Thanks again everyone for your positive comments. Not many more to go!
Saturday 28th February - Phuket
Goodbye Phi Phi - Hello Phuket
We stayed around the pool at the hotel until it was time to head for the 2pm ferry to Phuket. I fancied banana on crusty bread for an afternoon snack and there's a bakery near the hotel. We called into the supermarket for the bananas and couldn't find any. So we went to another and same thing. We thought it was strange as there's usually big bunches of them. Then we noticed outside there were rows and rows of them. Talk about not seeing the wood for the trees. I ate it on the ferry and really enjoyed it. The ferry (300bht £6 each) took 2 hrs and then there was an additional 150 bht each for the bus. That was hysterical. The driver didn't know where anywhere was and asked the others on the bus for their confirmation details. Then he rings a number and gives them the name and phone number of the hotel and they get the directions for him and ring him back. Unfortunately we didn't have a phone number or confirmation except email and there was no address or phone number there and no Internet access and it seems no one had ever heard of Southern Fried Rice! Fortunately the driver got out to ask directions to one of the hotels so Sam jumped out and nipped over the road to an information place as he thought we weren't too far away. They gave him rough directions so off we went. Another couple had got out saying it's ok we'll walk and find our own way! Luckily Sam recognised the area, although I don't know how as it's changed considerably since we were here over 4 years ago. The driver was beside himself with pleasure when we found the hotel. He was almost jumping up and down, laughing with big smiles and pointing! Don't know how the remaining couple went on. Maybe they're still driving round!
We had forgotten that to get to the big room we had booked, you have to climb 3 flights of narrow, steep stairs and there's no lift. No mean task with 2 cases 25 kilos each! It was quite a surprise too that instead of a view from the balcony, we were almost on the balcony of guests at the blue pearl hotel which had been built since our last visit. It's changed a lot here with lots more bars and restaurants but still lady boys dancing on the bar in the evening just nearby.
We had a cocktail in a bar near the hotel then our meal in Diamond Cottage which was very nice then headed for Dino Golf. I remember going there last time after Mike and Gill telling us about it. It's like crazy golf in a Flintstones setting. We decided to play tomorrow instead and were heading back when we came across a place with music and dancing. We haven't had a boogie since we left and one of the singers resembled Tina Turner so we went in. They'd done a few songs then asked for requests so I said Tina Turner and she did a couple of numbers so we had to dance - well it would've been rude not to.
Kata beach tomorrow
Sunday 1st March - Happy birthday Gill
Well we're not very successful getting to speak on Skype and today was no exception. We tried ringing on viber, then after finding the perfect spot so we weren't like black shadows on the tablet we tried Skype but unfortunately no reply. Hope they were out having a lovely birthday lunch or a wander up the mount.
We put our laundry in and set off for the beach. Luckily we get beach towels from the hotel and it's only a 5 minute walk (past a rather smelly river). We got an umbrella and 2 chairs 300bht. Some people just sit baking in the sun. I don't know how they do it. IT. IS. ROASTING! I can't even walk on the sand without my flipflops. We went in for a swim and along with many others in the water, we spent quite some time watching while a group of people tried launching a boat. It's quite steep going into the sea and the trailer had become wedged. They must have been at it over an hour trying to launch. People going over to help but all to no avail. It stayed where it was until the tide came in later in the afternoon, and floated it up. The beach is lovely here, with nice sand, no stones or pebbles to negotiate on the way into the water, and several little stalls/bars in the shade at the back. Sam got some nice spring rolls for lunch from one of the bars and I had corn on the cob washed down with Chang (Sam) and coconut for me.
We stayed around at the beach until almost 6pm and it was still hot. Had our meal in an Indian restaurant for a change this evening. I ordered a Mai tai cocktail and when it came it looked like a small glass of natural orange and tasted about the same so I sent it back and had a vodka and tonic. The meal was good then we went to Dino Golf. The baby elephant was there tonight and you could feed him with banana for 20bht. He was really cute and seemed to have a very smiley face. Some of the kids where really funny when feeding him as his trunk wriggles around even rummaging in your plastic bag with the banana pieces in. Then you get to pose with him, leaning on his head. I'd already watched him when people were doing this and he sneaks his trunk over to give you a kiss!! Bit like a sink plunger! I was aware of this so took precautions to avoid it. Our camera wasn't working properly so I had to have 2 sessions. I really liked him.
So we went in to play Dino Golf (240 bht each) and it's really well designed with rumbling volcanoes and dinosaurs and lots of greenery and waterfalls. It was very warm in there though. I say 'in there' but it's actually open air, it's just so warm. Sam beat me by 2 strokes. Think I'll have to check where he's going on a Saturday!!
Monday 2nd February - Happy Birthday Mike. Hope you had a brilliant day. Looking forward to seeing what your surprise birthday presents are. Hope to catch you on Skype later X
We went to the post office, booked for Fantasea for this evening then headed for the beach. Thought we'd do Fantasea tonight as we'll head back to the hotel early then we might have a chance of catching Mike before he goes to bed. We're being picked up 5.30. If we had Sams phone it would be easier as I've no Internet unless there's wifi. My phone has almost given up the ghost too as I dropped it and it has a huge crack in and keeps getting really hot and the camera isn't working too well but , like Sams, the contract is nearly up so time for a change. Ah found out later in the day, geotag was on my photos so it was taking a long time to load them so fingers crossed, now I've taken it off, it should be ok. Got a mind of it's own this phone.
