Worlds most beautiful lobster sanctuary

Trip Start May 26, 2004
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Sunday, June 6, 2004

We had our fill of Phuket and began one of the most interesting actual journeys to date. When we got to the airport what was waiting for us was something we had never experienced before. It was a propeller airplane. A big one mind you but a propeller plane none the less. I wasn't too happy flying in a giant milkshake maker but it was a short flight so what the hell. We got there in one piece but once we landed i couldn't believe my eyes. We walked into an Airport with no walls, no ceiling and a hand turned baggage conveyor. It literally was the most bizarre sight I have ever seen after getting off a plane.

Seeing the Airport put a big smile on our faces and it made us look forward to our time on the Island. It's quite a small island. Something like 25 miles at its longest point. We found a nice place to stay and managed to stay in a resort style place for about 18 euro a night. We were automatically upgraded to a suite for no extra charge. Which was nice!!

One of the first things we did when we arrived was to go to the local aquarium/Bengal Tiger Sanctuary. They advertised a bird show and also Bengal tigers. Aquariums and animal parks would prove to be a recurring theme for our travels. We got to the aquarium and had a look around at the usual fish and sea life. There was a section where you were allowed feed the turtles. This was pretty cool and they went mad for the lettuce that we fed them. It was a good thing they have nice hard heads cos they gave themselves (and we gave them!!) a wallop off the tongs a couple of time but it didn't seem to bother them.
After the aquarium we went outside for the bird show. All the usual stuff. Flying displays. Birds riding bikes and counting and talking. There were a few good ones where big birds swooped and took stuff of peoples heads and from their hands. They also had a few otters running around. They had them cleaning up some rubbish by putting plastic bottles in the bin. It was hilarious watching them scurry around with the stuff in their hands. It finished off with some pictures taken with the birds and otters. I got a couple of good ones with parakeets on my shoulders and one on my head. If you paid a couple of bucks you got one with the eagle so off I went and they put this bird on my arm and the weight of the thing was something else!! Vicious looking talons on it and it gave me the evil eye so a couple of quick pics then see ya later pal. Got some pictures with the otters which were cute. They actually vibrate when they purr and you could feel them in your arms.
Next up was the Bengal Tiger show. They had them walking on wires and jumping through hoops and up and down steps backwards and all with just a little man and couple of whips he slapped on the ground. Not even a chair!! It was really impressive how they controlled these HUGE tigers without really using anything. The show was amazing but what came after was awesome. It was picture time again!! They were feeding the tiger cubs and for a modest fee you could have a go and of course get a photo of the event. Of course up we went and got to feed a baby tiger cub with it SITTING ON OUR LAPS. It was ok I guess!! Amazing experience. But it got better.
There was a very large, apparently docile, female tiger chained up sitting on a pillar and again for the aforementioned modest fee you could go INTO the cage with the tiger for the customary photo. Nobody seemed up for it but we said what the hell. We're sure it's safe and so on. I was still repeating this in my mind when we sat down next to the tiger. One rub through its fur and you could feel the power. What was a bit nuts to see was this 10 foot long tiger sitting there calmly being bottle fed? It helped us to relax a bit. However when the trainer whipped the bottle out of its mouth and then dived out of the cage while they got the picture I felt less happy. We weren't sure how it was going to happen but we certainly weren't told we'd be left alone with the fully grown Tiger!! Thankfully we got out of there with all of our extremities and with a once in a lifetime photo too!! After the aquarium we went back to the resort and headed down the strip for some food and some quality local Thai beer. We also got it into our heads to buy a couple of tailored suits (note this was after the quality local beer!!). So in we went and haggled quite a bit. After choosing the cloth and style we informed them that we were leaving the next day and so we needed them done tonight. This caused a bit of a kerfuffle but they were getting a decent bit of money from us so they agreed. It did mean a midnight fitting session, then seeing the poor little tailor a few minutes later peddling like mad down the main street with the material in the basket on his bike! but weird things were starting to become the norm by now. We arranged to meet them the next morning to pick them up and that was that.

We had booked a day trip for the next morning. A boat ride to one of the islands and a few stops along the way for snorkelling. The weather was scorching and it was nice and relaxing to sail around in the sun. We stopped a couple of times for snorkelling. Got to see loads of fish and also left a few sizable chunks of skin on the rocks of the reef!! Nobody warned you not to get too eager and head off following fish then realise you're stuck amid all these rocks you can't get out of without sacrificing some skin! I had great fun wriggling my fingers so the fish would think it was food and come up and have a nibble.
We then stopped on one of the islands for some lunch and a quick sunbathe and then back on the boat for a snorkel and then back to the resort.

We woke up the next morning in absolute agony. Water resistant sun cream my ass!! Actually that was probably the only part of my body that wasn't sunburned badly. We looked like a pair of giant lobsters!!. We even shuffled around like lobsters!! I was bad enough but poor Fi was covered in blisters. She looked like a sheet of bubble wrap. We covered ourself in aloe gel which helped, until we had to peel ourselves out of the bed that is. Never really thought ahead that when the aloe vera dried, the 'cool sheet' we were under would stick to the sunburn!!! Not nice at all!!
We had only planned on staying a couple of days but we where in jibbos so we "decided" to stay a bit longer. We were able to stay in the same room in the resort which uncomplicated things. Thankfully I was recovered enough to venture out to the pool the next day and relax but poor Fi got hit a bit harder than I did. Eventually after a couple of days we recovered enough to enjoy our holiday again. Thankfully/miraculously neither of us got sun stroke. Of course after all the hassle we had with getting the tailors to do the suits in double quick time, we had to avoid their shop in order to not be MORTIFIED!. This was easy enough when we were bed ridden with sunburn however as feeling (other than burning heat) returned to our bodies it got a bit trickier to avoid a shop in the middle of the only main street in the whole island but we managed it. Don't forget its Thailand so all shop owners spend most of the night outside trying to entice you in! (Picture Inspector Gadget style creeping behind pillars, people and when that doesn't work just running for your life!!)

We went to see some more Thai kickboxing and this time there were adults competing so it was quite good. It didn't have the atmosphere like Phuket but the fights were top class!!
We had had a great time in Thailand and in Chiang Mai and Koh Samui especially but it was time to leave for another country on our journey. Getting to Malaysia was an experience in itself. We booked a trip across land by ferry and bus and to say it was eventful would be putting it mildly. But that's another story for the next entry.

Thai beers - Chang (cheap and cheerful - Highly recommended though they do sponsor Everton!!) and Singha (slightly less cheap by Thai standards but overall not as nice)- Be warned of the WICKED hangovers! (Though I suppose quantity has something to do with it too!!)And for the record- since getting a job- Fi has not worn either suit ONCE so be warned when getting suit fittings post Chang and Singha sessions!!
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