Date: Dec 17th, 2009
I landed in Phuket International Airport by around 3pm, collected my bags, got some dollars exchanged and took the airport taxi (an A/C van) heading to Patong (150 baht/Rs. 200). As per my original plan, after I picked up my camera in Bangkok, I wanted to come straight to South Thailand. But that changed after the weather forecast indicated rain showers for the coming days.
I was hoping after spending three days in North Thailand, the rains down south would have subsided.
It rained quite heavily for a few minutes after I boarded the van. I was upset thinking this is how the weather would be like for the next few days. Fortunately, by the time I got to Patong, the rain stopped.
I checked in to my hotel room, which I got for 800 baht (Rs. 1000) from an agent the van taxi stopped at. She said it would be very hard to find cheaper rooms in Patong at this time of the year. But as I found out later that evening, there were decent rooms available for less than 800 baht. Oh well.
Not that mine was bad or anything. It was a twin-bed A/C room with the standard amenities but I wouldn’t really recommend the room I got (it barely had any ventilation). You could probably find better on the road I was on (which was parallel to the Patong Beach road).
First thing I did was freshen up and soon after, I headed straight for Patong beach.
The place was fairly crowded (the photo may not imply the same) but that was expected given how popular Phuket is. Since all I had was the cold ‘lunch’ on the flight, and since I hadn’t eaten a proper beef burger in ages*, I walked into the Burger King on Thaweewong Road (popularly called Beach Road).
Plus, it felt good not to pay for mayonnaise at a fast food joint! (The international chains in India do that. It’s a crime.)
After my evening ‘snack’ (which except for the burger, I couldn’t finish) I walked down Beach road…
… checked out the food stalls set up on Patong Beach…
… took a turn at Bangla road…
JungCeylon is Phuket’s largest shopping mall (I believe South Thailand too). It houses a Carrefour, a Bayshore hotel (its not by the ‘bay’ or the ‘shore’ — trust me) and several other brands. It had two camera equipment stores too. After picking up some supllies on the cheap at Carrefour and looking around the mall, I bought a lightweight (though, better quality) tripod — a Slik F630 — for 1500 baht/Rs. 2000 (it was 1590 but I bargained) from .
On the way out, I watched a bit of the fountain show JungCeylon puts on every night before closing time.
It’s no Bellagio but it’s still pretty good.
I walked back to my room, read up on the new tripod, re-packed and set out with my gear in the hope of shooting some videos. I headed back to Patong Beach to check out the Phuket Carnival 2009 — and to savour the deep-fried sea food I had seen earlier.
As I had dinner, I could hear the sounds of thumping basslines in the distance and figured there was some open house party going on. I walked towards it as it grew louder and then walked faster as Daft Punk’s “One More Time” came on.
It was an open beach party as part of the Phuket Carnival 2009. I took a lot of HD videos — but since I haven’t figured out how to edit videos properly yet, please make do with a few screen grabs from those videos.
Flower girl: Hello! You want rose?
Me: How much?
Flower girl: 100 baht!
Me: 100 baht!? That’s too much. I’ll give you 20! (I wasn’t angry… it’s just that the music was loud & we had to shout)
Flower girl: OK! (with a big smile on her face)
Me: (hands over the money)
Flower girl: (gives me one rose)
Me: (gives back the rose and lets her know she can keep it)
Flower girl: (points to herself as if to say “For me?”) … smiles and says “Kob Khun Ka” (‘Thank you”) in the traditional Thai way (hands folded), says bye and hops away (she actually did hop)
She was really adorable and I just felt like giving her some money. I really wished I had captured more of her because she running all over the place with a huge smile on her face trying to sell flowers. She seemed happy despite her plight.
Someone whose night turned from happy to sour a bit later was none other than mine. A few minutes after my interaction with the young girl, I noticed one of the knobs/screws used to adjust the tripod was missing. (“Oh crap” moment #6). I had moved from one spot to another in the 2 hours or so that I was at the beach party. I figured it would have fallen off when I carried the tripod around to take videos from different angles. I re-traced my steps and tried looking for it in the sand but in vain. It was hard trying to look for something so small at night with ever-changing stage lights and hundreds of feet reshaping the sand every second.
Disappointed and upset over yet another screw-up, I decided to call it a night and headed back to my room.
I really wasn’t happy (with my bad luck) and now I pondered about what to do next. I wanted to leave for Ao Nang the next morning itself. But now I had to waste precious time (again) to go back to the store & see if I could get just that piece of the tripod.
I knew that wasn’t going to be easy.
Other posts in this series: