Man, am I out of my travel mind. The trek across South America may have seemed to others that we were traveling without a plan. I assure you we were not. The months leading up to our departure were spent researching destinations, route planning and making sure we timed our visit to Patagonia before winter hit. I knew exactly where we could be from day one. This time was different, aside from booking our hotel in Bangkok ahead of time and knowing that we would be heading to Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket) after, there was little else planned. I thought that without researching, there would be fewer expectations. Everything would be new and exciting! Well, there’s that and there is also being plain lost in a country where not only do they not speak English, we can’t even fake our way through their language. We found ourselves reverting to Spanish when faced with confusion. “Quiero una cerveza!” doesn’t work in these parts.
The night before arriving on the island of Phuket, I had at least booked a hotel thanks to a recommendation from our friends, who were already there. Damn jet lag. While booking the place online, my eyes were literally rolling back in my head, practically falling asleep in the process. I barely looked at what I was booking not to mention writing down where it was. When we arrived the next day in Phuket, I told the taxi driver “Karon Living Room” which he understood only due to the first word being Karon as it is an area of the island. Living Room, being English, not so much. Crap. Not only did I not have the address of our destination, we couldn’t speak to our driver and we were dragging our innocent friend, Sarah, into the unknown with us.
Sorry to all of you that I can’t report back with a disastrous, yet comical outcome here. Our driver pulled over and found the info he needed. All was well. I’m not sure what the moral of the story is here. It’s either: don’t worry, everything will turn out fine OR be a little more organized and save yourself the stress. Flying by the seat of your pants is much easier when you can speak the language…or at least fake your way through it like we did with Spanish. We can’t even recognize Thai characters.
We arrived at our hotel safe and sound to the welcome of our friends, Arlo and Oksana of Postcard Valet, who we met in Ecuador last year. It had been 4 months since we had seen them and we were happy to get reacquainted. While we had been in Cincinnati living the “American Dream”, they traveled the rest of the world and had been in Phuket for almost a month. They showed us the ropes. In Phuket it’s simple…go to the beach!
Also on the agenda, trying the random drinks game from 7-Eleven. Maybe this is strange, but it’s fun and a bit scary. What exactly will grass jelly or Chlorophyll Beauti drinks taste like and am I going to throw either of them up? Also, how will we perform after ingesting Hang Foreplay? Lastly, what are the slimy chunks that I just swallowed?
One of my favorite things about travel is when you happen to be in the right place at the right time. One example might be when Miley Cyrus just happens to be performing in Asunción, Paraguay on your last day of 7 months of travel through South America. Perhaps not as “epic”, but still exciting was visiting Phuket on the last day of an international pro beach volleyball tournament. First was Italy vs. Australia and then the US team of Kessy and Ross took on China in the gold medal round. It’s incredibly fun cheering on your own country so far from home. The fit girls in their bathing suits also kept Dusty busy with his camera. Him and Arlo looked as though they should be carrying media badges. At times Sarah, Oksana and I would catch them across the way crouching behind barriers trying to get “the shot”.
Thai people held the American Flag while others wore it…fashionably. Sadly, team USA lost, but not from a lack of enthusiasm from the crowd. We’ll get them next time!
More photos of volleyball girls in Phuket and the rest of the Island