Return to the Path of Destruction
Trip Start Oct 28, 2006
29Trip End Jan 09, 2007
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Unfortunately what Lonely Planet fail to mention is that the ferry terminal isn't exactly in Phuket Town and when I disembark I discover the going rate to Patong is about 400 baht. Arrrghh not again!
Still I refuse to accept defeat. I will make it to Patong for under 100 baht.... or else. So I hook up with a a couple of aussies and an irishman to haggle a cab driver down to 50 baht for the ride into town. These guys haven't slept yet and there is a whole lotta confusion as to where we get out but I eventually con them into exiting on the main strip of road and then promptly lose them soon after as I try moto, tuk-tuk and bus for a ride to Patong but nothing for under 150..
I soon discover why its so cheap. Although at first I'm comfortably positioned with plenty of leg room, 10 minutes into the ride the bus is swarming with school girls, monks and old ladies and I find myself wedged into 1/3 of a seat drenched in sweat. Ah well I'm the only farang on board at least I'm having a 'cultural experience'.
I soon discover that it's festival time in Phuket; the 3 day 'Phuket Carnival' is on. There is music, food stalls and dancing but the funniest is when the police suddenly clear the street for the entire length of the road(maybe 2kms)to be turned into a massive catwalk hosting a fashion show paid for by the owners of a big new shopping mall JungCeylon which at the moment is still a mound of scaffold and bricks. These guys obviously have money and for the show they even shelled out for a couple of European models and some Thai TV stars resulting in the predominantly Thai crowd all crushing in with their phones held high vying for a shot. Later in the evening as I wander through the neon jungle I randomly bump into Rupert and Elly, the Irishman and Aussie chick from the cab and soon find myself playing connect 4 with them at the same go go bar where I watched my sister get up and show those Thai girls a thing or two 2 years earlier
I was lazy and didn't bother finding out more about the carnival but I suspect it might be some sort of government intiative to help encourage regrowth. 2 years later but the effect of the Tsunami is still being felt, It seems quite surreal seeing the whole thing rebuilt as last time I was here, Patong was just a sea of rubble. There are still some construction projects going on but I am quite amazed at the speed of reconstruction. One thing I find a little ridiculous is the Tsunami evacution signs that have been added all pointing away from the beach... duh. There is even one on the beach itself listing what to do in case of Tsunami with such handy hints as; 'move to higher ground' and 'there may be second wave'. Another slightly disturbing thing I noticed is the bootlegged compilation DVDs of Tsunami footage, you can literally find them for sale on every corner at anything from 7 elevens to T-shirt shops. Says something about the grim nature of human curiousty doesn't it, I wonder if gas chamber footage would sell at Auschwitz...
Anyways I ended up in Patong for 3 days after meeting a friendly restaurant waitress; Ta who offered to take me out on the town. Well actually as you might have guessed it was me who took her out, she certainly wasn't expecting to pay