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Monday, May 05, 2008

Phuket, lovelier the second time

The first time I went to Phuket, it was my first project with MBT. Back then, I was so focused on the project that I only managed to set foot on Karon Beach and experience the popular powder-like sand of the tourist-infested island only on my 2nd week. It's unusual for someone to be in Phuket for 28 days and go to the beach only once. I didn't even swim. It was good that a colleague, Richard, was with me during the 4-week trip, so sometimes we went shopping and on our last night went to Patong Beach to see the bustling Bangla Road. There were lots and lots of she-men! You wouldn't be able to tell the naturally born with the 'pechay' and one who just bought it.

Now after over two years, I am back for a 5-day retraining project for Millennium Resort Phuket. The hotel is huge; two buildings housing over 400 rooms. The main come-on is
Jungceylon (a shopping mall and entertainment complex) which is right smack in-between the two buildings of the hotel. By the way, the hotel and mall's owner are one and the same. Clever! (and oh so rich)...

Anyway, since I am staying only for a week, I've decided to make the most of it. I'm situated in the middle of everything so I might as well enjoy. In retrospect, it's crazy to compress all the pasyal in one week (strictly after 6pm), when two years ago I have 3 weekends to spend as I please. Plus, back then I have someone to tag along (and take my pictures!).

So immediately after second day of training, I went to see the famous Patong Beach. It's beautiful; the white and super fine sand is amazing. I really regret not buying a DSLR before this trip. Anyway, despite the beauty of this beach, I think the beaches in Philippines are far better. I have never been to Boracay, but from the pictures, I would say it is twice as beautiful. But hats off to Thailand for the huge budget allotted to tourism. It's working wonderfully well for them - tourists are everywhere spending green moolah on hotel, food, booze (and prostitutes, hehehe).

On my walk back to the hotel, I saw Bangla Stadium. And when you see a boxing stadium in Thailand, immediately what comes to your mind is Muay Thai. Knowing Jason loves Muay Thai, I had to tell him right away and feign excitement too (like I saw Brad Pitt) as I speak so he would turn green with envy. How evil! In fairness, for sure he would love to come with me here, but had to stay behind for little Eone.

As to shopping and food, what is here that is not in Manila? Absolutely nothing. So I thought I'd buy absolutely nothing too. Haha. No, I had to get something for my little girl, (at least) to compensate for 6 days of being away from her. Then there's Boots No.7 Soft and Soothe toner for Redjeulle which, ironically, cannot be found in Manila. Why, Rustan's, why?

My only complain about going anywhere in Thailand is the language. Only a handful speaks english, and that's not even good english. It makes training a nightmare! I had to resort to drawing most of the time, and I am NEVER good in drawing. Sometimes, it's like playing charades, no kidding! One instance, a trainee wants to go to the toilet and had to ask to be
excused. She waved her hand, pointed at her groin and said "Teacher, teacher, I pee-pee!". Hilarious!

By the way, if in future anyone plans to go to Phuket, please do not take Bangkok Airways which is supposedly Asia's Boutique Airline. It bounced like a kangaroo when we landed. Made me wonder where they train their pilots as they all seem to have been former jeepney drivers! I heard too that it's quite expensive to fly Bangkok Airways (I didn't pay for my airfare, as usual); they have a passenger lounge which serves buffet food, provides internet and comfortable waiting area for all their passengers. Yes, all, regardless of seat class.

Oh the joys and pains of travelling. More joys than pain, it's true. But for me, who cares about fine white sand and magnificent sunset over a blue-green beach? If Im away from my family, nothing would be truly lovely. I would still prefer to just stay in Manila and do regular office stuff. At the end of the day I'll be with the warm embraces of my Eone, eat adobo and watch soap before I sleep.


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