Tuesday, February 22, 2011


My post on Phuket is going to be real short, or maybe a little long we'll see as I go. The highlights of Phuket include buying an awesome purple bathing suit (which you will see in pictures later in the post) and the drive from the airport to the hotel. There are actually a bunch of other funny stories from the one night in Phuket that I'll toss in later now that I think about it.

So I guess I'll start from the airport and the woman who picked us up. I had arranged for the hostel to have someone pick us up. We stayed at Bodega Phuket in the Patong Beach area of Phuket. All my buddies from Wisco who went to Jaco, Costa Rica, think that, just bigger and slightly dirtier. Anyhow, we got this woman named Tina or something to pick us up in this big white Mitsubishi SUV which she proceeded to tell us ran her 1.5 million Baht, something like 50K USD. How did a hostel taxi drive, who makes this drive 5 - 8 times a day she told us, pick up this whip? Later we learned about Vince.

So she pops in some American concert DVD with the worlds softest rock bumping with the concert playing where the navigation system would normally be. We started with Phil Collins, some other real soft pop stars of the 80's and 90's and the DVD finished with a long Celine Dion set. It was too good to be true. Tina spoke minimal English, but passable enough that we could have a decent conversation. I sat in the front seat next to her and had the privilege of letting her chat my ear off while the other 4 sat in the back clearly mocking her and the music. We're all betting on whats coming next, and then we ask her why the hell she has these CD's and if she really likes listening to them. She tells us she doesn't like them, at that they are actually her husband, Vince's.

So who is Vince, and how did her and Vince meet. Well, I learned Vince was 65 years old (I'm betting he's also about 40 pounds over weight and balding) and has an internet company and decided he wants to spend his final years in Patong, Phuket. Thats about all I understood from her story. This woman struck gold with Vince. I can say with 70% confidence she was his favorite hooker (prostitute or call girl may be a more proper term) in Patong and he decided to wife her up. Also, along the way, an old man on a scooter crashed into the back of her 50K USD whip and scooted off real fast, she starts cursing in Thai, writes down the guys license plate and just keeps on going. Tells me "Oh it's fine, I just call the police later, they get him". Good to know they have police here at least in case I'm in trouble later. When my buddy Dan got bottled they didn't seem to be of much help to him then, so I still had my doubts.

We get to the hostel, we end up with all 8 beds in the 4th floor dorm with an awesome balcony over looking Patong area. We drop our stuff off, and head out on the prowl for some Thai food. Only problem is that Thai food doesn't really exist in Patong. It was expat bar after expat bar after hooker bar the whole way. We found a Thai / Western cafe after about 10 minutes of searching and just decided to give it a whirl. After my food poisoning in Penang, I still wasn't ready to dive into anything Asian cuisine related (minus Korean, love that stuff), so I went with the club sandwich while everyone else got pad thai, a dish I LOVE. My sandwich had some of the strangest tasting mayo on it while everyone else's was delicious, food really just wasn't my thing up to this point on the trip.

We left, found my awesome purple swim shorts:

We then headed to Patong Beach to grab some beers and watch the sunset. At one point, this beach must have been beautiful. Here's a good picture of it in it's hey day.

Patong Beach - Phuket

It doesn't look that pretty in real life. The sand is full of beach chairs for rent, Thai women selling you massages, Thai men carrying around fruit, hounding you to go scuba diving or parasailing. The sand is full of beer caps / tops, glass, cigarette butts, its no longer a pretty site. But it worked for us as we knew we only had to spend a night here before heading to paradise. Here's more of what it looks like now a days. The pictures make it look a whole lot better than it does in real life I promise you.

We had a couple of beers, stayed there a bit past sunset until the bugs started to come out then headed back to our hostel. I'm standing at the bar with Chris ordering beers when some random guy walks up to me and asks if I went to UW-Madison. I realize I'm wearing my awesome UW-Madison Alumni golf shirt...

(same thing minus the Rose Bowl symbol, although I'm looking into acquiring one of those as well) So anyways, we say yes. This guys is like 6'4" has an Australian accent looks a little Asian and is decked out in a t-shirt tank and tight jorts. He's a good looking dude, had a bit of trouble drinking with us but all the girls had very serious crushes on him. I mean look at this guy.

So we say yes, he asks us if we know a girl named Julie, we obviously do, and Chris had remembered that Julie said that she had an Australian friend named Amarin who would be in Phuket at the same time as us. He studied abroad in Madison one year and some how be-friended Julie and her friends and they'd kept in touch. Quinn's face when he saw Julie run up and give this tall good looking dude a hug was absolutely priceless. Eric and I were dying.

We bought some beers, headed up to our balcony to pre-game for the night. Quinn, Eric and I sat outside while the girls literally were eating up every last word this guy had to say. His family did own a rubber plantation in northern Thailand which is pretty awesome, I will give him that. Olivia also told him her family owned a rubber plantation in Indonesia, totally not true which was pretty funny. Overall, we all actually really liked Amarin. Real nice guy was just funny to watch the girls (who haven't seen an attractive man in Asia in a real real long time, its called the best of the worst, and in Korea I think it's really starting to take a tole on the woman). I really, really wish I had a picture because all of them will totally deny this. Anyhow, we drank a bunch of beers on the balcony, Amarin passed out in my bed (I wasn't very pleased with this if you can imagine and requested that Julie move him to a new location). Two others decided it would be a better idea to clonk out rather than venture into the night. Here's some pictures of us out on the balcony.

So, with Amarin and two others down and out, the 6 of us made our way to the Phuket bar area. By bar area I mean large area full of older men, prostitutes, and woman pole dancing. We found an empty bar to sit down and post up at. Immediately, the bar tender busts out Connect Four, who the hell plays Connect Four anymore? Anyways, she says we play, you win, I give you free shot, I win, you buy me and you shots. So I decide why not although I haven't played this game since I was in elementary school. First game, she beat me in less than 30 seconds. This is the point I realize she does this for a living and is going to beat me every single time no matter what. So I decide to play again, this time, not trying to win, but rather just trying to play to a draw. Still, she beat me. I'm betting she may be top 5 Connect Four players in the world, just a hunch. Here's a few pictures from our one night out in Patong.

We wandered the bar district a little longer, all sort of looked the same. Prostitutes and more prostitutes. We went back to our hostel to get a good nights sleep as we were leaving at 9:30AM for Ko Phi Phi.

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