Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Weekend at the beach

I was hoping that our quick weekend getaway to the island of Phuket would provide some interesting blogging material but predictably, the resort destination is not so much a Thai cultural experience as it is as exercise in vacationing with thousands of European tourists.

I love a nice beach as much as any Swede or German and I can understand why we're all drawn to the beautiful white sands of Kata and Karon beaches.

You can rent a deck chair that comes with an umbrella and little table for 100 baht (about 3 bucks) for the entire day. It only took about half an hour walking on the beach at 10am to get a burn on my shoulders. I wasn't quick enough with my 55 SPF sunscreen.

The water was delightfully warm and clear, perfect for cooling off when you've had enough of the chair and umbrella. Long tail boats for hire take people out to nearby islands, which we would have done had we more than 48 hours to spend in Phuket.

When you get tired of the beach, the little roads are packed with hundreds of businesses all with signs in several languages, none of them Thai. Almost all of the restaurants advertise "European food" and you can have your pick of German, Scandinavian, Italian, French cuisine.

I still go for the Thai food, like this place where we had a traditional breakfast of rice soup. This is actually a bunch of separately owned establishments all offering pretty much the same thing with the only difference being the color of the table cloths.

Phuket felt more like a tropical Disneyworld than Thailand. At night, this Dino Bar was packed.

Or maybe it was more like Vegas. We heard another Thai Elvis singing at an outdoor restaurant on Friday night (or maybe it's the same guy, different night?). He was singing "Green, Green Grass of Home" and sounded like the King except he couldn't quite get the "green" without a touch of accent.

The 2004 tsumani destroyed property and took lives but Kata and Karon beaches suffered less damage than other parts of the island. Now they're building more and larger hotels at a furious pace. I doubt there's an agency like OSHA in Thailand but that bamboo is probably stronger than it looks.

So I enjoyed my pina colada in a young green coconut, got sand everywhere and am nursing a sunburn just like everyone else. We all need places like Phuket to indulge while we're on holiday and Thailand knows how to deliver and does it well.


At 10:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Heidi,
What happened to your sweats? HaHa.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger I'm the Consumate Wanderer said...


Really enjoying your travels and writings. I'm so glad you have the chance to fill your world with sunshine, color, texture, culture, and wonder before you head back and get snug at the SP, with covered windows, darkness, and bitter cold. It sounds as if you are soaking it all up - thanks for sharing bits and pieces of it with us!

PS - got a GREAT box from the SP recently. THANK YOU! You rock!

At 4:20 PM, Blogger Meandering path, wandering mind said...

Heidi -
Hey! I was doing a google search on the DC-3 crash down in Antarctica a couple of days ago (from field camp, no major injuries, just had to stay out there another 18 hours until rescue -- that's why they make us wear the ECW when on the planes!)... ANYWAY -- I googled "Antarctica" + "crash" and guess what popped up as one of the results?? A marvelous article about *you* in the Physician Assistant Advance magazine. Nice, nice article, Heidi. Good job! You are a role model for your colleagues and they presented you and your work really well in this article. Again, congrats! It had to be incredibly new, as they mentioned that you were vacationing in Thailand before heading back for your 5th winter.

(and I forgot you went to Emory. I looked into that program and worked in the Egleston Pediatric Cardio-thoracic ICU when I first graduated. Interesting; challenging; but I needed to head somewhere more remote so I headed to bush Alaska... )


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