Day Five: KB was feeling pretty frisky I guess because he woke us up at like 6:45am to go and eat breakfast. Good thing we went to sleep early. Surprisingly we were the first people down to eat breakfast. There was rice, pancakes, all kinds of fruit, cereal, some nice potato mixture, ham, bacon, toast, and some white goo that I wouldn’t dare touch: not for breakfast. If you walked outside there were two omelet chefs with these long chef hats ready to whip you up your style of eggs. For refreshments, there was milk, water, orange stuff, or coffee. That orange stuff tasted like a much improved version of Sunny D. We affectionately called it Sunny T. KB brought back some mini bananas from the fruit section. I mean these little bananas were the size of your fingers, but tasted no different. Think of oranges to tangerines except there is no taste difference.
After breakfast we retreated to the room, put on some swim wear and then headed to the beach. Before that apparently there was some sort of miscommunication between KB, Nick & I. I think Nick said lets got to the pool. KB just wanted to go to the beach and was gonna catch up with us after the pool. But on the way to the pool somehow Nick & I ended up at the beach. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. I just had a 10 minute conversation with KB asking him why that did, because for some reason it was in my mind that KB was set on doing something in the room while we were headed to the beach. Bottom line is, we went to the beach at separate times for a reason I clearly cannot remember.
The beach was very nice. We are on the more quite beach in Phuket so there was peacefulness about it. I don’t usually enjoy going out into the water, but I must have walked at least 100 yards out into the ocean. The water was very clear. You can see all the way to the bottom. After about half an hour or so just floatin around in the sea, we decided to head back where we met KB. We then headed to the pool and KB dipped in the ocean. The pool was nice and not over chlorinated.
After we all dried off a bit we decided to go back to Ging’s for some lunch. Ol Ging was delighted to see us and even called us by name. We were the only one’s there when we arrived. She then turned on the Thai song, “Bong, Bong” that we liked and served us some free mango shakes. These mango shakes were heavenly. I think I had three to KB & Nick’s 2. KB and I ordered some seafood most likely fresh from the nearby ocean. They put the whole damned fish on KB’s plate. After awhile the restaurant filled up and was again a very cozy atmosphere for which we indulged for more than an hour.
Now fat full, the guys decided to take a nap. I needed to use the internet so I decided to go and look for a connection. I decided to go and ask Ging where I could find a hot spot and she pointed one out across the street. I had to buy a drink so I chose a Thai beer that tasted pretty good. The internet connection was to slow, so I ended up buying 3 beers without getting much business done. I was a little upset, but I had to go. We were going to the Vegetarian Festival that only happens once a year in Phuket and I needed to get back.
Once in the room we got up and out. On our way to find a took-took we saw a Thai volleyball game going on. It was interesting because they were playing with their feet. (click on this link for video) We rode a took-took all the way to Phuket Town for the festival. With the traffic it took us maybe 45 minutes to get to Phuket Town. The took-took driver ripped us off though because we weren’t in Phuket Town. We ended up in the Phuket version of Rodeo Drive. It would have been nice if we were shopping.
What’s worse is my flip-flop broke and I was walking one foot bare through the mall with everyone staring because of my hair. I would have been embarrassed if we were in America, but I knew I would never see these people again. I thought that it was fortuitous that we landed in a mall, because I could replace my sandal. But like I said before… we were in the High-Class section of Phuket and the flip-flops were damn near a thousand baht when I knew I could get them for 200 or less!
We found another cab and rode to Phuket Town. Uh oh… Nick has that sick look on his face again. I have no clue on how he got that way, but he was lookin like crap. Phuket town was crowded for the Vegetarian Festival. The Vegetarian Festival is a religious ritual of sorts where the monks decided to show how dedicated they are to their faith. In order to do so, they walk across hot coals and pierce themselves through the cheek with a sword from the outside through the inside. I mean this sword is half an inch around.
We luckily got off right outside a pharmacy so Nick could get some meds. This was interesting. The pharmacist was practically a doctor and gave Nick a mini exam. He then wrote Nick 2 prescriptions and gave him a cream for his sun burn. No doctor’s visit cost and no insurance needed. Nick felt better pretty fast.
Now we were looking for some shoes for me because I am at this point bare-footin it through Phuket Town. I mean the streets were filled with motorbikes, cars and people. Firecrackers were poppin off everywhere! Kids running around with lighters… I mean it was crazy! Video coming soon.
We happened up on this shoe store where there were no shoe sizes higher than 10 ½ US. I wear 12-13. I had to squeeze my big feet in some small flip flops that ended up tearing the skin off of the insides of my 2nd toes. I was initially irritated but I soon got over it due to what would happen next.
We entered into the town square and the shear number of people was awe inspiring. I mean it was easily 30,000 people in the near vicinity and maybe more. The monks were preparing for their rituals and getting psyched up. You could sense the feverishness of the crowd as the moment was getting close at hand. I saw to people that looked as though they spoke English and asked them what was going on. To my surprise they were French. One guy and one blonde woman with some of the most beautiful blues you’ll ever see. She was so fascinated by it all, that it became infectious. I kinda broke away from KB and Nick because I had the camera and chased the action with these 2.
We didn’t witness the actual piercing, but we saw many devoted monks engulfed with the spirit of Buddha or something. It was amazing. They made this huge fire and were prancing around it. (See Pictures|Video)
They then brought out some huge figures of men and carried some sort of mini shrines or something through this line on there way outside. My French and I friend jumped in the line with them at the end passing right by the fire. That fire was hot. Just before we could exit with them we were stopped by a huge wall of firecrackers that they lit up. The sound was so loud and deafening. It sounded like a relentless barrage of gunfire being poured into the screaming crowd. It consumed all of your hearing senses to where you couldn’t help but be immersed into the spirituality of it all.
After all of that, we parted with our French comrades very much at my dismay. I very much wanted to have a drink with them to reflect on the events that just took place. Instead we went to McDonalds. I of course did not eat any of that American food. I was kinda down for a bit, wanting to go drink with the Frenchies. On the took-took ride back to the beach I sort of got over it.
Once back to beach, Nick opted to go to the room because he had already eaten and was sleepy. KB and I instead wandered over to Ging’s. This night, we got better acquainted with the staff. The one’s we talk to on a regular basis are Som, Beau, and Puhn. Som is like that cool older sister who is like the second mom in charge (That mom being Ging). Beau is that girl who just likes to hang around and gets her enjoyment from seeing others have fun. Puhn’s English is not that good, but you can tell she is a very fun girl. She’s long and slender standing at about 5’5” with a very long Ponytail and a never-ending smile. Its fun talking to her because there is so much of a language barrier that we must use gestures for everything we communicate. When we get back to the hotel, we try and decide are we going to go to Patong Beach that night. We are all too tired and decide to call it a night.