My birthday, after 2 nights with hardly any sleep, but such is life. I opened all of the cards that David had dexterously snuck into his suitcase and, although I’d already seen the cards from my granddaughters, they made me cry. Tenderly hand-made, and individually written, by the 7 year old, and even the 4 year old, with the loving guidance of their amazing mum. Too precious for words!
While David made me a cup of tea I checked my email and found an email from our newest friend, Sheryl, to say happy birthday. That was so gorgeous! I also popped into my photographic website and there were greetings there as well from so many friends.
Believe it or not, we ate chocolate cashews and fresh dragonfruit for breakfast. We would be leaving tomorrow evening so needed to eat what remained of our food supplies. The cashew factory had a notice assuring that we could bring them into Australia as long as we declared them, but we’d deliberately only bought what we could eat. We never buy anything we need to declare.
After that we went for an exercise swim, and worked really hard at it. We had the pool to ourselves, which helped a lot. Once we got out of the water I suddenly felt more tired than I ever have in my life. It was a struggle to walk around the pool, never mind up the stairs to the third floor. But I made it, threw a towel on the pillow to protect it from my wet hair and absolutely crashed out.
Apparently a maid knocked at the door to see if she could wash the floor. Truly? Surely that’s a job for Saturday after we’d checked out if they’re not going to do it daily? Either way David sent her on her way, so we won over the cleaner that day, pah!!! *Giggles*
Once I awoke, I don’t know how long later, we walked once more up the steep hill to the tuk tuk stand. On the way 2 guys on scooters pulled up and asked if we spoke English. They were selling things, you could just tell, so I said “Parlez vous Francais?” They said “Oh!” and drove away muttering something about ‘bloody French’. David nearly died. It’s a wonder they hadn’t seen his jaw drop to the floor when I spoke, but it sure got rid of them in a hurry LOL
As we approached the tuk tuks we could see A118 sitting sunnily in the front and actually had to go and look for Mr A. He was playing golf with the other man. They had a bit of grassed area that they obviously enjoyed. We asked him how much to ‘Nicky Handlebar’ and he said 500 Baht, so we did our pretend brief discussion and agreed. We didn’t allow his offer of the return journey because we had absolutely no idea how long we would be because we wanted to wander around afterwards.
However, this was my birthday lunch, and I wanted nothing more than that pineapple rice that David had yesterday. I also ordered some garlic bread as a starter – though it arrived with the rice. I chickened out of verbally ordering my drink and just pointed on the menu. As I showed the waitress she giggled and said “Oooohhh sek on beach?” Yup – that’s why I hadn’t said it, and why David had flatly refused to order it for me tee hee!
Here’s my beautiful drink – dollied up as per the pina colada yesterday.
And the garlic bread – nom nom nom.
We only had the one course (seeing as the garlic bread hadn’t officially been an entrée after all). David had the pineapple rice as well, it was just so unbelievably delicious. And the garlic bread was a 9/10 as well.
After this, we walked along the road kind of in the direction of the big shopping centre, Jung Ceylon. We had to fight off many salesmen on bikes along the way and most certainly should have done the ‘other language’ fix instead.
After a while we came across a market area. We weren’t sure if they were slowly paving the floor as they could afford it, or were perhaps stoney broke and were selling the bricks off one by one. We had a giggle about it anyway.
Just on the right of the red crate (centre back of this shot) was a stall with the kind of clothing I was looking for so we braved a look. We were fairly quickly pounced on by a really cheeky and appealing sales girl, and we chatted and laughed with her while we also fought her off with a big stick to let us actually *look* at the wares. We did manage to convince her that I didn’t want anything red or orange though, and we chose 3 dresses and 2 pairs of trousers for me. I was spending my birthday money sooner than I usually do. Then we asked about children’s clothing and ended up buying a pair of very cute trousers each for the girls, and a t.shirt each for the boys. I did my best to barter for the price, and was helped by the fact that it was done on the calculator, but I can’t have done the best job because she threw in a matching sarong to one of the dresses I’d bought. She did say happy birthday as she put it into the bag though. David had told her!
Now, we didn’t have enough money on us, so she took David to show him where the ATM was. She came back, having left me totally alone in the stall, comfortably seated on a stool. She and I chatted and laughed. And waited. I began to get worried because David was gone for ages, and she agreed that she was getting worried as well. She left me again, still seated on her stool, and went to find him. My heart was pounding in a very horrible manner! Very quickly though, she came back and said “He’s on his way!”, and just at that time I saw him come around from the right. She’d taken him to the left! But I didn’t care, I was just incredibly relieved to see the cheeky face that I love best in the whole wide world. Oh my goodness! It seems that the ATM she’d taken him to only spoke Thai, so he’d gone looking for another. Even then, he’d had help from a girl at the massage shop next to the second one!
