Throwing the bone for the dog I see two passing lights
Well, I wonder where that driver's bound
Is there someone, somewhere, someway out there that I've not found....
I'm in Karon Beach on the island of Phuket in Thailand. What a trip. I have only been back on the road a little less then two weeks and I am already starting to lose the time and the date and the day. It was a bit hard to settle in this time back though. I think I was really starting to melt back into life in the USA and especially life in Ob. Which is a good thing but it was time to jump start the engines and try to get some travelling momentum.
My marathon travel day took me from San Diego to Los Angeles to Tokyo to Bangkok. All in all about 30 hours of travel time. It was well after midnight when I arrived at the Bangkok Airport and I knew I was about to go down for a long sleep. Like a bear about to hibernate though I needed some nourishment. So, before leaving the airport I poked around and found the "Magic Food Point" which had been recommended to me by a friend in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia months ago. It is a little food court on the bottom floor of the terminal building that mostly airport and airline employees eat at. What a find! I purchased 150 Baht ($5/USD) in coupons and proceeded to fill the tank with the most delicious Asian food. I stuffed myself and even had 28 Baht of coupons left over to get a refund on. Amazing.
I crawled up in a half decent hotel in the Sukhumvit area of Bangkok for the next few days just trying to get right. My rhythm was all out of sorts and it was a slow process getting back on track. With a lot of sleep and a bunch of street food - Pad Thai, Chicken Curry's, Hot Clay Pot's filled with broth and seafood, and of course Noodles! - I eventually started to feel my old self again and struck out for some sight seeing.
One morning I made it out to the Floating Market which is a spectacle that just has to be seen to be believed. There is an entire retail market existing on small boats and huts on stilts. I will never, ever complain again that my kitchen isn't big enough! I caught a long boat of my own and spent a few good hours touring around the canals and marvelling at it all. I enjoyed a bunch of delicacies while floating around too. You can't go far in this country with out someone offering you a plate or bowl of steaming goodness. Mmmm....
The streets of Bangkok are a spectacular place to people watch. There are people from every walk of life wandering around. It is a people watching paradise. I wandered around the streets of Sukhumvit and Khao San Road taking it all in. Everything is for sale in Bangkok too, from knock off clothes and watches to horribly tacky souvenirs. So there are street shops set up everywhere. Another interesting people watching game to play is guess which one is the Katoy? (a Thai Ladyboy)? You gotta be careful in this town as it is not always easy to spot the difference! Fascinating.
Seeing as I could not find a single person who had any clue as to where I might catch the Jets beat up on the Browns last Sunday I sought out some entertainment in a more locally admired sport. I went to the Ratchadamnoen Boxing Stadium and saw the Sunday Evening Muay Thai/Thai Boxing matches. I secured a ringside seat and had an up close and personal view for the 7 matches, 5 rounds each, 2 or 3 minute rounds, with the boxers varying in age and weight class. Wow! The rituals, respect and then shear will and determination to kill your opponent amazed me. Most of the fights went the distance but I did see two knock-outs. In one of them the blood was flying over the ropes and landing on my lap. It wasn't the NFL but it was just as exciting.
Having had my fill of the city for a while, on Monday I hopped a flight to Phuket. Phuket is an island just off the west coast of the southern peninsula of Thailand in the Andaman Sea. A good friend of mine, Tom, from the USA now lives in Phuket and picked me up at the airport. It was really nice to see a familiar face and to be treated so great by his family. The woman he lives with Lek and her daughter Fiy were a joy to meet. Lek also is an amazing Thai cook and she fed me like a king. Nothing like a homemade Thai dinner.
I spent the remainder of the week hanging out, well I did squeeze in a nice Thai Massage, and exploring a few of the spots on the island - Phuket Town, Chalong Bay, Surin Beach and of course Karon beach. The weather is changing from the monsoon season into the dry/hot season and that is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Later today I am catching a ride up to Khao Lak which is back on the main land and about an hour drive north of Phuket. I am going to post up and wait to meet up with some friends - who are flying in from NYC - to go on a scuba diving live aboard trip out to the Similan Islands and the Andaman Sea.
I can feel myself slowly getting back in tune with the rhythms of the world.