A different kettle of fish
03.03.2007 35 °C
After a languid week on a Phi Phi beach, Phuket Town was a real eye opener for the girls. To reach Phuket Backpackers we had to navigate our way through a hot, crowded and very fragrant street market, where meat, fish, vegetables, fruit and spices of every shape, size and smell were on sale. There was even a stall selling fried bugs - grasshoppers, grubs, beetles, cockroaches (I think), you name it......
Once settled in, we went on a Tuk Tuk to the very upmarket Central Festival Mall, where you can spend a million baht on a watch! The old 3 wheeler Tuk Tuks have now been replaced by brightly decorated Diahatsu Carry Vans with open backs and sides and bench seats. The kamikaze drivers, however, remain. There are mopeds and small motorbikes everywhere. You can rent them for 3 pounds a day but with a death toll on Phuket alone of 300 a year, you'd have to be a serious thrill seeker to try it!
The accommodation was fine. It did seem odd though, to return at night to see the same people sitting in the loumge watching TV that had been there when we'd gone out in the morning. Around the corner was an excellent second-hand book shop, South Winds, and the lovely Sino-European architecture of the streets and alleys around Thanon Thalang; all lit up with red lanterns for Chinese New Year.
Rhiannon's unadventurous taste buds found refuge in Egg and Bacon in the English Bar near the roundabout - and I was treated to the rare pleasure of watching Manchester City play live on widescreen TV - and win! (what did I say about those folks in the Backpackers lounge??).
We explored the town and took trips out to the Butterfly Farm and Cultural Centre where we watched remarkably enthuisiastic Thai Boxing demos and Thai Dancing. Rhiannon bravely accepted (and acquitted herself well in) an invitation to join in a bamboo dance, where your steps have to synchronise with the rhythm of long bamboo poles being banged together - or you'll get sore feet!
Phuket Town also has a Tescos! You could spend an hour in the fresh food section trying to work out what on earth everything is. The bakery is aweful, but the fish and seafood section is something to behold!
And bicycles start at 11 pounds.......