Day 15 - Hello Patong!!

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December 20th 2017
Published: March 11th 2018
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Day 15 - So here we are, on our way to the beach! In daylight our 1 night airport hotel looked a lot less dodgy. The gardens and pool area were actually really beautiful, but given how far it was from the beach and the fact that there is bugger all happening around it, even on a main road, I have no idea why anyone would stay there more than a night!

So we ended up having a sleep in (my family is always keen on this! Never thought I'd be the 'early riser' in a group!) and then we got up and checked out at around 10ish. I had downloaded an app called "GrabTaxi" which I had read was the best way to get cars in Phuket. You know how much you have to pay ahead of time and the driver knows exactly where you want to go via map etc so it takes the bargaining right out of it. We need that, we are totally crap at bargaining!! So I tried the app and it assured me that a car was on it's way, 5 minutes it reckoned. So we we went out the front and waited in the shade of a tree. We figured if it was only going to be 5 minutes we would wait to eat until we got to Patong, since our only option here was the hotel restaurant which was dead empty.

So we waited. GrabTaxi has a map which shows where your driver is, and it took me a while to figure out that the thing was malfunctioning, badly. I watched as the little car on the map went back and forth, away from our direction, and then ceased moving altogether, besides the 360 spins it was doing in one place about half a km down the road. After half an hour of waiting and watching the little car spin I sent a message to the driver. No response. Finally I told Todd to go talk to the unhelpful dude at reception. He said he could get us a car but it would be an hour's wait. The price was the same as GrabTaxi though and by this time we had already waited an hour and the kids were restless so we decided to go ahead and book it. While we waited we would go inside and have lunch/breakky in the empty restaurant. The ladies in the restaurant, I think that all the people here were a family that lived onsite, spoke pretty much no English, so we did our usual pointing at things on the menu to get our food, which was cool. It was a little odd, she didn't take a drink order but there was a fridge in the dining room and so we pointed at it and she just nodded. So we just got up and helped ourselves and she seemed ok with that. We were then left to our own devices in an empty dining room. To get to the toilets you had to walk through the kitchen where a group of ladies was busily prepping a mountain of food for a crowd that wasn't there.......perhaps it gets busy later in the day? But it felt very much like we were eating in their house, and I think maybe we were. The toilet was down a corridor and was a full bathroom with shower etc and all the shampoos etc that one might find where someone lives.....and walking through someone's house felt a little odd, though this is now not the first time this has happened, and I guess living where you work is not an unusual thing here.

Our meal was actually really great, and after we ate there was still time for Corey and Todd to go for a swim at the nice pool. When the driver arrives we gratefully climbed in for the drive to Patong. Our driver took us completely off the track of the google map, which was cool because we paid a set price and we got to go through some of the more rural inner parts of the island and dodge the traffic. The drive across the island was really beautiful, we went up and down hills and through little villages and the driver became tour guide as he pointed out all the cook things to do as we traversed the interior. We then drove up the coast past all the popular beaches and he named pretty much all the things I was keen to do as we went along. Of course he wanted us to book all our tours and travelling through him and insisted we call him the next day to arrange it, but this is par for the course in Thailand and we took his card with the promise of a call.

The hotel I had booked is called Patong Heritage and it is truly beautiful. Not quite beachside but only a very short walk away. We arrived a bit too early to check in right away but because we were staying for 10 nights we were immediately upgraded to a nicer suite. BONUS! We were directed to some comfy couches in the lobby where we were served drinks are were able to chill for a short time before our room was ready.

Our two bedroom apartment was really lovely, if a bit garishly decorated. Todd referred to it during our stay as "Saddam's palace", because the decor was certainly middle eastern! Fancy chandeliers and brightly coloured cushions, mirrored tables and feather bouquets. It was flash! I was keen for a bit of a rest but Todd and the kids wanted to check stuff out so they went downstairs to check out the 2 pools, which were on different floors, while I hung out in the room in the quiet. Very nice I must say!

So after the boys had a swim in what was reportedly a very cold pool (hard to imagine since the air temp never gets under like 25 degrees), they came back up and we got ready to go exploring the area. We were down a bit of an alley, which protected the hotel from the main street, which was good because the street was fricken crazy! Shops and restaurants and street sellers and massage parlours and all kinds of crazy stuff going on out there. The energy was frenetic. There were "party tuk tuks" cruising by with the bass music thumping out of the open vehicles and strobe lights flashing. Every market stall had a seller out front only just stopping short of forcibly pulling us inside, the restaurants had guys insisting theirs was the best food in Phuket and the long low call of "Maaassssaaagggeee" was called from all the scantily clad ladies out front of the spa type establishments. Every second place has fish tanks our front, lit up with coloured fluoro lights, some of these fish are for people to eat, some of them are there to eat the people! It's a strange mix! Despite having been in Thailand for 2 weeks already we all felt a bit shell shocked, more culture shock in 10 minutes of Patong than we had had the entire time we were in Central Thailand. It was all just a bit confronting with all the people wanting us to come in to their shop/restaurant/massage place, so I didn't want to stop at all and go into anything! So when we saw the Hooters up ahead we all agreed to head there and get our bearings, and watch the lay of the land for a bit! We grabbed a table by the street so we could watch the world go by, and discovered to our satisfaction, that Hooters is pretty well consistent even in Thailand! We all got some burgers that were familiar, though all the food and drinks were horrendously expensive in comparison to other places we had been. Meant Aussie prices really, which isn't so bad and we felt some comfort in being there. The Hooters girls were all friendly Thai girls.......with impressive "assets" of course, and we enjoyed our evening there and were much less awkward feeling on our walk back to the hotel. The kids learnt quickly not to engage in conversation with the push sellers on the street and we got back to the room without buying anything we didn't want. Woohoo! Better than Todd and I did in Bali where we bought the first crap some guy was selling at a crazy big price

Back in the room I started to worry that we had been 'upgraded' to a lemon room! The hotel corridors are kind of outdoor, with covered walk ways outside the front doors that lead to the interior where the lifts are. We were right on the corner and the wind that night was soooooo crazy! It must have been coming from both directions and the doors and windows rattled like mad all night long! I couldn't believe how loud and crazy that wind was, and being our first night, had no idea if it was going to be that way the whole stay (luckily not!), so I was a bit apprehensive, but we all managed to get a good sleep despite the crazy wind. Day 1 in Phuket, almost like a different bloody country to what we have already seen!

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