March 20-21, 2012 – Phuket, Thailand and the sea day to get there
It seemed like a very short trip to Phuket Island, Thailand. Our first visit to this country, which I knew absolutely nothing about, so I had no expectation whatsoever…..
This is another “tender” port, which is always less convenient than the ones where we tie to a pier and just walk off the ship at our convenience . (Two months at sea and I have become picky and spoiled). Obviously no wheelchairs or walkers could make the trip.
This floating, swaying, dock, sometimes submerged, ran about 100 yards out to a floating tender platform.
This is the first time Sally and I have split up on our shore trips. She and some of her shipboard friends took the bus to the main town of Phuket, while one of the husbands and I stayed at Patong Village, where the ship was anchored and walked up the main drag to the post office and shopping (what is it called when you shop and don’t buy?
Patong Village, Phuket, Thailand
The Tuk-Tuk drivers (small cabs –see below) and vendors were the most aggressive we have seen on the trip. I guess our normal politeness takes a while to get suspended, but in the presence of hundreds of them, one tends to go from “no thank you”, to “no”, to simply ignoring them. It is not our normal response to fellow human beings, and even after some practice, leaves one slightly uncomfortable. Tuk-Tuks derive their name from the sound made by the older version, 2 cycle engines.
Tuk-tuk & driver with ever present tour map
In Patong, these boats were quite common and I took some shots of them because I was intrigued by the configuration. Apparently, the engine is mounted on the rudder, with a long shaft coming straight off the drive shaft, with a propeller at the end. The entire propulsion and steering mechanism is one unit at the rear. Configured thusly, they can go very shallow and beach the craft without damaging the propeller.
Beachfront in Patong, Phuket
The omni-present McDonalds
Sally’s shopping trip to Phuket Town resulted in some interesting photos also:
We saw this same electrical distribution system in Venezuela – maybe the same engineers? These are actually the result of people tying into the electrical grid without paying. I would really like to know what the casualty rate is of the people who hook these up.
Between now and Mumbai, we have lots of stops and not so many sea days to rest up. Sally and I have agreed that we both underestimated the conditioning needed to do one of these trips – maybe it is just our age showing, but this is a lot more demanding than we thought it would be. As I said last time – “you gotta be tough to have fun!”
And now, off to Sri Lanka.