Thailand!!! Beautiful beautiful Thailand!!!!!
I decided Thailand was the most beautiful, stunning amazing place in all the world (of course this impression probably not hurt by the comparaison from where we had been with the warmth, ability to swim and parade around in a bikini without being gawped at, sun, sand, sea and CHEAP food, drink. Clean clean beaches....)
We'd settled on Phuket as our location because we wanted to dive and, as a treat, had booked ourselves into a Ramada Resort (usually megga expensive - still expensive for Thailand - but offering really cheap deals as the place hadn't quite been finished!!!!) Clearly the rooms were, as were both the pools but there was still some construction work going on so we scored a five star resort for 12 US dollars a night! And, we were going to be diving all day weren't we, so what was the issue with construction noise during the day, right?
Wrong, it turns out. Simon got sick almost as we touched down in Phuket and spent most of the time in the hotel room (at least it was a nice one! a VERY nice one!) while I hit the beach. As we'd been to Drs for him in India and again in Singapore when he was starting to go downhill and we'd been told there was no evidence of bacteria we delayed getting antibiotics but in the end I paid a visit to the pharmacist. As we began to explain the symptoms he started chiming in with us and immediately reached for a concoction of drugs. Had a feeling he'd heard all this before! "And if he's not better, when should we see a Dr?" I asked. "He will feel better". Righteo.
Off we went. Sure enough S was better in no time and we set off to explore diving options. Given the cost of getting a PADI licence in Ko Lanta we opted to stay in Phuket, downgrade our accommodation! and do our Open Water cert course there.
Three utterly magic days - I LOVE diving. Why is it that I insist on falling head over heels for sports that are unbelievably expensive. All that is left now is golf and sailing. And i already know i like sailing...... The pics should give some idea. It is such an incredible sensation! It was us and a young English couple and our (also UK - due to be married next year himself to a Thai woman he met on Ko Phi Phi when they both worked there) Dive instructor Alex. Really fun days - I didn't even feel seasick although i downed dramamine and sturgeron like a trouper, just in case!
We then were going to push on either to Ko Lanta further south or Kao Sok National Park. Ko Lanta's write up from Rob and Luciana sent us there and we figured we'd do the park later. Plus S was pretty tired on it - diving is tiring and more so if you've been quite ill.
On the boat over he got quieter and quieter. We fetched up at the Palm Beach Bungalows, also on recommendation - one which I second! and checked in. S was sick again and a million times worse. Sigh.....
More days on the beach by myself and poor S sleeping in the bungalow. I couldn't believe it! I chatted with the woman in the Palm Beach diver shop (hopefully, I know, we'd planned on doing more diving?!) who was very helpful and suggested giving it a day, then going to the local dr and seeing where we were at.
S was worse, not better and the Dr (after giving us several options: try more, stronger oral antibiotic tablets; drip in her clinic; local hospital; phuket hospital. I snapped at that point and told her she was the medical professional, she knew the facilities and it was her call not ours - or rather mine at that stage as S was pretty much out to lunch).
So.... twas off to Bangkok Phuket hospital where we spent three delightful evenings (!). Unbelievable! At least I got to bunk down on the couch, going back to a guesthouse with S in hospital would have been highly depressing. Thank god for travel insurance, I tell you. It was 100 quid a night before any medical treatment, nursing, medication etc.!
S was finally discharged on the 12th, and we decided not to venture too far from Phuket, just in case. Plus I'd promised his mum (!) I wouldn't let him run around Thailand backpacking in that condition! We'd booked a flight to Hanoi from Bangkok with air asia before we left London and it was due to be on the 18th but after moving to Hat Kamala for one night it became apparent that this was not going to be a good idea and we decided to forfeit the ticket and book new ones to Hanoi the next day. Yay for internet! Yay for parents with a home that we could go to and just splodge in!
The day of the journey to Hanoi, while strictly still Thailand, deserves a journal entry all of its own....