Bye CM, hello Phuket !
Trip Start Jun 16, 2011
69Trip End Nov 10, 2011
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The flight was mostly uneventful. Mostly because there still was something noticeable : Thailand's floods. I must say some visions were quite dreadful. It was not necessarily taking place where the river was but in most places where, of course, the land level was lowest. To see, from above, entire towns flooded in water where only first floors and roofs emerge is quite frightening. You can then grasp the possible despair of all those people : what will remain of my house and belongings ? What will remain of my crops ? How do I get out and where do I go ? Scary. That made me think of Peter Gabriel's song "Here comes the flood". Probably one of my favorite songs by him.
When we arrived in Phuket, everything was easy. I had booked a guest house through Agoda and requested airport transfer. We had followed the advice of Johann, the guy through whom we had booked our diving safaris and opted for Nai Yang beach, far away from Phuket downtown and the crowded beaches (and major sex tourism center...). Nai Yang is particularly filled with locals, which means there are tons of cheap little shacks selling seafood and thai food all align the tree surrounded beach. We had booked at Charly's guest house, Charly being a retired French guy. We met him and immediately loved him. He was soon nicknamed Papa Charly. The guy is kindness personified. And what a life ! He has been a diving instructor most of his life, as well as a boat captain and small aircraft pilot. He's traveled around the world many times and settled in Thailand eight years ago. He drove us to the beach to make us avoid the walk and introduced us to other french customers for whom he had organized a traditional thai wedding. They had been partying since the day before and were still in party mode. What a welcome, what a beach ! We highly recommend it... After stuffing ourselves with garlic prawns and papaya salad, we headed back to the guest house and had an early night.
The next day was as chilled as it gets : early wake up, coffee. Then beach, beach and more beach. I am thrilled : I bought two books in Chiang Mai. One about the sex tourism industry ("only 13") and one about the history of Arabs since the ottoman empire (which is exactly the type of book I have been looking for for months). So after some hours of reading and more seafood eating, we headed back to Charly's, had a shower and waited for our minivan which was right on time at 5 pm.
At 7, we were on the MV Nautica, together with 9 other guests and at around 8, the boat left shore... So far so good, tomorrow we are diving !! :-)