Auckland to Phuket via Singapore

Trip Start Apr 30, 2004
Trip End Jan 28, 2005

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Friday, January 28, 2005

Fri Jan 7th - Day 255
Close to Auckland airport, in the middle of nowhere was a crazy golf course that only crazy, crazy golfers could dream up. A monstrous, fibreglass moulded landscaped wonderland. Even more bizarrely was the fact that at 10am in the morning there were several people playing.

Fittingly for our time in NZ, an hour before take off heavy rain set in and hadn't relented as we took to the skies bound for Singapore.

Leaving Auckland at 3.30pm, our 10 hour flight arrived in Singapore at 8.30pm, so somewhere over Australia and Indonesia time stood still for 5 hours.

Singapore was a balmy 25C at 9pm.

A taxi took us to Little India and our internet booked Asphodel Hotel. Posted hourly rates raised our suspicions as to the nature of the hotel and these were confirmed throughout the night. Our floor seemed to be the hub of activities, with continual loud voices and door slamming. The walls were paper thin and at one point it sounded like a girl was shrieking for help, so I jumped out of bed and quickly opened the door into the hallway for a clearer listen, she was shrieking, but not for help.

At 4am phones in the rooms started ringing, not ours, and this seemed to indicate the end of a stiff nights work. Lots of chatter, more door banging, then the sound of high heels on the stone stairs and then silence. But with our body clocks at 9am we fought a losing battle to get back to sleep.

Expenses: NZ$ Fuel 19 phone 0.60 book 27.50 chemist 21.50 gift 22.95 sweets 1.20 dep tax 50

S$ (3/pound): Accom 87 taxi 17.20

Sat Jan 8th - Day 226
Light rain was falling as we left the Asphodel hotel and headed to the airport on the MRT (underground).

We were hoping to be able to catch a flight to Phuket, but due to lack of numbers the cheap airline AirAsia had cancelled their flights, and the only direct flight was with Singapore Airlines at S$450 each, one way (150 pound).

Disgruntled and hungry we put a change of clothes in our small rucksack, dumped our big rucksacks in left luggage and took the MRT back to Little India. We soon found the tiny open air Indian restaurant we'd visited last time, and enjoyed another great meal for 2 pound.

Everything was familiar, from the bustling clutter of the streets full of genuinely freindly faces and beautiful old shop houses to the small cafes on every corner with locals finger eating mutton byriani off a banana leaf, and drinking a glass of teh tarik (sweet tea) to the brightly coloured aromatic markets. Little India brings the senses alive and it felt good to be back in Asia.

A solution, if somewhat convoluted, was found on the internet. AirAsia fly to Bangkok and from Bangkok to Phuket, and two tickets from Singapore - Bangkok - Phuket would cost a total of 114 pound, so we booked flights for tomorrow.

torrential rain curtailed our late afternoon walk along Arab Street and despite a small brolley we were drenched to the point of having to wring out our trousers.

Sunday 9th Jan - Day 227
An uneventful flight to Bangkok was followed by an equally uneventful flight to Phuket.

At the airport we booked accommodation in Phuket Town then waited an hour for the minibus taxi to fill up, before we were driven the 33km on very busy roads.

On arrival we realised the hotel we'd booked ourselves into was also the base for the Norwegian, Danish and Irish Embassies, all here to assist and document victim identification.

We felt more than a little intrusive and after nipping out for the hottest Thai green curry ever, we retired to our room early.
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