Sun 24th Continued…
Strange as it seems after the exciting and full day that we’d already had there was still plenty of time to play and we decided to try once more to have a look around outside the gate, so we threw a few of our things, including my camera, into our room and off we went. We saw many, *many* ladies outside all the massage places asking if we wanted massages. They happily accepted our ‘no thank you’ though and always exchanged beautiful smiles with us. The tailors, however, were another matter. They would engage us in conversation first and then get around to their persuasive, but futile, efforts to get David to buy some shirts or a suit. David quickly decided that if we went out of the Club Med gate again he would wear torn and dirty clothing so that he definitely did not look like a tailoring candidate LOL
We walked up and down a few streets and looked at the shops. There was nothing of interest to us but we enjoyed the warmth, the walk and the new sights and sounds and eventually decided that we would walk to the Starbucks that I’d noticed ‘just up the road’ when we’d first arrived. So off we went up a side street that David thought could be The One. Needless to say (you can tell can’t you?) that was not The One, nor was the next street that we came back down. I was positive it was on a corner of the main road anyway and that we did not need to take these side streets at all so we continued on, dodging and failing-to-dodge more tailors. Who does the sewing if these guys are hanging around outside their shops all the time anyway???
We eventually reached a fork in the road – we were standing on a tine, not the handle, but we took note for the journey home! We’d walked quite a long way and the time was getting on and David suggested turning back but I said “Just *one* more block!” And we did. And there was Starbucks. There was a guy mopping down the floor of the outside area and we couldn’t see lights on inside but he assured us it was open. It was also welcomingly cool inside after our walk and we ordered an iced coffee each and sat by the window to enjoy it. I suppose that, staying in Club Med where there were always so many people around, this was the first time we’d just sat, alone, to gaze at our surroundings and it was really nice to do so.
After a while David had finished his drink and suggested that we should be walking back soon before it got dark and I told him I was most skilled and could walk and drink at the same time and was very happy to do that. Starbucks comes in plastic cups anyway!
The footpath outside was quite narrow and we had to step over the large sleeping dog that filled it. He had not moved since we’d stepped over him on the way in. Obviously content with where he was, next to the fairly busy road, and saw it to be as good a bed as any.
We arrived back to Club Med just as I was finishing my drink and the light was just beginning to dim and we had a chance to grab a shower before dinner.
This was the room we liked to eat in best of all. We always sat to the left of this where there wasn’t a solid ceiling, just some sail cloth, but the sides were open and, both to the right of this shot and behind me, the walls were open from waist height to the weather and looked over the road to the beach.
Now, I have not mentioned the charming and very friendly Manager of Dining (the title I’ve nominated for him, lacking the knowledge of his real one). An Indian man, who David insisted on calling Hogwart to start with because he couldn’t begin to dream how to say the real name on his badge. Hogwart just seemed to take a shine to David and seemed to take better care of him than anyone else around, plying him with drinks, taking his plate (when there were waiters and waitresses to do that) and insisting that he sit down to be brought his coffee instead of making it himself as was more usual. Siddhath, for that was his real name, was just gorgeous and very relaxed and happy about his job which is such a lovely thing to witness. In fact all of the Club Med staff seemed very happy and that helps so much for the guests to enjoy themselves as well.
The wait-staff were all local Thai people and so very friendly and polite. They had varying levels of English skills but I always said hello and thank you to them in Thai anyway. Try as I may I could *not* get David to do the same. He said he makes enough of a mess of English and I’m afraid I can only agree.
During this evening we had a chat with Siddhath about the tsunami – not a subject I would have chosen to discuss over a meal, but I’m so glad we did. It seems that they had had a 2 hour warning before the 2004 tsunami had hit and had had no trouble at all evacuating everyone. I suppose I hadn’t taken it in that there was so much warning time, I’d thought it could just be sudden; that those sirens would blare and everyone would be running and fighting each other to get away, so I felt a lot more relaxed after that. It certainly hadn’t been foremost in my mind, but it had crossed it a couple of times. It seems that Club Med had been hit by the 2004 wave and all the rooms had been filled with mud but they had been able to open for business again after 6 weeks. That’s not a bad effort!
