Today we woke quite early and were very, very good and got into our running gear. Walking briskly down a side roadway used by the small electric vehicles between the 2 Club Med restaurants, and the laundry and suitcase carts, we made excellent time to reception instead of all the left/right/squeeze into single file manoeuvers that the usual path demanded, and then through to the back of the bar where the one pedestrian entry/exit gate for the beach was. We were most surprised to find 2 guards there who raised small flags and stopped the small amount of traffic for us to cross the road. It was a very nice touch anyway and of course there’s nothing like someone watching to make you actually begin your run, tee hee! We turned to the left and jogged gently along the raised path with the road on our left and a 6 foot drop to the beach on our right, with trees and bushes amongst the sand at the bottom of the little wall. Only a few people came in the other direction and at one point we had a single male, a whole heap younger than us, pass us going in the same direction.
After a while I slowed to a walk for a short distance and then we began jogging again until we reached the end of the road and a small parking area with steps down to the beach, so we took that route. We were only able to go a little further, jogging along the hard sand near the water, until the bay ran into a rocky headland with restaurants clamouring around it so we stopped for some water to drink and then decided to run along the sand all the way to the other end of the bay. It was quite warm by now and the sun was in our faces so we alternated jogging with walking for the 1.5 km length of the bay. When we got to the end we decided to do it again so this time with more walking than jogging returned to the south end of the beach and then walking only back to the Club Med gate.
Yes, we went to breakfast drowning in sweat. Well, the weather was humid enough that everyone was sweating anyway and it was clean sweat LOL It always feels so good to have done some exercise and, to be honest, both of us found that jogging helped our backs. It seems that every chair in Club Med had a really deep seat so that if you did manage to wriggle back far enough to support your back then you couldn’t bend your knees because they were on the top of the chair seat! Taking a taxi anywhere or laying on the quiet pool loungers became back therapy very quickly, as opposed to sitting without back support on any of the chairs!
Anyway, boy do I get side-tracked! After a very leisurely breakfast we toodled over to reception to ask how was the best way to see the Big Buddha and Lookout. We could *just* see the tip of Buddhas head far at the top of a big hill that didn’t look so very far away and we’d heard that the climb up the hill from its base on foot would take an hour, and we were up for that, so we asked how long it would take to walk *to* the foot of the hill as well. After we’d resuscitated the poor receptionist she assured us very earnestly that it was ‘Far, far!!!” and that we must take a taxi. We privately bet that it was no such thing but agreed that we would come back to get a taxi later in the day and go to see Buddha.
In the meantime, we decided that the quiet pool was calling our names and ended up alternating leisurely laps with lounging on the reclining beds and reading. I almost never read novels but I got through a medium-sized book during our week in Phuket. The quiet pool was very nice, but the rules seemed very much ignored. People were talking in normal volume voices, even laughing out loud and swimming overarm – none of which had been allowed in the Bali equivalent. And in Bali the attendant had come around regularly with whispered offers of drinks which he then delivered. If we wanted drinks here we had to go and ask. Could probably have bellowed from our chairs truth to tell [chuckling]. However, it was what it was, and there was noise from the road just over the 5 foot tall wall anyway.
I don’t know where the time went but the next thing we knew it was well into the lunch hours so we had a quick shower and got ready for our Buddha trip and had lunch as we passed the buffet restaurant pretty much.
Reception ordered us a taxi that arrived faster than we could walk the 20 or 30 steps to the place to meet him. It was yet another 15-seater mini bus. Comfortable and air-conditioned, as they all seemed to be, though this one had a permanent memorabilia of a decent unplanned meeting with a solid object on its front driver’s corner.
And indeed the Big Buddha was too far for us to have walked. As the crow flies it was a bit less than 2 kms but the way we had to go to be using roads was, as far as I can tell, about 8 kms to the bottom of the one road up the hill and then a further 3 or 4 up the steep incline itself. On the way up the hill we passed 2 elephant riding stables, several small shops, a quad-bike hire place and a few restaurants. Most of these buildings, other than the restaurants, were made of palm leaves woven through long sticks and a few had been allowed to topple and were being left to re-integrate themselves from whence they came.
I loved this sign. If you read it properly you will see how we would have felt if we’d walked the whole way to get there.
The road up the hill was only just 2 car widths wide with no footpath so we were relieved we had gone by car the whole way, and eventually reached the top – thankfully with no dangling near precipitous road edges as I’d feared. The driver refused our money telling us that he would wait for us and take us home again so we headed towards the entry gate to see a lady wearing shorts and a tank top in front of us. Having read about ‘how to be polite in Thailand’ before I left home I knew that the official lady ‘manning’ the gate and trying to wrap this half-clad visitor in a sarong was just helping. The lady in the shorts and tank top didn’t seem so sure. Setting eyes on David, who doesn’t look like much of an oracle to me, she asked him what was going on and, because he’s an attentive husband who does listen to some of my rabbiting on, he told her that this was a place of worship and there are dress codes. I was so proud of him! I checked by arm waving with the sarong wielder that I was OK with my below-the-knees skirt and she gestured that I was fine. Odd in a way because I too had a tank top style blouse, but I’d got a sheer fabric shawl over my shoulders so that must have been OK.
