***Final installment continued from last post.
July 23 – 6:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Got up this morning at 6 am to shower and get beach things gathered up. Ate peanut butter on bread to tide us over til breakfast on the boat. Waited downstairs in hotel lobby for mini-bus to pick us up at 8:05 am, but it didn’t show til ten minutes later. The mini-bus drove us and some others to the Royal Phuket Marina on the east side of the island for the boat trip we’d booked to see Phang-Nga Bay. **Cost 5600B ($172 CAD) for Jordan and I. Yet another scary drive across the island.
At the marina we were introduced to Geoff of Simba Sea Trips, a pretty cool Australian guy. All aboard. Once we were out to sea on this beautiful hot day, we settled down for some drinks and chatting. Jordan and I got to sit up front with the wind whipping through our hair. Made it difficult to talk but it was great for photo-taking. Once the speedboat reached Koh Panak, it slowed down so we could take pictures. Geoff explained it’s the largest island in the bay and I think he said it is made of limestone.
Moved on to Koh Hong, a lagoon area, where we saw a monkey on the tiny beach. When it saw us it clambered onto the rock and climbed away. Here we dropped anchor and Geoff said this is where we will swim — not off the beach but right off the boat. One of the younger girls was the first person in the water. Jordan was next; he jumped right in! I was apprehensive as I could see sticks and stuff floating on top of the green water, but he said it was quite nice so I braced myself and in I went. The water was very warm and extremely salty! So buoyant that I barely had to move my arms and legs to tread water.
After that little adventure and a breakfast of fresh fruit and home-made banana cake, we moved on to sea canoeing. The boat pulled up to what looks like a large floating building, and everyone paired off to get into a sea canoe with a Thai guide. We were paddled under caves where we had to duck to pass through, and inside were lots of trees and vegetation. It was neat seeing the hollow insides of the caves when they look solid from the outside.
I took lots of pictures (all are not posted here). When the guide paddled us back to the floating building to rejoin our group, we tipped him 15B as a thank you. Before we got back into the speedboat, we drank fruit juice and hung around for a few minutes to wait for any group stragglers to return. Finally it was time to move on.
Next stop: floating Muslim village. Technically on stilts. The village is called Koh Panyee (not sure if spelled correctly). Here we were seated in one of the restaurants and served a variety of foods for lunch: chicken fried rice, battered shrimps, chicken with cashews, curry chicken and vegetables, peppered shrimps, egg omelet, and more. The food was very tasty; especially enjoyed the chicken with cashews, a nice sweet dish. To drink we had water or Pepsi. After eating, Geoff gave us a tour of the village and the school that the kids attend. As we walked around we saw lots of cats and Geoff explained that dogs are not allowed in the Muslim village. After a really interesting tour, we were given fifteen minutes to browse the stalls in the market. I bought a pretty pink pearl magnetic bracelet that can also be worn as a necklace. **Cost 250B ($7.50 CAD).
Boarded the boat once more and off we go to the famous James Bond Island. Never seen the movie it was in. Truly beautiful island with a lovely view of the special rock. We made our way up the stone steps, took some photos, and then down the other steps toward the sandy beach. At bottom of steps removed sandals to wade through water up to my calves to get to the actual beach. A market set up on the sand. Lots of people. More pictures. Geoff took some of Jordan and I for me.
Back into the boat and on we go! This time we found ourselves heading toward a real beach on the island of Koh Naga. Other people were there, too. Anchored the boat. While we clambered off and waded to shore to set up our beach mats and then swim in the lovely water, Geoff and the boat crew prepared more fruit for us and set up food for us. I tried dragonfruit for the first time, which is red on the outside, and inside is white with black seeds; tastes like kiwi but not as sweet, I think. There were also lots of tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches, made by Jenny. I ate so many of these, they were very good!
After everyone had eaten, swam to their heart’s content, and paid up for the trip, we boarded the ship home. What an amazing trip! Definitely the highlight of our vacation. I truly enjoyed every minute of this day’s adventure. Once back at the marina, quite exhausted from the long day in the sun, we piled into the mini-bus for scary trip back to the west side of Phuket. During the ride, we saw a dog perched on the back of a scooter, riding along behind its master, which was both funny and cute.
9:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Back at hotel around 6:30 pm (I think), showered off seawater and sweat. Watched some television and then out for dinner at the German/Thai place we’d eaten at before. Me: sweet n’ sour chicken with steamed rice, Sprite; Jordan: bacon, fried eggs, toast, juice. **Cost 265B ($8.30 CAD) plus tip. The food was good but my meal took much too long to be served. Stopped at 7/11 on the way back for ice cream, snacks, big bottle of Sprite, and chocolate. **Cost 155B ($4.80 CAD). Picked up two more postcards at some shop for 4B each ($0.13 CAD).
July 24 – 10:10 am – Karon, Phuket
Woke up to sound of hammering; don’t know where it’s coming from but damn it’s annoying when we are trying to sleep. Absolutely pouring buckets outside. Can see big waves on the beach from balcony. Going to make a tea and watch TV for awhile.
2:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Went to lunch at “Karon Cafe”, but third time not a charm. Didn’t receive very good service today. Me: Italian chicken parmigiana sandwich, water; Jordan: American breakfast. **Cost 285 ($9 CAD) and no tip. Jordan’s breakfast came with both coffee and juice and even though he pointed this out the waitress asked him what he wanted to drink. She got a little huffy when he repeated it already came with beverages. My meal was great, like usual. After we finished, realized Jordan didn’t get the yoghurt from the breakfast, so we asked for it since we paid for the full meal. It turned out to be plain unsweetened yoghurt which Jordan found disgusting, so he didn’t eat it after all that. Did some shopping afterward and bought two Billabong tube dresses for gifts. **Cost 450B ($13.50) for both. Still raining lightly; gonna stay in and watch a movie but I’ll probably fall asleep.
9:30 pm – Karon, Phuket
Went for a walk to market by the beach, hoping to spend more money. Only bought two wrap scarves for around your waist (over jeans or a bathing suit). **Cost 350B ($10.50) for both. Very pretty, might have overpaid a bit. I found a pair of dark purple Billabong pyjama shorts but the guy wouldn’t go low enough. Maybe another time. Had dinner at “Angus O’Tooles”. I didn’t really want to eat there because all I like on the menu is the pizza, but Jordan really wanted to. Me: spring rolls, hot brownie with vanilla ice cream; Jordan: cottage pie with vegetables. **Cost 500B ($15 CAD) plus tip. Back at hotel, found a baby salamander on bed frame which freaked Jordan out. Managed to shoo it out of the room. Now watching “The Pursuit of Happiness” on TV.
July 25 – 10:15 am – Karon, Phuket
Woke up at 9 o’ clock, feeling hungry. Not raining at the moment but sky is grey. Jordan is finally shaving. It’s my last day here; leaving tomorrow at 4:15 am to go to the airport.
12:10 pm – Karon, Phuket
Headed out for breakfast. Thought we would try “The Little Mermaid” again. Both of us had pancakes, fried eggs, bacon, and the waitress brought us syrup, and a drink each. **Cost 330B ($10 CAD) plus tip.
10:20 pm – Karon, Phuket
I wanted to go to the beach market one last time. Ended up buying the purple Billabong shorts I eyed up the other day, plus a brown Billabong tube top. **Cost 180B for shorts ($5.50) and 200B ($6) for top. Left the market and continued walking down beach road; nice breeze near the water. Stopped at convenience store for a can of beer for Jordan and iced tea for me. Continued on our way past Hilton Arcadia, and into Kata where we stopped at a small supermarket. Picked up two croissants, two chocolate Ovaltine drink boxes, and a shampoo and conditioner. **Cost 289B ($8.75 CAD). Very cheap, especially for damage control Dove shampoo and extra moisturizing Pantene conditioner. Starting to feel warm from walking. Sat on bench to have our snack.
In Kata at a shop, found black flip-flops identical to the ones I got in Kamala for 59B, except the girl wanted 300B for them. I got her down to 200B and I said, “No way, why would I pay that for them when I bought pink ones for 59 Baht?” We left and moved on to the next shop in the alleyway, and the girl came back to us and told us to go to her other shop of shoes. We did, and the ladies there agreed on a decent price for two pairs of the comfy black flip-flops. **Cost 120B ($3.50) for two pairs. Found the full Star Wars saga at a DVD place. **Cost 360B ($10.50 CAD).
Took a long walk through Kata, visiting parts we hadn’t seen during our first visit. Found a 7/11 for some Sprites and talked to a French guy outside the store about motorbikes and import taxes. On our way back into main shopping area of Kata, stopped at Starbucks because I really had to pee. Bought a pomegranate-peach frappuccino and Jordan had a danish. **Cost 170B ($5 CAD). Of course, no bathroom! Back in the outskirts of Karon, after a nice excursion, had dinner (and found a bathroom!) at “Baan Sailom”. Me: sweet n’ sour chicken, steamed rice, a beverage; Jordan: ham and cheese sandwich, French fries, a beverage. **Cost 240B ($7.50 CAD) plus tip. My last yummy sweet n’ sour dish in Thailand! Full from food, walked back to hotel, stopping along the way to take photos together. I can’t believe our time is up and I have to go back to Canada while he goes back to work.
Returned to the hotel through the short-cut market. Talked to a couple of the girls in their shops. Haggled for quite awhile with a young girl for two Billabong tie-front dresses in dark brown and light blue. **Cost 680B ($21 CAD) for both. I think I will give one to Crystal. Hit up the 7/11 for gum, cookies, and Milo drink box. **Cost 70B ($2 CAD). Gave the rest of money to Jordan for his final day. Wake up call will be at 2:30 am so that I can get ready; taxi at 4:15 am. Flight out of Phuket International Airport is 7:35 am. Must I leave?
***End of journal.
Obviously I made it home safely. The flights felt like forever; I just wanted to get home. At the Toronto airport, my dad was waiting for me. It felt good to be back in Canada, but I sure did miss Jordan. I still do, for that matter. Another few months and he will be coming home!