After dinner we went over to the bar and I felt like something different so looked down the cocktails list. Whiskey, lemon juice and sugar – that sounded nice! So I ordered one. It’s a whiskey sour for anyone like me who would not have recognised it from the ingredients. Phoar!!! Sour!?!?!? My cheeks met in the middle of my tongue!!! David rushed back to the bar and got me a pina colada – stat! ROFL
There was one thing that was a major disappointment to us at this Club Med and this was that smoking seemed to be allowed everywhere except actually inside the covered eating areas. But in the open-air dining room (that we preferred), all around the pool, in and around the bar and theatre – well, anywhere they pleased! – people were smoking. It spoiled the taste of our food, it spoiled the taste of our drinks and just downright took our breath away every time it was unexpected. A great shame – in our opinion anyway.
On to cheerier things, the show tonight was named Greatest Hits (or something similar) and there was the most amazing array of songs. Each one had either a most convincing ‘body double’ or a humorous take and we really enjoyed ourselves. There were artists such as Dire Straits, Beatles, Queen, Beach Boys, Bee Gees, Joan Jett, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, AC DC, Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, Offspring… And all accompanied by the genuine music and lots of lighting and smoke effects – a really great night.
And straight after the show, at 10:30, we went to bed. It had been a fairly long, but very happy day.
Obviously we woke full of beans because we got dressed in our jogging gear and went for another run. This time we set off jogging from the crosswalk and didn’t stop, or even want to, until we reached the very far south end of the beach. It was such a wonderful feeling! Had the beach continued I’d have run further but we stopped for a drink in the shade of the big tree there before jog/walking the full length of the beach and then back to Club Med again. When we went to breakfast our darling Zelie came along and asked if she could sit with us – oh my word, yes!!! We had a lovely chat with her and found out that she had now worked in the job for 10 days. She really had been wonderful when we’d booked our trips and we’d had no idea she was still so new!
She couldn’t linger and soon had to go to work so we decided on some time in the quiet pool. The pool was beautiful and we got our favourite loungers off to the left in the lower grassed area and read until we got hot and then dipped in the water and then read again. Does it get any better than that? Actually yes, David went to ask for drinks and came back with a small can of mango juice each mmmmmmmmmmm.
Going back to our room we were very surprised to see that it had been made up already. This usually happened much later in the day so of course we’d left it messy with every confidence we would have time later to tidy it *blush*. I was in the shower and David had stripped off in the main room ready for the change of shift under the water when the room door started to open. It was the maid and she had probably knocked, but with his hearing he wouldn’t hear her over the water running. He quickly yelled “Hello!?” and fortunately the maid didn’t push the door any further open but just handed some bottles of drinking water around the side of it. Phew!
After this we just meandered around, asked at reception as to where to buy David some thongs (that we’d first left the gates for on Friday but never got) and they suggested the market that didn’t start until 3pm – it wasn’t even lunch time yet. David slowed down his walking as we went back to our room so that I could take some flower photos that I may as well dot through the wordy parts of today’s story.
After the photo shoot we sat on the bed and looked through the photos that we’d taken to date. It was just so nice not to have places to be for a change and we just took this as a day off from everything!
We ate a very late lunch – in fact we’d missed the buffet hours so ate a la carte in the restaurant next to the quiet pool which was so close to our room. I had a vegetarian club sandwich and David asked for a Caesar salad with chicken and was amused to receive a Caesar salad on one plate and a chicken dish on another ROFL For dessert he chose a strawberry ice cream and I chose ‘cake of the day’. Perhaps they had plenty, or perhaps it was my turn to be the ‘favoured one’ but my plate was a very long, narrow dish such as you could fit an entire garlic bread loaf on, and it had 5 tiny assorted cakes on it. David tried to convince me that he was my best friend but I would have none of it. I did actually give him some of 4 of the cakes, but not the chocolate one. He’s known for a very long time not to get between me and chocolate 😛 And before we left we made reservations (as were needed) to eat dinner here on Wednesday evening – we were even asked to choose which table we wanted.
