Phuket and Lobsters

Sunburn bloody sunburn. Well, it’s not really bloody. That would mean I should be in the hospital I suppose. No, just pink. My first (and possibly last) trip to the beach on this trip has resulted in a nice coating of pink on my back.

After leaving Luang Prabang, I have arrived in Thailand where, after getting into my hotel, one of my first acts was to head back to the airport to pick up Sarah who will be accompanying me for the next couple weeks through Thailand. We spent the next couple days bumming around in Bangkok, drinking yummy fruit shakes, making fun of hippies (really, that was just me) and having a fun time while trying to dodge the heat.

Since we were in Thailand, we felt somewhat obligated to head south and visit an island. Without a lot of thought into the matter, we chose Phuket. Looked nice enough. Why not? So, a quick flight and we checked into a nice little hostel, cranked our air conditioning and started planning a day at the beach.

(A side note: I have only had air con once so far on this trip – in Taman Negara and I only got it there because it was the only room I could find at all – so having Sarah, whose Japanese winter has not yet ended, here is a bit of a blessing for me. I can happily splurge on the AC and have the excuse that it’s for her sake.)

We boarded a bus and headed to Karon beach where we found ourselves some beach chairs to call home base. The clear sun had heated the air and sand and the blue water was by far the most inviting place for us to be.

We splashed and played in the relatively calm waters for a good couple of hours, laughing the whole time, merrily ignoring that tremendously hot ball of fusing atoms beaming down upon us. When we emerged, giddy from the water, we started probing around our exposed skin to discover that we had miscalculated the strength of our sunscreen.

Sarah put it well, ‘In this day and age, there’s really no excuse to get a sunburn.’ But somehow, we both did it. We had applied Sarah’s SPF 30 cream when we left the hotel. In between then and waiting for the bus, the ride to the beach, lunch, staking out our beach spot and loads of watery frolicking, the protection had substantially diminished and our skin silently soaked up the UV rays. Add to that the sun sensitivity we both seem to be experiencing at the hands of our anti-malarial tablets and the results are predictable. We sheepishly packed up our things and left the beach knowing we would be in for a few days of vaguely resembling lobsters.

But we didn’t head back to Phuket town and our hostel immediately. Oh no. When you know that you are within walking distance of a Dinosaur-themed mini golf course and you are me, your day is not finished. It doesn’t matter if you’ve been rotating on a barbecue spit for a few hours, you’re going to putt some balls!

And truly, this course was excellent. My traveling companion Sam in Singapore had urged me to seek out a fantastic sounding venue for our new favourite sport when we had been denied the opportunity to go there on his last night in the city, but I was never able to find it’s location. So, in his honour, I made damn sure I was not going to miss a mini golf course that featured a smoking volcano, an animatronic T-rex and a series of Triceratops droppings that took the place of course obstacles.

The match was hard fought, but I managed to beat the gracefully-losing Sarah by a few strokes and I now have a two-game undefeated streak going (you cling to such victories when your favourite basketball team is the perennially underachieving Toronto Raptors). I consoled Sarah that there was no shame in losing to the best.

Once we got back to the hotel, we nursed our wounded skin and proceeded to rest for the next couple of days. We sported skin-covering long shirts and went shopping and to the movies (V for Vendetta was good fun by the way) or watched the hostels DVDs while not thinking about words like ‘ultraviolet’ and ‘stupid tourist.’

Really, my shoulders still hurt a few days after the fact, but I still wouldn’t trade in the fun we had in the ocean. But I may regret that decision because tomorrow, I actually have to don my pack for a whole day.

We’re now in Ayuthaya, a small city North of Bangkok where ruins a plenty await our exploration tomorrow. I’ll certainly be bringing my cameras along for the day since I took almost no photos in Phuket. The only photos I shot were a couple of Sarah and I in the hotel. I felt like I had to take at least one photo while on the island, so all I have is a close up of the two of is in front of our hotel room’s blue walls. Good thing the memories will last a while.