Back on track

Yes, it’s official – after the carnage of Khao Sok I’ve arrived well and truly back on the tourist trail here in Phuket.

When I first started to work out a rough itinerary I looked at the time I had in Thailand and decided that at some point it would be good to make time to be a bit boring and not do a great deal. Arriving in Phuket last night, battered and bruised from getting lost in Khao Sok, was a relief. I haven’t done anything of note since getting here late yesterday afternoon, and with the sun going down now, I am quite happy for that to continue. Sure, I took a pleasant enough stroll down Karon Beach today (long enough for my shoulders to get sunburnt, be accused of being an Australian and eat a cracking lunch of chicken fried rice with spring rolls) but in fairness, I have done nothing. And I’m comfortable enough with that.

One thing I have learnt over the years of elongating my cricket tours is that you can’t be doing ‘something’ every day. By that I mean sightseeing, drinking, being adventurous, travelling internally, even being sociable all the time. Fair enough if you are on a two or three week jaunt, squeeze as much in as humanly possible. I remember when I first started going away, being away from home for just a fortnight. I almost felt guilty for not doing anything productive at times. Even if productive was just going to the bar and socialising, I was out there doing something. A couple of winters ago I was away for nearly eight weeks over a space of less than three months in India and the Caribbean. When you throw in trying to catch up with friends and family dotted round the UK and going to work in between the two tours, I was exhausted by the time I got back from Antigua. How many people other than cricket fans can say they come home knackered from Antigua? That sounds somewhat spoilt, but hey, so what?

The other side of it is very boring. It’s that one thing in the world everyone wants more of. No matter how much or how little we have, or what possessions we own, we want more. Money.
Being away for six months, of which nearly half I will spend by myself (I dislike that term, there are always people around you) will at times be a costly affair. If you are reading this thinking ‘how can this be costly, he’s been banging on about smart dorm rooms in Bangkok for a fiver and posh single supplements for £12?’ then think again. There is a little event round the corner that is called the Ashes. At a guess I’d suggest I’ve already spent way over four figures on this sporting clash of titans and I haven’t even arrived in the country where the British Pound can barely buy you a bottle of water. For people with time to kill (come on all you office workers) have a look at the history of the AUD/GBP…..it makes bad reading for us, put it that way.

There are other splurges along the way. Climbing Mount Kinabalu in Borneo is not on a so called backpacker budget. My love of golf has grown so much in the last twelve months I simply must keep my game up to some sort of keen amateur level – hiring clubs, green fees, caddies etc. The Cricket World Cup in Asia could well turn out to be a very expensive affair if England progress to the Final – internal flights from India to Sri Lanka to Bangladesh and back to India may be required. I would at least like the option of this come next spring. When you throw in six months of eating and drinking out you will soon see that a couple of quiet days doing nothing are a necessity for both the body and the wallet.

So, back to business. The last time you heard from me I was in a bit of a physical and I suppose slightly emotional wreck, happy not to be sleeping in a jungle and surrounded by students in Smiley’s restaurant. The night went well, plenty of drinking games, random singing and plenty of faces to tell my tales of Tarzan too. A shout out goes to the lovely Laura who helped me recover from my injuries with some excellent company and equally good banter. Though why anyone would eat just a plateful of broccoli is beyond me…..

I arrived in Karon Beach, Phuket, last night. It was another state owned bus that got me to Phuket Town for 160 THB (about £3). The guys at Smiley’s suggested that the trip would take around two hours, but that turned into more than five! Ah well, better get used to that I suppose. I remember chatting to Simon about the lack of horns in Bangkok, which I thought would be extremly prominent given we were in such a big Asian city. My bus driver yesterday though was getting his fair share in, making a nap impossible to say the least. I had probably my coolest arrival at a venue yet after this, getting from Phuket Town to Karon Beach on the back of a scooter! The Phuket lady driver managed to fit my backpack between her legs on the front, her in the middle and me on the back – safe to say that given the hills on this island, she did well to keep the scooter going all the way here!

To finish with just another shout out to a couple of family members and a close mate of mine that I wish I could be there for right now for differing reasons. You know who you are, it will all be fine.

Canadian Laura

Chilling while waiting for the bus to Phuket

On the back of scooter, Phuket Town-Karon Beach

Karon Beach, Phuket


2 Responses to “Back on track”

  1. 1 Martin Chapple
    October 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    The driver had what between her legs???
    Glad you are giving yourself time to chill. Looks like you needed it.

  2. 2 donna
    October 10, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Eh Rich thatsounds better! – Mum xxxxxxxxxx

    Nice one Rich – like the beach – Jealous! Get a watch in Phnom Penh so you can keep track of the sundown tme/happy hours…. Central Market is the place to go for that!!!! Take care Michelle xxx

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