Motorcycle Diaries from Phuket

Scooter parking at Bo Phut Friday Night Farmer's Market in Samui.

…Scooter Diaries, to be precise.

The main and cheapest form of transportation in Thailand is a scooter, so in our attempts to assimilate  (and to find the most cost-effective way to do everything), we rented a scooter in Ko Samui and have again rented another in Phuket.

But first things first:

-The Full Moon Party was insane and easily unlike anything I’ve ever seen.  Picture it: 20,000 people (the majority of which are tourists) crammed together on a strip of beach on a tiny island.  There are thousands of beach buckets full of alcohol; fiery jump ropes that those with liquid courage attempt to double-dutch with; bathing suits and neon body paint everywhere.  Morgan, Max and I arrived around 9pm and we were determined to see the night through until 7 am.  I’m sad and also grateful to say that Max was the only one who remained true to his word.  Morgan and I both underestimated the ‘power of the bucket’ and caught a speedboat home around 3 am.  The next morning we quickly packed up, checked out and hopped on a bus to catch a ferry to catch a van to Phuket.

When we arrived in Phuket, it was well past midnight.  We were dropped off at an intersection which led to dark alleys where ‘bar ladies’ awaited Morgan.  “Hey handsome man,” they called out to him.  “Come on in!”  We continued to drag our luggage further down the soggy alley in Patong until we finally arrived at it: The Golden Beach.

We checked in and the Thai girl at the counter showed us to our room, which was actually an extension of the lobby.  She opened the door to a small musty room and, with a bottle of air-freshener in hand, told us, “See?  [Spritz of air freshener]  Nice room! [Spritz of air freshener]”  She closed the door and as we looked around, exhausted from Full Moon and the 13-hour journey, I felt a bit like crying (which I later did).  Suspicious stains decorated the bedsheets, the wooden slats beneath the window exposed our bedroom contents to the same soggy alley and the best way to shower was by sitting on the toilet.  Days later, we can laugh about this and Morgan fondly refers to this experience as ‘our stay at the Golden Roach.’

We’re now staying at NaNaChart Phuket, a backpacker’s in Chalong (southern Phuket) and we’ve been here since Wednesday.  Upon checking in, we hit the ground running.  Dressed in professional shirts and slacks, we hopped on a scooter and navigated our way around southern Phuket, applying for teaching jobs at any school with an English program.  Most schools are still in holiday mode (the Thai school year starts May 3rd), but we covered a 30km radius and are now waiting to hear back.

It’s been an adventure to say the least and I can honestly say, on Morgan’s behalf, that learning to drive a scooter around a foreign town with few traffic rules and no road signs is a mission.  I’m not the best navigator either, so many of our dialogs went something like this:

Kassie: “Morgan, you missed the turn.”

Morgan: “Was that the turn?!”

Kassie: (Unable to hear due to wind) “What?”

Morgan: (Louder) “WAS THAT THE TURN?”  I WAS LOOKING FOR A SIGN.”

Kassie: (Louder) “YOU MISSED IT WHEN YOU MISSED THE TURN.  WHERE ARE YOU GOING?!”

…It’s been an exercise in teamwork in no small way.

Today we got to take a break from the rush (schools are closed on Saturdays) and we went to the beach with Will and Greta, Morgan’s family friends who are also here working.  Will and Greta have been in Phuket for a few weeks and know the area much better than we do, so we followed them to Ya Nui Beach, a quiet little cove surrounded by mountains.  The view was absolutely phenomenal.  Morgan and I apartment-hunted for the rest of the afternoon and we met back up with Will and Greta at a huge night market in Phuket Town.  Within minutes, we lost them and found them again only briefly before we left to head home.

Note to group: buy walkie-talkies for market nights.

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One response to “Motorcycle Diaries from Phuket

  1. Pingback: Learning About Phuket « Channel Voyager | Just Travel…

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