Reunited at last, and with my shopping in my hand, we walked a little further along the street and came upon Jung Ceylon shopping centre. It was most definitely time for a coffee and we went into the coffee shop, reminiscing about the last time we were here a year ago. We ordered coffee, drinking water, and 2 cakes, which we thoroughly enjoyed. There was a white chocolate cake and a fudgey cake, and we shared them both. The shop looked different than it had before – bigger maybe?
We went and wandered around the shops but it was really without intent or desire. Though we did get a surprise when we went out of an external door to find the coffee shop where we had *really* been twelve months before LOL We’d just been to Coffee Club, and last year it was Starbucks. Oh well, nobody was going to pay us a million dollars, or even a million baht, to be correct, so who cares?
We went for a bit of a wander down the street and managed to get a photo of one of the little mobile shops that were so prevalent here. So cute with its umbrella and everything!
And we loved the look of this bar; particularly the 4th tiger from the left with his head over the 3rd tiger, looking so smug!
We were really done though, and went the few steps back to Jung Ceylon, where there were plenty of tuk tuks for our return journey. The first one quoted us 600 Baht and I said “Whoah!” and David said “We only paid 500 to get here!” The driver said he would have to charge us 550 ‘because of his boss’, so we said OK. This tuk tuk had a rear ‘door’ – by which I mean ‘hole’. We really love this means of transport though.
However, we would draw the line at this method below. Even though we’d come pretty close on the tuk tuk from Tesco, but that was not in the busy area by a long shot!
Now, the driving rule here is pretty much ‘do as you please’ but we were both amazed at our new driver’s road positioning. We took a dozen photos between us, all showing pretty much the same thing. Yes, that yellow line should be on the right of the entire tuk tuk, not just its left-hand wheels!!! Particularly as there were cars, bikes, and even a cement truck coming the other way! Yet the craziest part of it all was that everyone accepted it. No horn blasts, nobody ‘playing chicken’ or revenge, just another patient day on Phuket roads.
He took us straight to our resort, even though he had seemed very unsure where Bang Tao was, let alone our resort name. He had only checked with us the final turn into the dirt road. To make it clear about Bang Tao, I had needed to say “Surin Beach” and waited for a nod, and then said “More” as I gestured ‘further’ with my hands, so he had done very well.
We chose to have a leisurely swim, followed by a nice shower, and set off to walk to the ‘Off Course’ restaurant/bar/mini golf for dinner. The food there had been nice and the surroundings most definitely the nicest quality of anything we saw this holiday. Yes I know Phuket doesn’t equal quality, it’s not the lifestyle, but it was still nice to have it occasionally.
Well you know, nothing is simple is it? As we walked, I hesitated at the bridge, thinking we should have crossed it, but David walked on with confidence and I totally accepted that I’d been wrong. Stupid me LOL We walked through the ‘village’ and were well and truly looking at new sights when I commented on it to David. “Hmmm” he said, “You could be right!” But we decided to keep going rather than do the walk of shame.
As it turned out we walked 1.3 kms instead of .77 so it’s truly not the end of the world. Anyway, we got there in the end and got to see some scenery we would not otherwise have done tee hee! (See yellow route with red dots below.)
We were soon seated on an edge table next to the golf and enjoyed watching some families play as we ordered meals and savoured our drinks, and later watched people play under lights while we ate. Everything was lovely, and my drink correct this time. We shared some spring rolls and prawn donuts for entrée which were really delicious, with crisp pastry around the spring rolls. For mains I had pasta carbonara and David had a pasta olive dish, which he had thought would be hot, but it wasn’t. Our drinks were a mango mojito and some red wine – you don’t need help knowing who had which 😉 In all honesty I was full from the entrée before I got my main but I nibbled at it and all of the food was very nice. A major part of the menu here was pizza and I watched the chef preparing and spinning the dough. The kitchens had large, partially open sides, and the restaurant was completely open on 2 sides. The toilets were unisex and David warned me that when I go through the door I should *not* pass the third cubicle because that’s where the urinal was.
After the meal we were in no hurry to leave, but eventually had a pleasant walk back, along the most direct route. We took a little footpath to the right to have a peek at the ocean by moonlight, but the tide was high again so there was no romantic walk on a moonlit beach to be had.
