Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The standard by which all other vacations will be judged: Thailand Part 1...

And a good evening to you from across the globe after another GREAT DAY in the Lion City. Okay, so tonight Team Taylor begins the recap of what was one of THE BEST 4 day trips of our entire life (right up there with Norway, but I think we'll give the nod to the trip in question) - an island paradise known as Phuket in Jenny's DREAM destination - Thailand.
So first off, let me say that, after all we'd heard about this place, it came with VERY high expectations. This was, and has been, Jenny's NUMBER ONE vacation request for almost as long as I've known her, so we were definitely expecting great things. I am happy to report that, at NO POINT, did this place disappoint.
The flight on Wednesday night was smooth (JetStar proves to be excellent yet again), and we arrived about 9:30 PM (it's a 90 minute flight and you gain an hour), where we cleared customs easily and then rolled over to the hotel, the Katathani Beach Resort in Kata Noi Beach. Normally costing about $360 USD, we got this place for a third of that because we'd just entered "green season." Now granted, I had nightmares of Costa Rica dancing through my mind (when a tropical storm descended on the country - and REMAINED FOR 3 STRAIGHT DAYS), but luckily they proved completely unfounded.
The resort was AMAZING - one of the nicest rooms we've ever been in. There were 4 pools, a spa, a half mile of beach front property, and a market with local pricing (NOT kidding - water was $2 for SIX LITERS and brewskis were under $2!!!! SCORE, BABY!!!!). There were also 5 bars on property, and the RESORT pricing for beers was $2-4 - WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. And so, consequently, our first stop in Thailand was the Beach Club Bar, which featured cold Chang and seats RIGHT ON THE OCEAN. We had a few there, just taking in the fact that we were FINALLY in the place we'd talked about for SO long.
We awoke on Thursday morning about 9:30, rolling out of bed for the breakfast buffet (included in the price - I LOVE THIS COUNTRY). We made Americans everywhere proud, as we SLAUGHTERED this smorgasboard. We polished off some waffles, omelets, fruit (who needs that?), pork fried rice, and about 37 million strips of bacon. Honestly, the thought of the bacon & eggs platter with a side of bacon at the Original Pancake House makes me weak in the knees right now.
After that - it was over to the pool, where Team Taylor did something they rarely do - NOTHING. I gotta tell ya - I could DEFINITELY get used to this. We split our time between the pool and the ocean, which was so calm that we could wade to our shoulders and not even get our beers wet.
We left the beach around 5 PM, as we had our first "activity" of the trip planned - sunset at the After Beach Bar. This place, basically a TOTAL SHACK on stilts on the side of a cliff, is something out of MASH or Hawaii Five-0. Picture lady boys all OVER the place (3 of them were servers - Hitman, you would have been in Heaven), Bob Marley floating over the speakers, and tables right on the edge of the cliff (actually hanging out past the cliff - it was EPIC). They took our order, at which point Muffin officially decided what was her FAVORITE MEAL OF ALL TIME - Tom Yam Seafood Soup. How do I know that this is now her favorite meal? Simple - SHE ORDERED IT FOUR NIGHTS IN A ROW FOR DINNER. Hey man, to quote Nanny: "I want what I want when I want it." Hard to argue with that logic...oh, and that mango salad beside the soup - MAYBE THE SPICIEST THING ON THE PLANET. It took a couple of beers to put those flames out - YIKES.
The sunset was beautiful, but we had to shuffle off shortly thereafter, as we wanted to discover the "big city" of Phuket - Patong. In a word - SHITHOLE.
So seriously, I've seen some shady dives in my life, and I've been several places that I've felt would make Guantanamo Bay look like Club Med (nothing like T-Bone, but you get the picture). I can confirm that Patong is RIGHT UP THERE WITH THEM. In fact, the only place more uncomfortable that I've visited is Tijuana, which isn't surprising considering that I SAW A DEAD BODY THERE.
See this photo with the girls on the bar? Yeah, only about half of them are girls. The other have an ADAM'S APPLE. What's the big "draw" for Patong - THE PING PONG SHOW. If you know what this is, then you understand how disturbing that is. If you've never seen Priscilla Queen of the Desert (my parents), then it's probably best to let sleeping dogs lie and just confirm that we did NOT see a show. I feel dirty all over still, but I at least feel better knowing that Muffin Puffin discovered the shopping street in Patong and went CRAZY buying some dresses (which she looks UBER HOT in, by the way).
Happy to still be alive and not arrested, we went home and passed out, a first GREAT full day in the books.
On Friday, we spent another day chillin' by the various pools on the property. We did wander about 10 steps off property for a bit, where we managed to get 1 hour foot massages for $6.50 apiece! After that, exhausted from our exertions, we walked back to the pools where we struck PAY DIRT. You see, at the resort, they have this roving band of massage ladies who will just come up to your chair and work on you poolside. It is AWESOME, and it's only $10 for an hour! Consequently, the Bull tracked these gals down, at which point he and Perfect Pumpkin got a guuuuuuuud rubdown in the shade of a palm tree. And don't let that tiny little pregnant gal in the photo fool you - her hands were like CAST IRON. She could EASILY have gotten a job at Helga's House of Pain.
We had dinner that evening in Kata, the local city near us. We ate at "Mama's Seafood," where I had a fiery curry to match JT's Tom Yam soup. It was then down to the water front for a nightcap, where we had a large Chang and watched these CRAZY ASS TEN YEAR OLD FIRE TWIRLERS practicing their moves. Seriously - this was something out of a Luau, as these guys were GOOD and ready to set the world on fire. We also saw a lantern floating over the water in the distance (like our Lonely Planet book! T-bone - that was for you), and the atmosphere was just awesome. Again, antother AMAZING day in the books - already we were captured by Thailand's spell.
I've got 2 more days to recap, but those will have to keep for a bit, as it's gettin' on to quittin' time here. I will just say that (for my VFF, since she LOVES my exercise updates) I logged 27 KM on the bike tonight and felt the strongest on there I'd felt in a long time. I also managed 8+ yesterday outside WITHOUT THE BACKPACK or salt tablets, which was a real confidence booster. Only 25 days until the big race - bring it on!!!!
Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print. Chat tomorrow!
Sam and Jenny

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