Saturday, February 09, 2013

Phuket, Thailand

So where were we? I want to go back to May 2012, Thailand, Phuket with my family... been quite a while since the last post I've been meaning to continue the Ever Placid Journeys Across Asia by Jack Smith piece but usual story - bugged down by work.. but not fully, I've got good news to share with you for a change. First of all, let's talk about Phuket.

Father, Sister and Mother on Pa Tong Beach in Phuket, Thailand


So my parents came to visit me in Singapore, I'd been there 8 months excluding my Christmas Break back to Europe. For my Sister and Mother, there first trip to Asia and for my Father his second, after a clandestine business touring both Beijing and Shanghai some years prior.

I'd planned to plan the trip meticulously desperate to show them as much of South East Asia as possible in the 12 days they were here. My original plan was actually rejected by both parents who were not willing to Country Hop as frequently as I'd set out. So we settled on three places; we'd do a few days in Singapore and I'd let them relax and show them the basics of the little red dot. The second place would be over to Cindys place in Johor Bahru for dinner and drinks spending the night. The next day we'd hop on a plane and go to Phuket in Thailand for a few days before finally coming back to Singapore for the remaining 10 hours of their trip. It was done, all flights were booked, the itinerary complete. I'd surprisingly enough procrastinated little during this set up and was very much looking forward to see them. By this point, the 5 months from January through May was the longest single period of not being with my parents. When I'd lived in Amsterdam home trips had been frequent because they were short and cheap, but with Singapore it's the exact opposite, long and expensive.

I waited for them at Changi airport the morning they arrived, I had the day all planned out and I was looking forward to it, it was May 14th i think or there about. They'd come over because it was my birthday, turning 27 and being I think my first birthday away from home. I covered there trip on my post 'On Turning 27'.

So after three days of skulking around Singapore that evening after finishing work Cindy drove from Tuas to my place at Paya Lebar to pick them us up. She took us all the way back to the Tuas Checkpoint on the borders of South Malaysia towards her place in Gelang Patah. My sister of course fell asleep instantly in the car, she was probably warn out by the intense humidity of Singapore but it could also be the fact she'd been shopping at Orchard on the final day, the 5 file stretch of malls and department stores in Singapore. My mother and Father unusually quiet the back of Cindys car as we drove through the checkpoint putting rubber on Malaysian roads.

Gelang Patah, Johor Bahru, Malaysia

Cindy with to be fair a minute amount of assistance for myself, I was swanningaround more than anything else. We had asparagas wrapped with bacom she made this Prawn Dish we'd been having recently, we got the menu from her friend Rajesha's house - Marianara Prawns Tamil style, something like that. We had friend been hoon and rice plentiful, with beers. I showed off that night to my hearts content with the chopsticks, impressing the parents, their boy from Sunderland can eat like the Chinese they probably though, wrong or right I loved every second of it. Seems a bit sad now when I look back, I've matured a lot since then. Really I have.

Phuket, Thailand

The next morning we jumped into Cindy's car and she took us across to Changi airport so we catch our flight to Phuket. Cindy would join us one day later not being able to get the Friday off from work. A couple of hours later and we were in a taxi from the disaster of an airport in Phuket to our hotel which was near Karon Beach. I remember booking it on and thinking this place really cant be 15 GBP per night with breakfast included per room? Each rooming having a flat screen TV, en-suite bathroom with bath & shower and king size bed. I'd booked three rooms, one for the rents, one for my sister and one for me and Cindy. It was just short of a couple of hundred pounds for the three rooms for the 4 nights.

Temple Guard at Wat Suwan Khirikhet School - Phuket, Thailand.

The hotel was perfect, and walking distance from the beach with several shops, bars, restaurants and a small market near by. It had a rooftop pool with bar and pretty good buffet breakfasts. The view from the pool bar was pretty damn awesome.

I've got such fond memories of this holiday, being so far away from home, the feeling that I'd arranged all of this, I brought it all together, I'd paid for hotels and arranged flights and done everything in such a joyous manor. I was proud of myself for once and by god I love my family. I felt such emotions for Cindy during these few days, he tenderness was always there, no matter what mood she was in. She was such a wonderful girl.

Cindy and my Dad

We relaxed, we did a bit of sunbathing, we did some swimming, we did a lot of drinking, we did a lot of eating. It was a holiday full of emotion, it was a holiday full of abundance and of love.

Restaurant Seahag - Phuket, Thailand- Maybe the best Thai Food I've ever eaten.

Pa Tong Beach, Phuket

The night we went to Seahag, the food is amazing there if you're ever in Phuket you have to eat there. Try the Massaman Curry or the Monkfish Curry, both amazing. I remember too that I lost my patience with Cindy and I shamefully enough can't remember why. If you ever read this Cindy I'm so sorry for that moment in front of my parents, looking back it was a clear sign of my immaturity.

I apologized for the evening and we made up. The next day we did something I haven't done in eleven years years. We went shooting. Memories of Florida 2001 came flooding back. Me and my father that trip had gone out one day in the car on International Drive and we'd come across a shooting range. Having asking my parents for BB and Paintball guns every birthday for living memory and consistently being refused, knowing my parents never thinking it would be worth asking I gestured towards the shooting range and nodded to my father, in utter amazement he nodded accepting my gesture and we fired some low caliber handguns that day, that was the day I broke my firearm virginity.

Cindy getting her revolver 101

One of the fondest memories I have from this holiday is when Cindy and I decided to get a little, non-x rated 1 on 1 time. We took a taxi upto one of the most beautiful Sun Set spots I've ever been to, a placed called Promthep Cape.

Cindy embracing the Sunset at Promthep, Cape

Sunset at Promthep Cape

Despite having four full days in Phuket, time being it's useful bastard self went by ever so quickly and before I knew it we were checked out of the hotel and heading towards the airport bound for Singapore. How can I summarize my first visit to Phuket? A place stigmatized from the sex industry that saturates the city, beautiful beaches, beautiful food, beautiful Thai people and culture in gorgeous surroundings. Does the occasional tourist drunken Tourists and the lady boy degrade the City's image? I don't think so, for me it adds to the character of Phuket, it's noisy and sleazy but at the same time stunning and beautiful -a true gem of South East Asia.

An ornament in a locals yard

Cindy carving our presence but only until the next tide - Karon Beach, Phuket.

We landed in Singapore and Cindy went back home to change, I took my parents back to my apartment when they did all they took a last minute shower before we went for dinner. My parents had been pretty good with broadening their taste buds in Asia I decided to take them to one of my favourite fish restaurants in Singapore; fish & Co. We met up with Cindy again and had fish and chips on our final evening before collecting my families bags and accompanying them back to the airport. The trip to the airport was as if in slow motion, a massive attack soundtrack would have been an accompanying side dish to the journey. I think a lot all the time, too much I'm sure but I couldn't help thinking how lucky I was to have parents like these, to have a sister like I do. My family are truly beautiful people and so was Cindy. I was and still am a very lucky man.

Thank you to Phuket, Thank you for Cindy, Thank you for Family.