As we came through the resort reception we chatted to our favourite of the staff there and discovered that she was not working the next day. We were very sad, but thanked her thoroughly for being so friendly and kind and looking after us so well. She had, and deserved this. I checked my email while we had a cuppa and then went to bed and had a good sleep. Until…
6am and I was awakened with a start because the bed was moving again, and in the exact same way as it had 2 days before! I rolled over and there was David by the side of the bed and, as far as I was concerned, pushing on it! I said (as you can imagine!) “What the hell are you doing?” And he replied “I’ve got cramp!”
So whether the other one I felt actually was a real earthquake or not is anybody’s guess. David was most certainly not suffering from cramp during those! However, the one Jon felt, 2½ hours after mine really did happen. It was quite a sizeable one, 5.3, in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. *Was* the first one I felt a prelude to that? I don’t suppose I’ll ever know. And I don’t know what time I felt the second one, so I can only guess that was the one Jon felt, and the real thing.
We really didn’t need the early start because we were going to be catching the ‘midnight horror’ home that night. We snuggled up, and now I knew (or did I?) that the earthquake was my darling husband, we both fell asleep again for another hour.
We had a cuppa and checked our emails whilst sharing the last of the dragonfruit and made plans for day. I also sent an email to Sheryl because today was her birthday! She replied, and we arranged to meet for breakfast, which we did.
Now I’m going to include some photos through today’s story that have not really fitted, or would have been over-kill, elsewhere, so don’t expect all pictures to relate to the story! Just refer to their titles to see what they’re about.
David ordered the omelette and apparently I ordered ‘skamow egg’. I’m sorry, I don’t usually laugh at people’s accents. I adore accents and have the greatest respect for anyone speaking a second language but, I suppose because I’d been so uptight of late, this tickled me. The more I tried not to laugh the worse I got, and I was just willing the waitress to go away! Not that anyone knew what I was laughing at, so I hope that included her.
We then enjoyed a ‘swim’. Which actually meant a beautifully leisurely ‘float’ and chat with Sheryl and Jon, until we started to get chilly in the water. We went back to our room to find that the main air-conditioner, which had taken on a life of its own the past 2 days, was on. This thing had taken to turning itself on when we were out of the room, and always as we returned feeling chilly from the pool. Well this time, neither of the controls would work to turn it off. It seemed their batteries were flat. I got into a warm shower while David swapped and changed the batteries from the 2 controllers to try to get the one successful button-push that we needed to turn the thing off. I’m very happy to report that he eventually won.
Unfortunately, we also discovered that the cleaners had been in. They’d moved everything again, and stolen my facecloth! I was a long way from impressed. At no stage had we ever been given a facecloth of any description, so David trying to tell me that they took it ‘by accident’, or ‘out of habit’ did not have any sway on my opinion at all. Far out!!! I was not sorry we would be leaving this day, before they had a chance to come and do any more damage. Our chips were in the fridge once more as well. If they’d put them in there twice and we’d taken them out both times wouldn’t you think they’d take the hint? I suppose it was different staff each time but if it was, they all had the same instructions – to interfere with things they had no right to interfere with.
As we sat down for a cuppa I suddenly noticed that we’d gained a vase of dried flowers – just a scrawny thing, nothing to get excited about, but… David’s peacock feather was in it with the flowers. How very, *very* strange!!!
We then got ready to meet Sheryl and Jon once more and they were just sitting down as we got to reception so it was perfect timing. We strolled along together, happily talking, and took the correct route to get to ‘Off Course’.
We’d decided to play the mini golf and then have lunch. The sun was quite strong today and they’d already got sunburned the day before so we tried to stick to the shade as much as possible. David fairly quickly took our cameras and asked the staff if they could care for them in the shade as they were getting a bit warm in the heat.
The four of us really enjoyed the game and had some laughs, particularly about losing our ball in the ornamental river, or overshooting the greens.
Sheryl and I in particular made a beeline for the shade every chance we got though. I did get a tiny bit burned that day. Just pink, not enough to be painful. I can’t remember who won, I sure know it wasn’t me though. I think I was last. But we had fun and that’s all that matters.
We then went and chose a table – the place was almost empty. The waiter was kind enough to set a fan going for us, and we welcomed it. I tried to order the prawn donuts again, but unfortunately they didn’t do those for lunch. We ordered some garlic focaccia to share for entrée – oh boy, 4 people could have had just those for their entire meal! Fortunately, I just ordered the entrée size spring rolls for my main course. David had a pizza and it was huge too. I *think* Sheryl and Jon each had a pizza too.
