To Phuket


7:45pm November 27, 2004 AirAsia to Phuket

We have just left the fabled Asian capital of Bangkok after an extended almost 24 hour stay. Mike has come up with the title for this trip!

“Retarded in Asia”

And indeed he has also changed the AirAsia slogan to “Now everyone can fly… eventually”.
Well let’s start at the beginning. When we left off last time, our intrepid crew had boarded a luxurious (compared to the first trip) AirAsia flight to Bangkok. The writer of this journal even wondered whether the curse of Sabah had finally been exorcised on our departure…

Not so.

Just before midnight Bangkok time we find our group circling ad nauseum around Bangkok waiting to land. Our captain keeps telling us we will land, eventually, we we think so, he is unintelligible for the most part. Not a good quality for a pilot methinks.

Luckily for us Keli hasn’t gone stark raving mad at the airport waiting for us. It is very good to see her and after am extended greeting we’re off to Khaosan Street (the local trendy foreigner type spot) to find an inn recommended by someone Andrew has met along the way. Armed with an address this would have appeared to be a relatively easy task. Ah but this is Asia. It makes an assumption that taxi drivers know the city they are driving in. Personally, I’ve realized that “taxi” in Asia means “car with driver”. Sometimes “car with driver” may know where you are going and most of those times they think they know better and refuse to go there and want you to go somewhere else. Most of the other times they are clueless.

This time we got to Khaosan. From there we were on our own. Backpacks on, we charged into the crowd celebrating the full moon. After several minutes of wandering around past riot guards and drunken party goers, we decided that at 2am it was preferable to find a place — any place — rather than our specific goal. Oh how easy this all sounds. The first 4 places we tried were all filled. Things were looking desperate for our heroes. Luckily nowhere near desperate as being caught for all time in the KK Bird Concentration Camp. At least here we could spend the night in a 24-hour pub and drink ourselves silly till the morning.

Luckily my liver was left at peace.

We did end up finding a place — slightly more expensive but we weren’t complaining. Chris and I shared a room while the rest shared a triple. Luxury accomodation this was not. Thankfully unlike the triple “suite”, our toilet closet contained toilet paper. Chris decided to open the Headhunter rice wine sherry he bought in KK with the intention of sharing some with me. I was having none of that and he promptly threw it out after one sip. That sip caused him to speak like Jerry Lewis — what an abomination of alcohol!

The morning dawned bright and early. After a quick checkout we went to Khaosan to have breaky together before splitting up to explore Bangkok. Mike, Keli and I went to see that Grand Palace and the emerald Buddha, while Chris and Andrew went off to do chores.

Unfortunately, Mike, Keli and I decided to catch a three wheeler taxi (a “tuktuk”). In a scene reminiscent of KK we all piled in, asked how much — 10 baht — no problem… Now…

“Please take us to the Grand Palace”
“No”
“But you said yes earlier..”
“No”
“Huh?”
“It is closed — won’t open till 1pm — I take you somewhere else”
“No we want to go to the Grand Palace!”
“No”
“OK we get out now”
“Okay 50 Baht”

Naturally, we got out at that point.

We got in a metered cab and Mike even gave him a tip “for taking us where we wanted to go.” One would have thought that the point of a taxi.

“Taxi” in Asian English means “vehicular transport which might take you where you want to go, eventually” – Also the meaning of “air travel” according to AirAsia.

The emerald buddha is amazing. It is Thailand’s holiest spot and it glitters. I can only imagine Jean Chretien asking Ottawa to build something to this effect in Canada. Mike turns around and says “But I bet you Joey would have had no problem!” I can just imaging the “Temple of the emerald Joey Smallwood”. Hopefully, the photos will do it all justice.

Next we’re back in Khaosan for some shopping and beer.

Andrew attests that Chris and I got drunk.

I submit to him evidence that we were merely tipsy — perhaps mildly tipsy but not drunk. After all seasoned drinkers such as we could not possibly be drunk on three beer. That is impossible.

I do admit that we were slightly scaring the surrounding bystanders with our pirate talk.

“Arr, avast me hearties.”
“Arr, you are a bilge rat sir.”
“This beer tastes like bilge water and you are a bunghole!”
“Arrr.”

We didn’t help our reputation during our trip to the airport when we broken into a song and then promptly tried to do a limbo while seated. Mike, Keli and Andrew disavowed all knowledge of us. Arr.

Then began our ordeal!

AirAsia — delayed 100% of the time in Asia. Our flight was pushed back from 4pm to 6pm then finally 7pm. Keli has likely already arrived in Phuket. We have no place to stay in Phuket, we are now arriving late. Oh boy I can’t wait.

Retarded in Asia indeed.

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