Next day, we headed for Phatong – one of the beaches in the area and the one with the most nightlife. We crashed out on sun loungers for most of the afternoon. The Kiwis went jet-skiing while I finished another novel and then we tootled off for some grub. And, boy, did we find some. A newly-opened rock bar had 20% off their burgers… and in fairness they could have charged 20% extra. Phenomenal. I had a chicken burger and it was one of the finest I’ve ever had. The other lads had a regular burger and a Kong burger (which was huge). The chips were basically two entire potatoes, cut into about 5 bits and deep fried. And they had HP sauce.
While trying to locate a bus, we bumped into a lass from the hostel, Joleen. Flame-haired and as Irish as they come! I don’t think she’d kissed the Blarney stone – more likely swallowed the thing. This woman has the gift of the gab! Sadly, we’d missed the last bus. We didn’t think we had, despite a taxi driver trying to convince us otherwise, but Joleen checked with some nice ladies outside the “Bum” hairstylist (I kid you not) and the last bus was at 5:30. It was 5:55. Argh.
We haggled with the taxi driver for ages. The bus is 20Baht per person and we managed to get him to agree to 150Baht to take us all back to Phuket Town. In the back of his utility vehicle. OK, Joleen got a seat in the front, but us three collapsed in the trailer part and enjoyed the wind in our hair (OK, OK… they did – I felt it waft over my head) as we sped back to the hostel. It was a great ride, with Thais beeping at us and waving. I don’t think they’re used to seeing Farang in the back of trucks, just other Thais.
A quick dinner and a pop to 7-Eleven for tinnies. And the beer ban was still in place, newspaper covering the nice fridge at the back. Argh. Then as we sat munching crisps and drinking water in walks Joleen. With a 4-pack of Leo. The gift of the gab strikes back. She’d just gone in and begged, basically.
Half an hour later, one of the Kiwis comes in. With 4 bottles of Singha. It had worked for him as well. Leo all run out, so it was my turn.
Shot down in flames. Gah. I think we’d used up a hostel-full of sympathy. So, I set off with the Belle of the Beer and we struck out on the other nearby 7-Eleven. The next shop up the road, however, was much more amiable and sold us more beer.
Nicely tanked up, the four of us headed back into Phatong for some nightlife. The tuk-tuk ride was… interesting. Many waves to and from passing Thais on motorcycles, one of whom was trying to light a fag at 40mph. Unsuccessfully. One of the Kiwis flagged him over, got his tab, lit it and passed it back to him. Good grief.
First stop was the rock bar which had promised us earlier it could sell beer from 6pm. It was now around 10pm and it was soft drinks only. A shame as there was a very good live band playing covers of Poison, Chili Peppers, Van Halen… We moved on (after I’d flooded one of the urinals. Oops) to Saxophone a few yards away, a jazz/blues bar with a superb live band on. A beer there (well, for me – everyone else did the cocktail thing) and on to the main strip.
It was like San An in Ibiza. Bar upon bar, people trying to force flyers on you, dodgy food stalls – the works. I lost at Jenga (luck of the Irish, grr) and got electrocuted by a fake pen (damn Kiwis) before we headed back. Some of us, not naming any Kiwis with impressive eyebrows, stayed awake all the way back. The two lads had to fly back to Bangkok at 6am, so started packing when we got in. Hope they had a good flight!
Joleen heard from a friend of hers about a boat trip and also packed up the next morning for a sail along the coast. Again, I hope she has a great trip! I may do the sailing thing down the coast of Vietnam. I’ll need to check my budget once I’m there.