As we ate a stray dog came in and made himself comfortable on the 17th hole.
On the way back I took a couple of photos of the village, and the greenery gobbling up a street light.
We enjoyed a swim when we got back to the resort and then, unfortunately, it was time to say goodbye to Sheryl and Jon. We promised to keep in contact, and I hope they manage to find the time to read the story, but I know they’re very busy.
It was then time to have a shower and I had a bit of a sleep before we had to pack our bags. I can’t really say I was sorry to be going home, which is a bit of a shame. Or perhaps not.
Oh dear. I wish I could say ‘we flew home’ ‘the end’ ROFL After what seemed like a very long drive, our taxi dropped us at the airport and in we went. The bag scanner was right at the door and I thought how sensible it is to scan your suitcases as well as carry-on right from the start so that you could still transfer anything from one to the other if needed.
Then we went through and got a luggage trolley, and just as well. Along past a heap of check-in desks, none of which were ours – and then they ran out. So we kept going along a hallway where the only thing of interest were some guarded double doors. I forget what they were labelled – maybe ‘passport control’ or ‘customs’ or something. Well we’d still got our cases so it was no use to us.
Around the next corner, with people coming towards us, it didn’t feel right at all. Then we came face to face with some stairs, and an escalator coming up. There was also a tiny lift tucked away down a narrow carpeted strip to the side. I was starting to get afraid that if we went any further we’d be amongst the arriving passengers and get arrested or something, so we came back and double-checked the guarded doors. Still no idea so I asked and he waved us back the way we’d come in the first place to the check-ins, none of which were Virgin Australia. Anyway, there was an enquiry counter, so I did, and sure enough we had to go back to that tiny lift – which was now the most popular place to be in the whole of Phuket! If you had 2 luggage trolleys and 4 people in there at a time you were having to mind your toes from being stepped on because that was maximum capacity – in fact, pushing your luck!
Once out of there we had to be scanned again, and then met with a virtual wall of tables with security people crammed in behind them. Everyone was having to open up every suitcase and bag for the staff to look and feel through! She eyed my hard camera case with great suspicion, but we assured her it was a camera, and of course opened it, and then she was happy. Finally, but easily, we then found the Virgin counter and at last got rid of our cases. It looks as if our taxi had dropped us on the wrong level of the building, but never mind. We checked in easily with a very friendly and helpful girl, and were then sent back up the lift (or escalators) and finally through the guarded doors – after showing our passports. Then we were scanned *again*!!!
Passport check all went smoothly though, and we were through to their rather crowded but pleasant enough airport with the obligatory time to waste. We chose a café and sat down for a coffee and ended up speaking with another couple who shared our table. It was absolutely unbelievable but they were from the same small town in England (originally) as David’s father. They knew the road his cousin still lives on! And the lady and I just had so much in common that she guessed that I’d been in Phuket for my birthday, as had she.
They were currently from Tasmania, so that gave us plenty to talk about as well, because we are going there in November for our next holiday squeeeeeeee! It seems that they own the bakery, named Ingleside Bakery, in Evandale near Launceston. She gave me her card and that is most certainly on our itinerary for the 5 days we’re spending at Launceston. So watch out for that story in late November or early December!
We just about had to be prized apart, I was enjoying chatting to them so much!
The flight home was as smooth as silk and the meal was pleasant. I never have a problem with airline food and can’t understand why everyone grumbles about it so much. We had a third person in our aisle seat but he moved fairly quickly – we didn’t do anything to him, I promise! This meant we could take it in turns sitting at one end of the 3 seats while the other laid with their head in a lap and actually did get a little sleep.
Right towards the end of the flight we had some microscopic bumps and the lady across from us was sick. This led to us all having to wait for Quarantine to come and talk to her before any of us were allowed off the plane, but all was well.
In no time we were home again – it was barely 8am. Little Marley (our dog) was so very happy to see us, and we her. And it was wonderful to see our son, who had house/dog sat for us, and hugs were shared. Then I went for a sleep LOL I only had an hour but crashed again at 3pm and was out for the count. David woke me from a heavy sleep at 6pm and this is what greeted me…
A beautiful end to our holiday. The holiday that started rough, but did steadily improve. And the best part? We really needed something to look forward to, so have already booked everything for our Tasmanian holiday, and both of us are feeling really excited and squeeeeeful about that one.
If you’ve read the whole story, you’ve also viewed 101 photos – I hope you enjoyed it all. Bye until the next one!!!
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