Sunday, July 09, 2006


The resort of Patong beach on Phuket is probably somewhere that I wouldn't naturally have chosen to come given the write up in the Rough Guide. But Carly and Charlotte were here so we came here to meet them. In the end we stayed 4 nights for one reason and another.

The morning after we arrived we got up and left our hotel (Baan Boa 2) in search of the beach and breakfast. We found both after a 10 minute walk and a lot of dodging of mopeds. They love their mopeds in this part of the world. Sadly they don't have the same love of pavements so you have to keep your wits about you. After breakfast we walked up the beach and sent a text to Carly to find out what they were up to. A couple of slightly confused texts later and we were sitting on the beach with them. It's a bit weird meeting up with people you know from home when you are half way round the world, but good weird.

I'm afraid we all sat on the beach a bit too long as we noticed when we moved that we were beginning to turn a bit lobster coloured. After a swift drink in an Irish pub we headed off to our hotels for showers and the application of aftersun. This was a process that produced a lot of 'Owww'-ing from both myself and Gemma, and given the redness of Carly's face when we met them for dinner I would imagine from her also. Charlotte was just brown, which I think we all thought a little unfair.

Patong is a very touristy resort, full of holidaymakers enjoying the Thai sun and the attendant bars and restaurants that come with it. It is reasonably expensive to eat here, especially in the more touristy places, but that is what we did. The main strip of Patong is crowded with sleazy hostess bars and Australian and Irish bars too. We ended up in 'The Aussie Bar' talking to a couple of blokes that Carly & Charlotte had met the night previously. In the street many people were getting hassled to buy a photo with an iguana wrapped round them, or indeed a ladyboy. I drank quite a lot of Tiger beer and the next day felt rather rough for it. After we bid goodnight to Carly and Charlotte, who were being good as they had an early start in the morning, we went to a bar across the street with a covers band playing. I was quite drunk by this point and a couple next to us aroused my hatred by singing along to Coldplay songs, waving their arms and looking meaningfully at one another. I frowned at them to express my disgust. Gemma tried to hide behind her beer.

We didn't get up until the afternoon the next day as it had turned out to be a pretty late one for us. I had passed out on top of the bed, which Gemma found so amusing that she photographed it. I think I'll be deleting those ones in the interest of public safety. The day was somewhat a washout as I felt very hungover for most of it, although it got better when I had a beer with dinner. We ate at a beach side restaurant, which was nice, with the sun going down as we finished our meal. On the walls of the restaurant were pictures of when it was trashed by the Tsunami in 2004. Patong was very badly hit by the Tsunami, although is pretty well rebuilt by now. There are evacuation route signs up all over the beachfront now.

We'd had to sort an extra night at our hotel as we had booked an onward flight and weren't able to get one for the next day. Probably a good thing as we slept in again and would've missed check out. We also missed the time of a tour to James Bond Island (Scaramanga's hideout in The Man with the Golden Gun), something that I quite fancied. Never mind, there'll be other beautiful little islands I'm sure. We spent the afternoon having a walk on the beach and a couple of beers.

Patong is full of tailors shops and you do get hassled quite a lot walking along. It's hard to remain polite, but I really don't want a suit, so there is no point in me going into someones shop to have a look. It always follows the same format, 'Hi mate, where you from', 'England, I don't want a suit', 'Hey, England, Lovely Jubbly, which part', 'Norwich, in the East, I don't want a suit', 'Norwich, yes, when do you leave', 'tomorrow, did I mention, I have no need of a suit', 'well, I can do you very cheap price on a lovely suit, just come look in my shop', 'I don't want a suit', 'just look', 'no'. Once or twice this would be fine, but at the 100th iteration it becomes quite tiresome, especially when it is interspersed with, 'Tuk tuk, taxi?'. My head has nearly shaken off I think with all the negative answers I've given to people.

All of this may give the impression that I'm not enjoying it here, but I am, very much so. I do quite fancy finding somewhere a little less built up though.

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