Kristin was wearing an all Cambodian outfit on our trip back to Thailand. Her shirt and pants were both purchased at the Angkor Night Market for a total of $5, and we probably were even ripped off. All in all though, for a cheap country, Cambodia is a pretty expensive place to visit. The flight to Siem Reap is about $300 and, at about 35 minutes long, is almost $10 per minute. One also has to pay $25 to get in and $25 to get out of Siem Reap airport. It may be cheaper to enter elsewhere in Cambodia.
We had another terrific meal on our super smooth, 35 minute Bangkok Airways flight. After landing though, the sweat began to pour. We had one hour. Our landing was at the international terminal, and we would need to pass through immigrations, customs, and race to the domestic terminal to board our flight from Bangkok to Phuket. Things got hot between Kristin and I. Words were exchanged, mainly, "Hurry up you slug," and "God your an idiot (that was after I accidentally almost went in the crew entrance to domestics)," but our differences were erased when we arrived at the terminal, with time to buy 3 cold waters.
Too call the passengers of Bangkok Airways PG924 a bunch of stinkers would be to engage in extreme niceties, at least relative to the truth. These people smelled, and it was not of elderflower and jasmine. The stench of body odor tickled the poor smell receptors of our nostrils into a frenzy, and we fought hard to hold onto sanity. We faded noticeably several times, always wading back to reality through the thick stench of an onion like cloud to fight again. We made it to Phuket but not without a concessions. These concessions being those of comfort and tolerance, maybe a dash of understanding of other people and their reason for bringing their air about so carelessly.
The hour long taxi ride from the airport exceeded our expectations of time by about 45 minutes. Phuket is bigger than it looks in google maps, much bigger. What appears as just a sliver of land in the Andaman sea, is in fact a long island teeming with mountains, sand, trees, and the occasional elephant. We saw an especially hairy little guy that appeared to be hitching even. Upon our arrival to the Hilton Phuket, we were united with my old friend Dave. Dave is currently living in Malaysia, and decided to meet up with us for some diving in the Phi Phi island area. After Dave and I went through the motions that old friends must do of readapting and calibrating contexts to the old friendship levels among changed people, we all hit the beach. We rented boogie boards, and for Kristin, this was bittersweet. She shagged a few waves with really a garbage board. Literally, it looked like a piece of old cushioning from a long narrow couch, left to bake and harden in the sun. It gave her an awful rash. Dave had a pretty quality board and took to the waves like a seasoned pro, even riding one completely to dispersion, only to pick up another that delivered him to the sands of Karon Beach. My stabs at boogie boarding were amateurish and pathetic, and since I was using the good board, I unfortunately had no one to blame except myself. Whats worse, for some odd reason, my butt itched for the remains of the day.
We had a cab drop us at Patong Beach for dinner. We ate at an excellent restaurant, but paid a princely sum to do so. In our defense, the menu had no prices. We should have known better though, as we selected live beasts of crustaceans from the salt water tanks. Mine snarled and growled, bucking the air like a king of the rodeo, begging to return to the shallows of his own private Bangladesh. It would not be so, for Kristin and I would dine on lobster tonight. Thankfully, we had the foresight to share a lobster, and this cut down on costs considerably. Dave ordered tiger prawns, each the size of a Maine lobster. Our food shined, the service was considerably uneven, and at one point, Dave and I both would have probably exchanged our souls for another sip of our finished watermelon fruit shakes. The lobster was damn good, but I would return for the fruit shake.
Since we were in the infamous Phuket, we had to at least check out the girly bars of Bangla Road. This is where western men, incompetent of dating successfully, come to find their future wives and girlfriends. Or something like that. I know that our readership includes a few younger ears, so I will not delve into intricate details of these sort of social arrangements. I will tell you how the experience went for us. We had a few creep outs, a few drinks, and eventually we ended up at a bar playing Connect Four (seriously) for an hour with the ladies of Bangla Road. They were worthy adversaries at this simple game, and I cannot think of a more surreal way to end a long day of traveling.
Me and Nehm, who I am pretty sure used to be the Stig on Top Gear,
we miss you man
Bangkok Airways Meal
Landing in Phuket
Karon Beach, which is just south of the more famous Patong, but
more relaxing and wide
Beat the crowds
Dave and Kristin
The waves were nice
Dave and I, we sent a stunt body in for me on this one, did not
want to intimidate the readership with rock hard abs
Checking the air for conditions
Not exactly storm of the century material, but nice ride
Sizing up the surf
A wave that knocked me good
A couple of goons
Dave - Nice backdrop
One more to drive the point home
Slide at our pool
Utilizing the facilities
Our lobster hanging off the plate
Walking through bars, absorbing the shock
Bangla Road Shrine
Connect Four with the ladies