Day 20. Phuket – 3 Weeks Away from home

So, I know its boring now, there are no exciting travels on the Mekong or through the mountains of Laos, just an old bloke and his nephew chilling in a resort on the beach in Thailand. But the blog is written for me and not you, I know I should apologise for my selfish behaviour but I don’t think I will.

Patong Beach Surf Club today

Ok breakfast as usual, the same place, about the same time. I can’t see Art Sangsri as he’s deep in concentration on a family portrait in the Banthai foyer so we decide to head out to Beach Road and see if Oz is around to run us out to the tailors at Kamala Beach. The tailors, which is connected to the old Hilfiger Fashion at the front of the Banthai closed during Covid, Mr Siam’s nephew runs Tommy Fashion at Kamala Beach so we reckon the quality should be as good as what it was at Hilfiger.

Oz is out the front, a little surprised to see us I think but we wander over and chat, he has no jobs on so will take us out and bring us back. He had no work yesterday, things are tough for these guys trying to survive.

A little of Oz’s story, I hope he doesn’t mind me telling you. His work stopped overnight when covid hit and Phuket shut down over night. Nothing to do, no money coming in for his family so action was needed. He is married, has two adult sons with university educations, and he and his wife care for or are the guardians for their seven year old neice (daughter of his wife’s younger sister who has a new partner and the daughter wasn’t part of the deal). Oz sold the family home, his wife moved to Bangkok with the girl and they are living with the two sons in Bangkok while Oz is trying to make money with his taxi in Phuket. I think they like having a neice/little girl in the house, and now she is getting a good education in Bangkok. The plan is that hs wife will move back to Phuket when educational obligations are complete and business is better. Oz lives in a small rented place on Phuket Town side of the Kathu hill not far from Patong, and he still toots the horn when you drive past the Buddha for good luck, but only in daytime, at night tooting the horn wakes Buddha up and its bad luck – must remember that. If you are in Phuket and need a driver call Oz or find him on Facebook.

What I had at Sweet last night, my eyes are watering just looking at the photo

The drive to Kamala Beach is past the Diamond Cliff Resort where some of our fellow Christmas travellers will be staying. Oz says its a very nice resort that was set up for the Japanese, it does look very nice but its a fair walk into the main part of Patong so a tuk tuk or shuttle bus will be the go to get where the action and “maliwanna” is. Oz says there are apartments for sale now, 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom, furnished, in beautiful developments with views for $100k- $200k AUD.

The coastal drive is very pleasant, resort after resort in beautiful bushland /jungle setting with most having a view over the sea. Kamala Beach is quite nice but very quiet, we head down near the beach where DD, nephew of Mr Siam and manager/owner of Tommy Fashion greets us like we are long lost family, he’s an enthusiast fella but I’m not that stupid, business is dead and he needs every customer he can get so he’s not going to chase us away. We get offered wine, beer, whisky, water, you name it. Neither of us want suits, we want a few shirts and some pants but the big upsell is applied, after some negotiation a compromise is reached and we leave a deposit, with a Friday fitting scheduled. We walk the small shopping street, down to Kamala Beach which is lovely, then find Oz and drive back to Patong.

A swim in the beautiful pool near the rooms where Genelle and I and Mark and Simone will be staying at Christmas, right on the pool in a quiet area. The water is so bloody refreshing we stay there for ages, the swim up bar is run by Timmy and he does the big sell on Happy Hour drinks, but we don’t get back for them.

Our pool from our balcony, there are other pools

The hotel has its own bakery, and cafe (small) and they make these divine cookies, you’d crawl over broken glass to get one, how do we know this ? They give everyone a cookie when you check in, good salesmanship! A late lunch of an iced coffee and TMM has 2 cookies and I have a muffin.

TMM heads off for a massage, he’s addicted to massages and Chicken fried rice I think, have to keep him away from the multitude of cannabis outlets as he might get to “maliwanna” as Oz calls it.

I head to drop some laundry off down the street, 50 baht ($2) per kg and I have a reasonable bag which costs me 125 baht with pick at 2pm tomorrow – so cheap but not as cheap as Laos which is mega cheap.

I then opt for a new experience – a shave at the barbers (where Hilfiger Fashion used to be) with a cutthroat razor, a No 1 haircut (no challenge to the worst barber), a face massage for 600 baht ($24). I have’t shaved for a few days because the razor was in the missing bag. Like the man From Ironbark (Google that poem fellow Intrepid Travellers) I’m a little hesitant. First the No1 haircut is done and its No 0 up the back, theres not much hair there so no damage, then the razor comes out. I try not to sweat and keep my eyes closed occassionally opening one, for move for fear of losing a lip or half my nose if I accidently twitch, sneeze, BUT i reckon he’s done this a few times before as its the closest shave I’ve ever had. He then gives a quick electric buzz shave for any errant follicles he’s missed, then points the hair dryer at my chin and a fine mist of aftershave hits exacty the right part of my face. Its certainly an experience, might even get another one before I get on the plane home. Mark (The Mechanic) did this in London a few years ago after getting lost in Kensington – maybe he was as nervous as I was, I reckon he paid four times what I paid though. He can get one at Christmas time.

Pauolo – freshly shaved, shampooed and shorn this arvo

Dinner tonight will be at Sweat – no surprise – but I won’t be having the spicy dish again. No Giger and herps with sea bass for me tonight.

A sunset walk along Patong beach and the place seems busier than when we arrived. There are lots of Indians, lots of people from the middle east, a few caucasion looking people with eastern European languages and some Pom’s and Aussies. The paragliding and jet ski’s are busy, fat and skinny people taking off the beach with jockey size Thai’s guys hanging onto only the ropes steering the parachute. People x 2 or 3 on old popping farting motorbikes with rusting sidecars roaring up and down beach the selling god knows what. Only in Thailand!!!!!

Patong Beach late this afternoon – reasonably busy

Sweet and some beers beckons, its time for dinner. Tonight Wal the owner comes over and says hello, he recognises me but not TMM. TMM doesn’t say anything, but I know it pisses him off. Wal tells us the story, he reopened two weeks ago, he shut down for eitht months and while shut down he and some expats organise support packages for locals and Burmese refugees, some government support assisted. But the police watching over the program were taking 2 bags of rice each home a day and the program went broke. Over the program they had delievered 40,000 packages to poor people and refugees. He’s upbeat and positive, great to see him and talk to him. While we are there he embarrasses another Aussie patron who saved a person with his CPR skills at Molly Malones Irish Pub a few doors away, we meet them and he’s from Melbourne.

Tomorrow we are going to Maybelle’s Coffee Garden at Kata Beach, Oz is picking us up at 11. Hopefully Ritchie and Maybelle will be there when we get there.

Ciao from Patong Beach, Thailand – Pauolo

Patong Beach and a “weed ” outlet near our hotel


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