Saturday, March 27, 2010

Oh My God!!!!!!!!

My three nights on Phi Phi passed all too quickly really, tho I was looking forward to getting back to Phuket.

The boat trip back was pretty much the same as the one coming over but I wasn’t terrified this time. I knew what to expect and was actually one of the confident ones! I was hopping on and off boats like I’d been doing it all my life.

At Phuket Pier I jumped into a waiting taxi, its like Addison Lee but at a fraction of the cost! In next to no time I was being dropped off at my next hotel - Poppa Palace in the heart of Patong Beach - as always my heart was in my mouth as we pulled up. This one didn’t look like the Ritz on the website, but even so the outside left a fair bit to be desired!

I checked in and while it may not have been 5 star luxury, the staff were sooo friendly. They informed that they were overbooked in the standard rooms so I was being given a free upgrade to a deluxe room. The deluxe apparently being a balcony! I’m starting to suspect this is just a stock line that Thai hotels feed us to make us feel special! I asked for and was given a hairdryer and 600 baht bought me unlimited wifi for four days, which seemed a pretty good deal by hotel standards.

My room was cool in both senses and after I’d unpacked I headed out to see what the place looked like four years on from my last visit here. Before I made it out onto the main drag I nipped into the beauty parlour across the road and got my toe and fingernails painted for £4. The manicurist was shocked that I wanted bright red. I get the feeling perhaps only the ladyboys go for that colour. I was teasing her that I was a ladyboy and it ended up the pair of us singing I Am What I Am!

After that I wandered up to the main beach road. Holy shit! What a difference! It was only a year after the tsunami when I was last here but I thought it was pretty developed back then, it was quaint compared to how it is now!!!!!!! Where there was one Starbucks, there are now five! I have to say that made me happy after drinking shit coffee for so long!

I found a great place for dinner and sat well back so that I could watch the comings and goings. Boy was there plenty to see! Endless western men of a certain age (and older!) pawing at the Thai girls who were enduring their boorish company in order to pay the bills. Last time I was here it was all going on but the girls seemed happy, or maybe they were just better actresses. This time I didn’t see one smiling girl. Their body language was one of sheer revulsion at these creeps who think that for a few quid they can own someone else’s soul.

Apart from that tho, I was kinda happy to be in such a lively area, especially cos once I got back to my hotel it was peaceful, even tho all this madness was going on all around me. I even slept well, so well in fact that I didn’t even stir as my left arm became a buffet for a collection of mosquitos!
I woke up on Monday morning with huge red lumps all over my arm, they were itching like buggery too! After breakfast I headed off to find a pharmacist who could help me. I ended up in Boots! The more things change, the more they stay the same eh? He sold me some ibuprofen and some antibiotic cream. He said I’d had a severe allergic reaction to the bites but it wasn’t life-threatening. Thank god for that then!

The chemist was in a huge shopping centre called JungCeylon and it seemed as good a place as any to have a coffee and a wee, and from there I wandered around all the little shops and stalls in the centre of Patong. I got a cute little silver bracelet and that was it really. I was happy just wandering around, strolling on the beach, checking out the other visitors, and soaking up the rays.

I decided to take trip to the boxing stadium to see some proper Thai Boxing, and got the guy next door to the hotel to book me a ticket. He was a really cool guy and he made no commission on the booking, charging me only the face value of the ticket. He also said he’d take me there and bring me back, saying it was too far to walk really. I figured that was where he’d take his cut, but hey, we’ve all gotta make a living.

At 8.30 I went next door expecting to get into his van, but there’d been a change of plan. He was taking me on his motorbike! I was too shocked to say no, and next thing I knew I was climbing on and clinging onto his back like a spider monkey! It was the most thrilling thing I’ve done in a very long time! I loved it!

Almost as exciting was the boxing itself. I loved the ritual of it all. The matches were short and sweet, thus keeping it all interesting. We were promised blood and guts, but there was only one match where blood was spilled, and that was the one where a Thai guy whacked the crap out of an English bloke who was having his first fight. What an introduction! The English fighter was called Chris and he seems to have spent most his time getting tattoos and learning the pre-match dancing, rather than learning how to fight one of these fuckers!

The Thai guy got one good smack in almost immediately and from then on Chris was on the run - literally! There’s a live band playing during each round - traditional Thai music not “Eye of the Tiger”, but there was this weird clarinet thing, and while Chris was being chased around the ring I could’ve sworn they launched into the Benny Hill chase music! It was certainly apt!

There were six or seven fights which made it excellent value for money. There were even two women going at it - one Australian and one Russian - both of whom where pretty ruthless! The Russian punched the Aussie in the tit! Ouch!

At just gone 11 it was all over, and there was my pal waiting for me just like he said. To be honest I was more excited about the bike ride home than some of the matches, and unfortunately it was over all too soon. As I climbed off outside the hotel I went to give him some petrol money and he said no! He almost seemed offended bless him!

God I love this island!



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