This is a mixed bag of happenings and some almost non happenings covering the last few days. I realise looking back that I have dozed through some of my time here and that writing the blog update more than a day after the event means that I forget things. I am now better organised to account for my poor recall and have the technology, paper and pen, to list the day’s events and then expand them into the blog.

In no particular order:

1. My first longer run in the Chevrolet was to Phuket town to visit Big C shopping mall. I am interested in picking up a GPS for later in my trip and thought this was a good place to look. I don’t find driving in Phuket too much of a problem. It is busy and you do have to focus remembering that any turn to the left will cut across the motorbikes, which mostly hug the left side of the road. The main road from South to North of Phuket island is dual lane. Cars tend to stick to the right hand lane and bikes to the left with a bit of mixture to add excitement.

Monsoon hit just as we reached the town. When it rains here it likes to give full expression to the word wet. Very happy to be high in a large four wheel drive as the poor motorcyclists cope in the real world. Managed to miss the only entrance to Big C and in this weather a quick U turn not such a great idea. So we ended up at Tesco Lotus, which is a big supermarket chain here, a bit further on. The GPS on the back burner but some basic shopping supplies were required.

Supermarkets always have a flavour of the country they are in – nothing major here but a couple of unique aspects. We started off in the food court, which had a good selection of both farang (foreign) and Thai dishes. A trick for newcomers is that you have to buy a store card and put credit on it. The food purchases are then debited against the card. No cash is handled by the food outlets. Once done you then cash in your card and get the remaining credit as cash.

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The layout of the supermarket is much as at home. Some more exotic fruit and a meat section which has an area with open bins so you dig in and fill your own bags with mince or chicken. Don’t think that would pass health regulations in Australia. Not to worry because you can buy packaged meat in the same way as home if you want. I’ll get some prices next time just for interest.

A surprising number of the same brands you’d find at Woollies but packaged for local consumption. Globalisation in action.

2. Went looking for a bar having a party on Saturday night. It is the quiet season here and finding a bar with anybody in can sometimes be challenging. Ended up in one on the Main Street which was having a party in celebration of Meow’s birthday. Thai’s are mostly know by their nicknames, which can be anything that takes their fancy, or the fancy of their parents or family. So to be joining a party for Meow, as in cat, is nothing unusual. I suspect the party was being paid for by Meow’s farang boyfriend.

I love watching the mix of people at bars here. It’s an older crowd this end of Phuket because there isn’t the range of bars or girls here. Mostly foreign drinkers. Thais don’t frequent the bars here in any numbers. You get the guys with a Thai girlfriend, either long or short term, the chatty guys replicating the pub scene back home and then the single morose looking blokes. They turn up, the bar knows what they want to drink and have it in front of them before they sit down. Much staring into beer is done in almost complete silence.

We only stayed for one drink at the party as I managed to end up next to a German of about ninety who insisted in talking to me in great detail about subjects that still remain a mystery to me. If I had a few more drinks maybe it have all made sense but I doubt it. This bloke has a category all of his own.

3. Headed off for a drive covering next three beach areas North of Nai Harn being Kata, Karon and Patong.

The dangers of riding motorbikes was obvious when we came into Kata beach after heavy rain. There is a very steep hill that runs into the Main Street, which can stop some traffic getting out in rain as it gets so slippery. We followed two bikes on the approach to Kata being ridden by Chinese couples. I was keeping well back as the road looked deadly. On the decline one of the bikes lost grip but the rider regained control but then the other bike just slid away throwing both people to the ground. The Chinese guy then tried to get the bike upright but it still must have been in gear because it took off hitting him hard into a concrete ditch before crashing further down the road. With nowhere to stop I could do nothing but drive on. A holiday gone wrong for one guy and an expensive afternoon out.

4. Patong is one of the main tourist destinations in Phuket for those who want the Bali Kuta experience but more raunchy. We were there during the day so all very quiet, although a lot busier than Nai Harn/Rawai, where I’m staying. I was once agin GPS hunting so we did actually make it to the Big C this time. No luck with that search as the few GPS on offer seemed expensive to me. Out on the street we headed to Bangla Road, which is the main girlie bar area. Stopped for a tourist Tiger Bar photo.

Tiger Bar Patong

Timed having lunch perfectly as the skies opened and those universal people who suddenly appear from nowhere selling umbrellas and shower coats – well suddenly appeared.

Patong in the monsoon

For someone who just doesn’t get the attraction of holidays with huge numbers of other tourists, in places selling wall to wall junk with very little natural beauty, places like Patong don’t rock my boat. At nighttime however……that could be a whole different story and I will report back on my next trip there.