Well actually, the process was a BIT more involved...
Ever since my appendix debacle of '06 (see last June's post), we've both been aching and full-on yearning for:
1) beach action
2) monkeys and
3) absolutely no surgery
So we plotted and planned, and figured we should just go on April 21, and then return with little over three weeks left of teaching. That turned out to be an excellent plan, matched only by the genius of Columbus, Napoleon and the producers of 1996's "Batman and Robin".
In short, is was splendiferawesomeness complete.
We left bright and early from Junggye-dong (like 5am early, which is much too early for any self-respecting Lipsett) and chugged our way out to the airport and on our way to Phuket. And when we got there it was.... raining.
But thankfully that didn't last long and we awoke in a matter of hours to this:
"Is that the view from your hotel room, oh travellers?" Hot monkey, it is. And that was only the beginning of much fantabulousness. Here, below are some more shots of le hotel, as recommended by the haute-qualitay Recommenders, Lydia and Nathan. We give you,
Below, our room... The grounds. And yes, those are coconut trees. And no, we couldn't climb them.
And the breakfasts were amazing!!! There were pastries, fruits, fruit juices, bacon (ooooooooooooooh bacon how we missed you!), french toast and even omlettes made fresh by an omlette man. An omlette man!! Spectacular.
Then we made our way down to the beach to satisfy #1 on our list of things to do, and behold... we did #2 as well: Cape Panwa has its own MONKEY!!! And of course, our little guy couldn't resist to be in the picture as well.
And then, the beach. Well, not "The Beach" (that's later), but our beach:
We took a walky later on down a 'jetty' and noticed how absolutely white we were. I was almost reflective myself.
But we were sporting our Tilley Hats (thanks Sebas!) and that made up for a lack of a tan.
So, we then decided to soak up the sun and get a little bit crispy.
And here are some more shots of what we saw each day.
The next day, we headed on into Phuket Town, a town/city on the South East of Phuket Island. It was dirty, interesting, busy and neato all wrapped up into one crazy package. We spent most of the day refusing (at first politely, then after realizing for the hundredth time it doesn't work, blatantly) Tuk-tuk drivers, taxi drivers, tour operators and massages. It was a bit much after the second time it happened and dude, it never stopped. But we enjoyed walking around and buying mango (AMAZING) and doing some shopping. Some of the archeteture was really interesting; it was a Sino-Portuguese style, and dating a hundred years back? I dunno; Hil was really into the details and knew what she was doing, whilst I just meandered and repeated "NO TUK TUK!!... thank you" countless times.
There were also some nifty temply thingies, called Wat's (like Ankor Wat in Cambodia) and were Buddhist in religion, yet Thai (or Sino?) in style. Very neato.
After walking around for many hours (and forgetting to pay at a restaurant -we just walked out... accidentally of course... I swear... but SO cool that we could actually do that!), we finally broke down and hired a Tuk Tuk from a really nice (and pushy) toothless Thai man. He reminded me of a post-dentured Walter Mathau with questionable English skills. So he took us around and urged us to go with him to this 'great shopping place'. The conversation kinda went like this:
"Great place. Trinkets, shops... Gut shopping!"
"Are you taking us to a touristy gem shop?"
"NO. No gem shop. Other shops. Trinkets!!"
Yeah, it was a gem shop... that also sold trinkets. Clever man... clever toothless man. But he eventually also brought us up to a huge gold-coloured Buddha ("The perfect centerpiece for any occasion").
Eventually he brought us back where we wanted, charged us extra, and left smiling. It was great.
There was another shrine across the way on a smaller island and it was GOLD!!!-ish.
When we finally made our way down out of the hills (after many a wrong-turn), we came across the South West of Phuket, which has about 4 or 5 big beaches one after the other. So we parked our bikes of fury, grabbed some lunch and hit the sand for more burning/tanning.
So we head on over to the bar, and lo and behold, there was a monkey!!! I think it was a gibbon, but I'm only assuming that because he looks a little like our little guy, minus the racing cap and cape. Also you can't fling him through the air of your balcony (like OUR monkey can), but I guess he's close enough that it doesn't matter too much.
He started plucking at this guy's eyebrows, hair and armpits (dude) for about 5 minutes before swinging over to the other side of the bar. It was amazing. I mean, we all hear how monkies are so adept at swinging, but it's actually true!! They are!!! Back on the bikes of glory...
As we were flyin' down the highway, we saw a huge collection of scooters parked on the side of the road. So we pulled over and got to check out another market!!!
The following day, we awoke to find the resident monkey out on the grounds. I stalked him for a bit and that was rad.
We decided to do something a bit more sedated that day: beach and scrabble. So out came the books, the sunscreen, the scrabble and the monkey, and we just did.... nothing. It was beautiful.
We went back to the monkey bar, but dude was on a coffee break or something. But we stayed cuz we saw this:
And so ended our last full day in Phuket. The next day we said goodbye to our bueatiful room...
...and our beautiful beach...
...and we hopped on a ferry to Ko Phi Phi.
And that, my dudes, will be the next post below.