It was already time that if we walked the short distance to the markets they would be open so we changed into walking shoes and off we went. I saw some beautifully cool, white cheesecloth shirts that would have looked really nice on David and been cool for him but no – if there’s no price on something he won’t even ask. I also saw some t.shirts that would have made good gifts for our 2 sons, but the same was true. For quite a few stalls, they were still setting up, yet others had a very large stock and were all set to go. There were places in the market where there was some smell or another that just took our breath away. It was very close to causing a gag reflex at times but we tried to smile and look normal so as not to offend. I’ve tried Professor Google since coming home but can only discover that it could possibly have been dried fish so I still don’t really know what it was. Downright stinky is what it was, but the details remain a mystery. So we bought nothing and I was feeling a bit fed up about still not having gifts for the family to bring home. David says you shouldn’t *have* to buy people things, but you just do don’t you? It’s nice to bring home presents for the poor unfortunately who haven’t had a holiday 😉
We went back to Club Med for a nice leisurely drink at the bar and David ordered himself a whiskey sour – wow! And then we went back to the quiet pool again. Except it wasn’t, it was not only noisy, with people laughing and talking loudly in the water, but a family with 2 children came in as well. The signs clearly, and in pictures not words, say to whisper and adults only but we decided not to be cross and to just accept that there was noise of vehicles on the road and people over the wall anyway. We didn’t stay long though.
On our way up the stairs away from the pool David realised that a canvas covered ‘thing’ that we’d noticed but not thought about was actually a stair lift to help disabled people down the steps. Goodness knows there were many, many steps around the Club and none of the others (bar 2 with concrete ramps) had any assistance! In fact this pool was at the furthest back point of the Club and you would definitely have to negotiate at least a few steps to have got here. The only way into the pool was a vertical 4-rung ladder so I said to David “And how do they propose to get someone in a wheelchair into the water anyway?” And he put his hands out in front of him as if pushing a wheelchair and then lifted them slightly whilst saying “Tip!!!!” I was giggling for ages.
We showered and went to dinner early ready for our next adventure.
This was our third of the 3 trips we’d booked and was apparently the ‘Show To End All Shows!’ Bigger than Ben Hur or anything else you could imagine. We gathered at reception and met up with the other people coming along and Eddine, our Dutch G.O. tour guide for the night. Edine was incredible with names and recited everyone’s names from memory by the time we were all seated ready to go. And he used the names again through the evening, it wasn’t a 2-minute wonder.
He faced backwards, kneeling on the front passenger seat for the whole journey, telling us things of interest, explaining the show that we were about to see, and answering any questions about anything that we cared to ask. I’m pretty sure he said he’d worked for Club Med for 22 years and worked in a similar number of their resorts. Incredibly impressive stats anyway! By default with this kind of history he spoke many languages and switched easily into German for the couple in the seat in front of David and myself.
Eddine took great care of us all, giving sensible advice along with making us all laugh, and guided us through the metal detectors at the gate – truly!!! And if that doesn’t shock you check out this sign…
Eddine ushered us fairly promptly towards a huge stone (it probably wasn’t stone, but who can tell) castle with a lake around it and huge elephant statues trumpeting water into the lake. This was the main theatre and named ‘Palace of the Elephants’. We went in the doors and were each given a sticker for our chest and our tickets and then had to form lines to go through security. Ladies there were wearing gloves and honestly patted down the men’s pockets to make sure there was nothing camera shaped or mobile phone shaped in there. **Anything** that could possibly take a photo had to be handed in and was not allowed in the show. David had a computer hard-drive in his pocket – if I was having to leave my camera back at the Club then I was going to have backups of the photos with us – and showed it to the lady and she was fine with that. Then she checked my handbag thoroughly. I felt like a criminal – but I’d better not tell you why.
Then we joined another queue but everything ran like clockwork and was incredibly well organised. Once around some more corners we were in a large room and there were opportunities for a photo shoot with some blah blah blah, I can’t remember because…. the first item mentioned had been a tiger cub. I’ve always dreamed of hugging a lion and this was the closest I was ever likely to get to that dream, I was so excited! The tiger hugging queue wasn’t too long at all and before I knew it I was being seated on a fur covered rock with David by my side – he hadn’t wanted to intrude on my dream but it was nice to get a photo of us both. One of the attendants draped a leopard skin rug over our laps and plonked the darling tiger cub on top. I just wanted to love it and took very little notice as the attendant pulled our hands to where he wanted them to be and gave me the milk bottle to feed the cub. It was a very, very precious moment to me. And ‘moment’ it was because we were all too soon being ushered away so that the next couple could sit. Another attendant passed by me with another tiger cub so I managed to get a stroke of that one as well and the man seemed to linger a little for me before rushing away. Thank you!!!! The tigers were incredibly soft and it was definitely one of those times in life that you would like to freeze and never move on from.
And I think I will save telling you about the show until another night or I won’t get this uploaded before David comes home from work. We have a busy weekend coming up and 2 grandchildren staying for the next week but I’ll do my best to keep the story coming once they’re in bed.
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