Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Tuesday April 10 - Phuket Town

Today we traveled on a local bus to Phuket Town. The ride was an experience in it of itself. The bus was old and rickety. Every time it engaged to clutch, it would make a long high pitch sound. We had to climb a hill to get to the other side of the island. It was like riding “The Little Engine That Could”. We crossed our fingers that it would crest the hill.

The bus had an open cabin with wooden benches along both sides and the center. We were packed tightly with only the breeze from the bus movement to cool us down. It was a long one hour ride.

Once we arrived in Phuket Old Town, we were met by a cab driver who offered us to take us around all afternoon for 200 BAHT. A steal? In exchange he dropped us off at a jewelry and souvenir store. After a lot of negotiations, I purchased a ring for my souvenir of Thailand.

Our driver was so funny! He took a picture with us to post on his Facebook page. He is an older gentleman with two grandchildren. The sweetest guy. He would laugh a lot at both himself and us as we try to communicate as best as we could.

While we waited for the ring to be resized, we decided to visit Monkey Hill. The highest hill in Phuket.

There top is covered by TV and radio antennas, so the city built a viewpoint part way up for tourist to enjoy the beautiful views of the city and Pier.

While we were walking around we came across a very mischievous monkey. He approached one of the vendors’ table and snatched a bag of peanuts, knocking down the tray of peanuts on the ground.

He just moved a few feet away and ate from the bag, right in front of the vendor booth.

We helped the lady pick up the peanuts and purchased a bag from her.

The monkey let us feed him. He grabbed the nuts directly from our hand. It’s fists were the size of a child, with long, thick finger nails.

For lunch we traveled to O OH Farms, an organic restaurant with a healthy twist to traditional dishes. My crab and avocado salad was excellent. Probably one of the best meals we have eaten here.

The jewelry driver delivered the resized ring to us directly, saving us a trip back.

Our driver dropped us off at the Phuket Buddhist Temple. Now that I have seen several, they all start to look the same: a large and tall open room with red carpet and gold motifs throughout the ceiling and walls with a large golden Buddha at one end.

From there we walked to the center of town, lined with restored Portuguese architecture building in a plethora of colors. The shops sold a lot of fabric by the yard and other sewing supplies. Sprinkled in between there a few souvenir stores and restaurants.

On our way back we rode another city bus, this one much newer, to Patong Beach. It was a party scene, with young people sunbathing and paying $50 for a less than 5 minute kite surfing ride across the bay. I couldn't believe how many people were willing to pay those exorbitant prices!

One street away from the beach is Bangla road. It was as if we were walking along the Las Vegas Strip. Both sides of the road were lined with open bars where scantly clad girls were pole dancing at each table.

The music was extremely loud, there were people standing on the road with signs offering all kind of inappropriate entertainment and booze. I couldn't walk fast enough out of there.

As we walked around Patong looking for souvenirs, a huge thunderstorm came out of nowhere. Instead of standing under a roof waiting for it to stop, we entered a small massage establishment and got some cheap foot massages.The lady that did mine did a great job.

We had a fun time conversing with the masseuses through Google Translate. They had never seen it, and found it amusing.

The way it works is that you speak your sentence in English. It plays it back for the other person in Thai. They reply in Thai and Google translates it back to English for us to hear. It was fairly accurate and reliable.

Once our massage was over, we walked back to an open market and to a local restaurant that came highly recommended online. The food was alright, but by that time we were exhausted and just wanted to head home.

We caught a Tuk Tuk back and went straight to bed.