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Published: July 17th 2008
Cat in Muslim sea village
Cats in southern Thailand have a good life. They even seem to have their tails in tact.
I rejoined Connie and Rosemary yesterday afternoon at Karon, one of the beaches on the west coast of Phuket Island, down in the south where the tsunami had a great impact.
Adrian and I used to travel there each day from Phuket city 30 years ago when we were teaching at the university here. We stayed in the town in a fine old Chinese hotel which is still going . In those days there wasn't really anywhere to stay at the beaches. Now!!! I am sorry to report that the various beach villages are something of a cross between Surfers Paradise and Kings Cross. Absolutely jam-packed with bars and bar girls. And this is the off season, so most places are empty. Rahter pathetic. Phuket might be nice in an isolated resort away from the main beaches, but some hotels like the Hilton and Holiday Inn are just squeezed in there amongst all the bars. I guess some people like that.
They had found a very nice clean cheapie overlooking the beach for about $10 a night. Just as I arrived in a mini bus from the airport I saw Connie going in for a swim. After that the
Obscured by electricity wires. No wonder things don't always work!
rain began and it did not seem the best option to go in. I thought I would today. But in the end we booked a mini bus out at 7.30 this morning. I would have preferred to stay and look around the places we used to frequent. However, I feel that three can't all express opinions about every decision and I am just tagging along with the two of them until we leave Thailand.
When we awoke this morning it was pouring with rain and the sea was wild and rough. This was our first exposure to the rainy season, which we have been expecting for a while. So we thought we might do better on the other side of the peninsular, Our mini bus took off, filled with eight other travellers. The driver was rather reckless from the start, speeding in the pouring rain, tailgating and constantly taking calls as he drove on his two mobile phones. They were rarely silent. We were detoured for about an hour due to an accident on the main road so once clear of the detour he took off, making up for lost time. One European woman told him he was crazy
and urged him to slow down. So he yelled at her to get off. But she did not.
Rosemary's husband died about 18 years ago in a horrible car accident when their children were young.
I could see the driver was doing over 120kph , still on his phones. After various passengers tried without success to slow him I decided that there was only one way. I looked out for a roadside stall up ahead and called out to him several time to stop, saying I was going to be sick. And pretended I was going to throw up all over his nice new van. He stopped and I opened the door and jumped out in the rain. I said I wanted my bags and opened the boot. By this time Connie and Rosemary had got out too. I was not afraid or shaken, but they were and thus were very glad. A nice uni student drove us to the nearby bus depot and ten minutes later a local bus picked us up. We forfeited our $9 mini bus ticket and had to pay a couple of dollars extra. But we arrived safely in the delightful town of Phang Nga.
It s a largely Muslim town untouched by tourism. Not even any signs in English.
We found a beautiful guest house and then went off on a longboat tour of the magnificent limestone rocks and islands in the sea of the southern coast of the main peninsular. By this time the rain had stopped. Because other people had cancelled we had an exclusive boat to ourselves for about 4 hours. It is truly a limestone wonderland in the sea. We went under sea caves and through mangroves. So peaceful and beautiful after our stressful morning.
Then back to town for a wander round the stalls of the nightmarket. I am still being cautious about what I eat. Connie and Rosemary have done much more rough travelling than I in recent years so I need to be careful. I haven't done any for over 25 years. So I just had a cob of delicious corn straight from the steamer.
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