Phuket

Jun. 12th, 2017 09:50 pm
merisunshine36: white rose floating candle (Default)
[personal profile] merisunshine36
I am back from my honeymoon in Phuket, Thailand! It is good to be home. I got nervous for a while because our layover was in Doha, and the dispute between Qatar and the other GCC countries had Qatar Airways rerouting some flights to avoid Saudi airspace, but it didn't seem to affect us on the ground. And I love the Qatar airport! I bought a pair of 22K gold earrings for only $80 at the gold store. I wanted to get more stuff but couldn't find anything that was both my style and a price I was willing to pay.

Phuket was such an interesting place! I'd say it's strong points were that it is good for a lot of ecotourism type things - we did a half day bicycle tour and a kayaking thing that took us inside of the Hong Islands, these lovely little lagoons tucked away inside these giant rock formations. . Beaches were also gorgeous and since it was the rainy/off-season, relatively empty. We were lucky in that we only had two bad weather days in the whole week.

The strange part about Phuket is that many parts of the island seem 100% dedicated to tourism. It's like being in the Thai version of midtown Manhattan, retail and food-wise. Every shop has the same ten kinds of souvenirs or 100 baht/$3 pashminas with elephant on them. Also in certain parts the sex industry is so blatant and in your face! There is one area, Patong, where in order to get to the beach you go down their local "walking street". We thought "oh, walking street, how nice", but it turned out to be literally just dozens of bars with pole dancers in the window and people sticking signs in Mr. Merisunshine's face going "hey Mr. White man, you want fucking show?" It made me really sad because it's not like any of the women there woke up and thought their life goal was sell their body for the exploitation of others. I spent a lot of time that night reading depressing articles about women in the sex trade there. I haven't read a ton about the U.S. dialogue around sex work and trying to reclaim it, etc, but once I read about like, women being docked pay for every minute they are late for work, being made to do all kinds of dangerous things for sex shows, and the only alternative is making a few cents a day in a factory, I am just sad sad sad.

A lot of my visit was thinking about that in general - it was my first time in a place with a visibly different socioeconomic standard for residents vs. locals. I remember asking one of our tour guides whether any Thais ever went on boat trips to the islands, etc. Everywhere you went the breakdown seemed to be a mix of European, American, Australian and Chinese tourists, and maybe 1 or 2 Thais. He told me that Thais didn't really do these trips (for reference it was a day long excursion incl. meals and transportation at a cost of $100 USD per person), and he needed all of his money to pay for his life. There were a lot of tourists doing what I call the "eat, pray, love" lifestyle since you could easily work half the year in the U.S. and live for months in Thailand on your savings, which I think is part of the country's appeal to a lot of folk. But I think I would feel too guilty...

Food was good, although we didn't get to do as much food as I wanted to. For the one thing, I was very nervous about getting food poisoning, although I was loosening up a bit by the end of things. And contrary to what Thai food has become in the U.S., in Thailand it is super meat-centric, so we always had to find somewhere that could do a tofu/egg something for Mr. M. Also the people in our local area put palm sugar in what seemed like every dish, which I wasn't a big fan of. I had to go further afield to find things that were less sweet. I think my fave foods were the street food at the night markets. It was a little difficult to get around since there is basically no public transportation in Phuket, it's not very walkable, and the taxis are (allegedly) run by a mafia cartel that fixes the prices so some nights we'd spend $30 to get to our destination and back. As a result, my most memorable food things were desserts - I ate my weight in sticky rice and fried sweet potato balls.

I loved the resort, though. the management was super nice and just bought everyone drinks one day at the pool, food was great, room was cool. We had a really good cooking class too. In general though I still am in favor of having a room with a kitchen for a stay this long! I was trying my best to just indulge myself because it was the honeymoon, but after day four I was tired of having to go to restaurants all the time or pay the exorbitant resort food prices. And at both you'd have to make small talk with everyone. That was the day we bought cup ramen and hard boiled eggs at the convenience store for dinner...it was a pretty delicious ramen though, ngl.

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brilliantnova

April 2010

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