach and Gaz ordered a bloody mary – after asking if they had tomato juice and they said they did. Next thing he comes back with something looking like a strawberry milkshake that soon curdled – he said the girl chopped up tomatoes and threw them in a blender that had not been
washed from the previous cocktail and god knows what else she threw in but it was undrinkable. After several mishaps with drinks orders we have decided to keep it simple and point to stuff on the menu. I happened to ask if my meal was going to be a bit too hot? He nodded yes enthusiastically and rushed off and when the food came it nearly blew my head off – think he thought I asked for it to be too hot so am never asking that again!
We decided to hit the local town for dinner and discovered the shops are open from 10am to 10pm so bought some boardies for about 12AUD and I bought a nice bikini so I can use the top for massages and only paid about 8AUD. Then had a really good meal at a little restaurant – of which there are hundreds all over the place. The taxis are a ute with a sort of canopy and two rows of seats – quite a ride, especially in the rain!
Today (3rd) we went into Khao Lak and had the 'fish massage' where you stick your feet into a glass tank of little
fish that apparently eat the dead skin etc and massage your feet - intially very ticklish but quite soothing after a few minutes.
There are more photos below