As we rounded the little corner of the final tip of the hill it became apparent that Buddha was having brain surgery, for his head was surrounded on all sides by scaffolding. Oh! This was absolutely not what I’d hoped to photograph 🙁 I’ll let the photos show you what we did see anyway…
And David took this shot which I really like – for what it is anyway.
I definitely would not like to have to climb up that lot to begin my day’s work. The guys up there were all using angle grinders so we guess they were shaping the marble once it was in place.
You can pretty much make out here that Buddha is made up of thousands of squares of marble tiles. We were given the opportunity to buy a square and you could write on the back of it if you wanted. We just put a donation in the box without making a purchase. The inside was hollow except for some really hefty concrete columns and cross-beams. So the walk around was interesting, but definitely not beautiful.
Now, what *did* excite me was a long row of very assorted chairs under shelter rooves and I really loved many of those. Here are 2…
Aren’t they wonderfully exotic?
And we also did have some very nice lookout views from up there…
There was a really large decorated bell and I liked the 2 dragon heads at the top of it…
But like everything else up there it was marred by something ugly right next to it. In this case a big ‘fence’ of green shade cloth. (And I won’t approve any comment suggesting it’s anything else in this photo! 😉 )
I did manage to get this picture of a very pretty flower arrangement and a gold statue that was rather nice. And from one of the market stalls I bought myself 3 bells of varying sizes, though I assure you they were all smaller than the one in the photo!
And that was it. We found our taxi man and went back to Club Med. One of those outings that’s only purpose is to stop you wishing forever more than you’d taken it but, having taken it, you wonder why you bothered LOL
We took to the bar and indulged in some pina colada for me and beer for David and idly watched the beginning of the adult session of trapeze lessons but soon decided that moping around really isn’t us so went off to find the archery. And ‘find’ was the operative word. The golf was well sign-posted, the tennis was well sign-posted, but the archery sure wasn’t. And we were trying to rush because there was only an hour left of the session. However, we did find it, and just in time for a tournament to be finishing and free shooting to start. Perfect. They asked if we’d done archery before and we said that we had and were honoured when we picked up our bows to have them gasp “Wow, you have!” And then for them to be impressed once we started shooting as well. We both love archery. For the first 30 minutes I was beating David hands down but then our fingers began to get sore from drawing the bow string and that sorted the girls from the boys and he beat me thoroughly for the final 30 minutes.
Once ‘time’ was called on the archery we went on further to find the 9 hole golf course and were happy to find it deserted – the only way we will play. I took 1 club and 1 putter from the holders and David took 2 clubs and a putter and off we went and managed to play 4 holes without misadventure. All the while a single player was gaining on us and then we couldn’t find the 5th hole. In the end we played what we could only presume was it, just in time for the player behind to come and tell us we’d just played the 8th – from the side. We did laugh! He’d had another player join him by now so we let them play through. About my golf, I will only tell you that I don’t keep score. Does that tell you all you need to know? By the time we got to the 7th hole I was bored and picked up my ball, just choosing to walk with David while he played but it was getting dark by the time he finished the real 8th hole so we called it quits.
I’d played golf barefoot because my feet weren’t used to the shoes I was wearing but the concrete path was painful to walk on so I put my shoes back on only to have one of them break. Flap, flap, FLAP, it went as I walked because the sole was coming away from 3/4s of the base but David was my hero and did some running repairs enough that I could keep using it. I think this had something to do with the fact that I’d asked him for a piggy back and we were over 1km away from our room, but I don’t like to cast unfounded suspicions LOL The next thing was that I had a bird fly into my chest and make me jump! It was too dark to have seen in arriving.
Now I should mention that half way around the golf pitch (yeah, what the heck, the word pitch will do, I’m no pro) I had glanced up at a tall metal ‘flag pole’ outside Club Med and seen a circle of loud hailers at the top. I knew instantly that they were tsunami warning sirens and struggled rather to remain calm about this. The man at the holiday club talk yesterday had mentioned the tsunami but I’d managed to cast it off and convince myself he’d meant the other side of the island. Here, now, was solid proof and I would have preferred to stay ignorant. It was probably because of this that the bird had made me jump so badly, I was already a bit on edge.
But anyway, I managed to hobble on my broken shoe as far as the dining room and David deposited me at a nice table with some food and hiked all the way to our room to take the broken shoes back and bring me a different pair. He is a wonderful husband!!!
After dinner we got drinks from the bar and waited for the show and tonight it was Circus – always a brilliant show at Club Med and we were not disappointed. For the trapeze and aerial shots we were up on the balcony so that’s why the camera is looking straight at the performers rather than up at them.
This was fluorescent poi twirling…
The girl in the centre (and above on the silks) was incredibly strong and all the performers were extremely talented.
And then it was time for a shower and bed – early for a change. Well, almost 11 by the time we climbed between the sheets on the rock slab anyway.
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