I was saving 20 US dollars for the visa, but turns out I guess we didn’t need one. We hotel desk hopped until we found a place that was “on promotion” for 500 baht a night. (About $15 dollars a night, the cheapest around Patong Beach from the airport.)
We got in a van for 150 baht each that took us straight to our hotel.
Our hotel is a fairly good walk to the beach, so they run a shuttle every hour to the beach or Batang Road. After checking in to a very cute bungalow room with a deck and a great view of Phuket, we tried to make the walk to the beach. We dropped of some laundry, made use of an internet café, then finally got some food. I can’t wait to learn how to cook Pad Tai. It is so good. We didn’t actually head toward the beach until dark and had no idea where it was, except for my keen sense of direction. By my keen sense of direction we were led away from the lights and the food, convenience, motorbike, hotel, massage, and barber shops, and to what looked like a deserted field in
the midst of the darkness. The only sign we had of life was a “boom boom, ba-boom boom boom” of a stereo. We walked as best as we could around the thick mud, stepping on a stick here and a patch of stable dirt there. We trekked under deserted over-shacks, following the sound of the stereo. We were led to a small little carnival area. Lights shown on the prizes of stuffed animals and laundry detergent, there were bingo games consisting of three of four Thais. Not knowing numbers in Thai, we refused the offer to join and kept following the boom box. We passed the booth with the game of picking up an egg to find a number and get a prize. Seeing neon and black lights up ahead of an acre of mud, we almost tight walked across a set up bridge of a couple large sticks and hopped around on stable land till we reached the area that we had been so curious about: Bumper cars!!!!!!
We bought a ticket for 20 baht and had the greatest time for a full 15 or 20 minutes of loud stereo, bright neon and black lights, and the head-banging slam
After we cut through a mall with a humongous fountain show, we made it to Batang Road, the top of the nightlife and bar scene. It was there that we received our first glance of the lady-boys.
These creatures appear to be women, but behind the makeup, boobs, tight pant and feathers, these cabarets seem to be hiding something deep inside. Man or woman? Hard to tell. They talk like a man, but they don’t look like man, so they must not be man. They look-a-like a woman.
One fascinating womanly and feathery creature and one half-in-half (one side dressed like a man, one side dressed like a woman) walked up to Bekah and I and grabbed our arms. Talking to us, but not looking at us, the tall figure pulled me next to its side, said in a queer (as in odd) voice “Okeye, take a picturrre”. We had a stranger took our picture and the almost frightening figure that towered over me said “Okeye, money? One-hundred baht okeye.”
I nervously glanced over at Bekah. “I don’t have any baht. Sorry!” Realizing our situation and the need to act quickly, I yelled at Bekah, “Bekah, run!” And
we took off running down the street, Bekah just escaping from the manly grasp with only the damage of a red pinch mark on her arm.
We reached the end of the road and discovered Patong Beach in the dead at night. We walked barefoot in the sand awhile and then figured we should try to get back to our hotel. At least in Thailand you can ask for directions in English.
The next day we spent the whole day at the beach. We rented two chairs with an umbrella for 150 baht. I layered on the sunscreen and had the shade of the umbrella. Still, by the end of the day, I was redder than the bloodshed by the Khmer Rouge.
If you like to multi-task, Patong Beach is a good place to be. You can relax, shop for any linen, wooden elephants, chairs, ice cream, fruit, fans….all at the same time. I was tired of opening my eyes to a smiling “You want to buy?” face and nodding my head no. One salesman even tried to seduce me into buying a group of elephants from him. It wasn’t working, I was kind of disgusted with the way
he was licking his lips and offering me a massage, but I did buy the baby elephant from him for 45 baht and 3 yuan. The beach was still relaxing, and we kept our chairs until the near sunset when they made us give them up.
We walked back to our hotel, showered and changed, then went back to Batong Road, this time making use of the free shuttle bus. A World Thai Boxing show was going on and we stopped by to ask about tickets, which were advertised at about $39.00 for a seat in the stadium. The price was bargained a little lower when we asked it to be cheaper, but it still wasn’t cheap enough so we agreed that if we stopped in halfway through the show we could pay half-price. At 11:00 pm we made it by again and got tickets inside for 400 baht. We only caught about 2 major fights. The first was Ireland vs. Thailand, Ireland won. (I was disappointed; I didn't want to see Thailand beat at their own game.) The next was Thailand vs. Thailand. It was a nervous competition, but I was relieved when Thailand won.
up a long story into a few words that leave you clueless about the kind of night we had after that, it was absolutely crazy. I will laugh at that night as long as I remember it, and I will remember it forever.
