Published: November 5th 2011October 23rd 2011
The last two weeks of my training in Naiharn were jam packed with activity. Besides Naiharn we explored the various areas in Phuket such as Kata Beach, Patong Beach, and Rawai Beach. Each has it's own personality. Kata beach is a family tourist beach where there is always something going on. Patong Beach is known for it's sex industry activities but also is great for a night out on the town. You just have to avoid the ping pong promoters as you walk through the area past 9 pm. Rawai Beach is known for it's very fresh seafood. You can purchase your fish from one side of the road at the fish market and then walk over to the other side to get it cooked up at a restaurant. Apparently, it was delicious. I almost caved and ate seafood once I saw everyone's dishes come out but I had already ordered fried rice.
I loved watching sunsets in Phuket. The colors always seemed so vibrant reflecting on the water. We always sought out different lookouts. My favorite sunset was at the After the Beach Bar that overlooked Kata beach. It was high enough so that you could look out over
the island. Another great lookout was the Big Buddha of Phuket. It's still being constructed but it's built enough that you can go up there. From the top of the Big Buddha you can see almost all the corners of Phuket. It was such a magnificent view.
Our second weekend, a few of us wanted to explore more of Phuket and discovered that there was a waterfall a bit north on the island. We jumped in a truck taxi and headed over. It took about an hour drive to get there. It astonishes me how small the island of Phuket looks on a map but actually going places takes sooo long and seem so far. Once there, we had to do a bit of a hike to reach the waterfall. It was the first time we had left the beaches and entered a jungle. The temperature instantly felt much cooler. The hike was pretty quick and the way there was absolutely gorgeous. Besides, Niagara, this water fall was the biggest natural waterfall I'd ever seen. It didn't take long for us to layer down and jump in the water. The water was so nice and cool. As you swam
closer to the fall the current became so strong that it was a real workout swimming against it. It was a nice break from being beach bums. On the way back we discovered a gibbon rehab project. It was closed but they had informational bulletin boards describing their mission and what they do. They talked about how gibbons are mistreated for tourism and how they rescue these gibbons and slowly prepare them to be released back into the wild. Just a week before in Koh Phi Phi we witnessed the use of a gibbon for tourism and this made us realize just how real the situation here in Thailand is. Apparently, if we had turned in that man from Koh Phi Phi he would have received a massive fine and possible time. I'm glad that there are laws set up but wonder how often they are actually recognized and enforced. Once we were ready to go back to our home in Naiharn we were shocked to find out that three people found leeches on them! I've never seen a leech in my life and was so distraught that I had one somewhere on my body. I was in the clear
but to make sure we all jumped in the ocean when we got back to Naiharn. Apparently salt water makes the leeches shrivel up and release their bite. So creepy!!
One rainy day after class, I witnessed the kitchen crew taking a fruit cutting class in the hotel lobby. I thought this was so neat and quickly asked the desk if I could somehow sit and watch. The head cook agreed to let me and a friend to not only watch but also learn! He handed us a block of some sort of vegetable and then showed us what to do. We had no idea what our carvings would create. Oh! Forgot to mention, no one spoke any English so there was a lot of charades and mimicking going on. The result was a rose. I was so proud of my work and I hope to bring this new found skill back to the states. I still need a million hours of practice though!
We wrapped up our time together by having a impromptu sing along on the beach. We all sat in a huge circle under the stars singing staple songs with a couple of guitarists leading
the songs. We had a blast trying to remember lyrics and tunes. We just all felt so at home with one another, it was a great feeling. At one point, we had a bit of an audience and one brave soul approached our group of 30 and asked to have a try at the guitar. Turned out he was amazing at playing and loved leading us in song. He also sang some songs in Russian and performed his heart out for us. It's amazing how music can bring people together. I will always look fondly at my time in Naiharn but also look forward to the next page to this amazing adventure.
There are more photos below