We're sitting on the beach like 2 little fairies under a mushroom trying to stay in the shade. But there's a really nice breeze and after a swim it'll be time for lunch.
We left the beach 3.45 in time to walk back, Skype Mike and get ready. Yesssss a successful viber. Great to talk to you Mike xx
Bus was a bit late which wouldn't have bothered us but Terry from the hotel said he'd seen the bus come and go a few minutes before we came down. In the end I had to ask him to phone which I didn't want to do as we hadn't booked with him because he was more expensive. We paid £40 (1950 bht) each including pick up and drop off, which was the best price around. He was just trying to phone when the bus came. Panic over.
Fantasea show was fabulous even though we've seen it before, years ago, it was still spectacular. We arrived there at 6.30 after a 45 minute drive. And I think it was the perfect time to arrive. Not yet dark but twilight so the palace of the elephants which was all lit up looked magical and the photos looked good too. In the pond there were Giant Mekong Catfish, known as the gentle giant. They are the largest fresh water fish in the world reaching a length of up to 2.5 metres and up to 200 kilos in weight in 6 years. In danger of extinction due to over fishing as well as decreasing water quality caused by development and up river damming. The species is now protected by law.
I would not have liked to meet one of those in the river. They looked a bit like a black grass carp I used to have which Rita hated, only these were massive. They certainly wouldn't have fitted in my pond, and I don't think I would've liked them too.
You could ride an elephant around the park for £20. I was going to have a go but really I wanted to sit right on the elephant like we did before but you sat on a seat on its back so I didn't do it. We did have some lovely photos taken with one though. He was beautiful. Dressed in all his finery. His trunk was mottled pink and he curled it up specially for the photos.
We had time for a cocktail (isn't there always time for a cocktail) and I ordered the Purple Orchid and Sam, the Mai Tai both from the signature cocktail menu so we were hoping they'd be good. They did not disappoint!!! They were delicious not just in taste but on the eye too. Sams arrived in a smoking bamboo tube (dry ice under the glass - very effective) and mine was a fantastic purple with the most beautiful stem of orchids Almost too beautiful to drink. Almost I said! Mmmm gorgeous.
We were directed to the dining room which is gigantic. The meal was a buffet menu with lots of choice and was very good. I ordered a glass of red wine which was tiny and Sam a small Chang and funny enough they were almost as much as the two beautiful cocktails!
After our meal we didn't have time for another cocktail which in a way was a good thing. Maybe it wouldn't have been quite so magical second time around. So we headed for the palace of elephants which is the theatre. You have to go through a security check before going in to check if you have mobile phone or camera as you're not allowed to take photos. Then you got a disc with your number on for collection at the end of the show. There must have been over 2000 people in there and there was still an upstairs layer of seats unoccupied.
The stage sets were out of this world and enormous. There wereThai dancers , a flock of white doves flying, chickens running across the stage, oxen and sheep and at one time there were 16 elephants on stage. I just love elephants. They ranged in size from very small to very big and sometimes they walked in line holding onto each others tails like something out of a Disney movie. Other times they stood in a line leaning on each others backs. They even did tricks like you would've seen years ago at Billy Smarts circus, sitting on a stool etc. I thought they looked really cute doing this but felt a bit sad that this magnificent beast was in effect doing tricks but, guilty pleasure, I loved the whole thing. They had acrobats dressed in luminous suits dangling from invisible wires from the ceiling in the dark.fireworks, exploding cannons, magic acts where a tiger appeared in a glass box, a girl was sawn in half with a huge circular saw, like a Penn and Teller act, sword fighting and at one time there was a rain curtain right across the stage with a girl being captured and put in a pot to be cooked before being rescued by her lover on an elephant!
The show finished at 10.15 so it was on for about 75 mins. We had to be back at our bus for 10.30 and had to collect the camera and phone along with the thousands of others. But no worries. It was very well organized with colour coded queues so we got through on time and headed back
A brilliant evening and we'll worth £40 each.
Tuesday 3rd March - Last beach day :(
We headed off a bit earlier today so we could walk the length of Kata beach (the one nearest us).We thought it maybe a bit cooler then but the sun was still raging hot. We walked along almost to the end but it was very busy down there so found a speck under a tree for a while then we strolled back. Got some chairs at our usual spot, went in for a swim, read, lunch, swim read, beer then back to get ready to go out for more food and maybe even a drink!!
We had our meal tonight in Two Chefs at the South end of Kata beach and my last cocktail in Phuket :(,. Funny how you just get that hankering for some particular food isn't it. When we went for lunch today I fancied spag boll. It's not even something I usually choose? So when we saw it in Two Chefs it was a sign. Not only that but they had one of Sams favourites, carbonara. They were both delicious. In fact, Sam said it was his best ever, except for the quarter in Liverpool. We went in search of some music but couldn't find any so had a lovely stroll
back along the beach in the moonlight.