We got back to the hotel pretty early in the morning and after maybe 3 hours of sleep we woke ourselves up for the island tour we had booked for the day. We waited for the van for ½ an hour and were taken with several others (travelers from China, Bahrain, and one from Denmark) to the bay where we got on a boat to Kai Island. The guy from Denmark introduced himself as Larse, he was traveling alone around Thailand so he was happy to join us. We stopped in the midst of the ocean to snorkel, then were taken to an Island to relax, swim, or snorkel. It costs 150 baht for one chair on the beach, and we were only going to be there for an hour. So we laid our towels on the beach, right under the shade of the umbrella. A man came over and demanded 150 baht for a chair.
We told him we were fine, we didn’t need the chair. He became very angry because we were using part of the shade from the umbrella, but we refused to give him any money for it. He hit the umbrella, knocking it down, and stomped away, very very angry. We just laughed as we moved our towels to the shade of the next umbrella. He was boiling mad. So he went to our tour guide, who came over to us scratching his head. “That man told me you can’t sit there, I don’t know why….”
“He just doesn’t like us.” I said. “We’ll move over here.” So we moved in front of the shade of umbrellas that were around more people, so he wouldn’t come over and kill us in public.
Our tour took us for lunch at a resort at another island. A “resort” in Thailand isn’t like a “resort” in America. This resort had a few fan bungalows and an open terrace where three dishes sat prepared for us: a chicken and vegetable dish, a cabbage dish, and a sweet and sour fish dish. Great food.
Bekah and I arrived back at our hotel at about 5 o’clock
and we were soooo sunburned and tired. We slept for an hour or so and then took a shuttle bus back to Batong Road for some excitement.
Our last night in Phuket was one of the most fun nights that I can ever remember having in my life, and that is saying something. Bekah and I walked along Batong Road, not expecting too much of the night, not really in the mood to have a drink. We had arranged to meet Larse at Soccerbar, where they had buy one get one free specials. The bar next to them lied to us and said they had the special too, until our bill came, then they denied everything. We found Larse a moment later and played a game where we pointed out a person, then tried to guess something about their life; like what country they were from to gay-or-straight to if they were man, lady, or both. Then we went to another bar, which was a great choice of mine. They had cocktails advertised at 100 baht during happy hour. But when we walked in they said happy hour was only till 10:00. We were about to leave when the
Bekah and Larse
manager, an Aussie, said he’d extend happy hour for us and that a band was about to play in 5 minutes. I forgot the name of my drink, but it was Bailey’s mixed with Butterscotch Schnapps. It is the best mix ever. The band was amazing and played all the classics from the Beatles to Pink Floyd. We got up to dance and I was grabbed by a Swiss man, who happened to be the best dancer in Phuket. Great drinks, great music, great dancing…
The next bar was a place we stopped in so Larse could watch the football game. There I was, drinking my coffee, when lo’and behold I see the gentlemen named Mike who we had met at Soccerbar the night before. Mike and John (Mike’s friend) gave Bekah and I the Thai flower necklaces that they had bought off the man without any legs as a gift for it being our last night in Phuket. The night led into the four of us, including Mike’s friend John, requesting a stream of songs. We sang and danced all night. In fact, during one of my song requests, “Sweet Home Alabama” I looked out the bar and the
flower salesman without any legs was dancing. Mr. Bojangles was actually dancing. It was fantastic. I wish everyone could be a witness to the light of the smile that came over that man’s face as he moved his only limbs, with a point of the fingers, every such way. I wish everyone could be a witness to the craic inside that bar as everyone danced and sang along to that well-known tune. That was one of the greatest nights of my life.
By the way: If anyone knows the Mike, John, or Larse that I mentioned above, please have them contact me or Bekah. Bekah lost her camera in that bar. We really need it. It had the picture of the lady-boy that pinched her arm.
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