Thursday, May 3, 2012

Thaibodia Day 11 – Flight to Phuket and Kata Beach

We got up and went to breakfast around 7:00am. We were ready pretty early. We ended up leaving the hotel around 9am. We wanted to stop at the bank before we left the airport to see if we could take some money out. The taxi driver we got was a little crazy. At first our bags didn’t quite fit. For some reason all the taxis have these huge tanks in their trunks. I don’t know why. Maybe they run on natural gas or something? But we could only fit two of our bags in the trunk. The stroller and our two carry-on bags went in the passenger seat.

This guy was super punchy on the brake and the accelerator. We got to the bank pretty quickly, even with a stop to ask for directions. At the bank Terryn and Sean jumped out while Jayce and I stayed in the car. The taxi driver couldn’t wait in front of the bank so he drove around to look for a place to park. I can’t tell what the exchange was between the parking attendant and the driver because they were speaking Thai, but I got the impression that he couldn’t park in the parking garage. I couldn’t tell if he was just playing dumb so he could drive around the complex until Sean was done, but eventually he had to exit. We drove around the block and by the time we came back around, Sean was done. I was glad to hear that Sean was able to pull out some money because we weren’t sure if we’d be able to. We had enough money to make it through our vacation, but it would be tight. No more buying souvenirs or gifts. And if something happened and had an unexpected expense, we might not have it. This way we could relax about it. Yeah.

So the driver took us to the train station and we got out. We were a little confused at where we were exactly, but we finally managed to make it to the elevator to the concourse area. That took some doing too. Terryn was running ahead of us, I had the stroller and a carry-on bag and Sean was struggling with the two checked bags and one carry-on. IT didn’t help that the spot where we got dropped off had super uneven pavement and the wheels kept catching.

Once on the train, we relaxed a bit… at least until Terryn kept wanting to push the “open” and “close” buttons on the train’s bathroom. We made it to the airport in plenty of time… or so I thought. The airport is huge and it takes a bit of time to get to where you need to go. They had these cool moving sidewalks that take you up a floor. They lock the wheels of the baggage carts so they won’t roll. That’s great… except Sean had a defective cart and it started rolling backward and it dumped our bags off the cart. That was fun.

Once we were on our way to the gate, Sean grabbed us some lunch and we waited for our flight. Our flight was a little delayed for boarding so we had extra time to eat. The flight seemed really short. Once we got closer to Phuket, the viewed out of the window portrayed turquoise waters and white sandy beaches dotting the lush forested islands. It was beautiful.

Once we landed at the airport and got our bags, we walked out of security. There we were bombarded by people selling tours, taxis or mini-buses to the hotel. I looked around at the tours. I knew how much they were going for in Bangkok, so I figured if they were cheaper, I’d just buy them here and not have to worry about it later.

Sean was pretty set on getting us on one of these mini-buses. The going fare was 180 baht per person versus the 750 baht for a taxi. I managed to buy us a tour to go on a speed boat to Phi Phi island and then to see the Fantasea show. Sean bought us seats on a minibus. We walked out to the street to find our ride.

This is where things got interesting… and by interesting I mean frustrating. We were tired. Terryn was restless and cranky. Baby was crying. The bus driver for the mini-bus ticket we had said we had too many bags and wasn’t going to let us get on the bus. Then he let three other people who came after us on the bus with just as many bags as us, get on. Sean was pissed. The driver was saying all sorts of things to Sean as they were arguing. Then they drove off.

After about 15 minutes another bus pulled up. The driver said the same thing to Sean, “You have too many bags.” At this point, Sean just put our bags into the bus. He helped load other people’s stuff into the bus too. We got in the back seat and put the stroller back with us. Well that’s one way to make sure you get a ride. We were even the first people to get dropped off. Honestly, I don’t think we ever would have gotten to our hotel had Sean not been so adamant. This is Asia after all and that’s just how things work here sometimes.

Our hotel seemed pretty nice from the outside. I chased Terryn around as Sean checked us in. We were pretty please with our room. There was a baby cot for Jayce and a couch/bed that Terryn could sleep on. We got settled and then walked around the area.

Our hotel is located on a nice little strip that has shops and restaurants. There are quite a few side streets that are for the most part, pedestrian only. We had a pleasant evening. We shared some banana and Nutella Thai pancakes. They are SO good. I have to figure out how to make them. We ate a nice dinner. Sean ended up going into another tailor and getting two shirts made.

Before going back to the hotel we bought some stuff for breakfast the next morning. We’re too cheap to do our hotel’s buffet breakfast. It’s like $20 a person… no thanks. We’re kind of tired of buffet breakfast anyway. There was a fruit stand and we ended up getting a half a watermelon, two mangoes, a pineapple and some bananas. It took forever to have her cut it all up. There were some Aussie ladies waiting behind us. They were pretty funny. We ended up talking one of the ladies into trying a mangosteen. I left to go to 7-11 to buy some yogurt, but Sean said she was like, “Mmmmm…. These are good.”

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