So, 12 restless hours later, which consisted of tossing and turning. Cramping in the legs. Twisted feeling in my back. Shivering from the a/c with only a blanket to keep me warm, we arrived in Phuket. We were woken up by the driver at 6am to let us now we had reached the bus station. It was then up to us to book a taxi (for 450 baht/ £9) to take us to Patong. The taxi driver dropped us off outside a hotel of his choose, as we asked him to take us to a cheap place. It wasn’t. It cost £20 a night. Then began a 40 minute walk, where we visited several guesthouse’s, in the hopes of finding accommodation.
Because of how early it was, many of the buildings were closed. We nearly gave up, before a kind taxi driver walked us through the door of one particular guesthouse, which happened to be cheaper than the rest. It was still quite pricey, but seeing as the room was decent and came with a/c, ensuite bathroom and a tv, we paid the 900 baht charge (£18). Besides, we were tired of lugging the bags around by that point. We then spent the next few hours in bed, to rest up. It was 12:30pm before we left to explore.
Our main mission was to find drink and sustenance. When we stepped out the front door of our building, the first thing to hit us was the intense heat. I could definitely beat Sarah’s tan if I spent some time on the beach in this. The next noticeable factor was the sheer volume of market stalls. Somehow in the few hours we were inside, the streets had come to life with market stall after market stall. Sarah then noticed a shopping plaza opposite, suddenly her hunger and thirst levels disappeared. It was a good job we wandered in though, as at the end of the plaza was another guesthouse. We enquired about space for the following evening. They had a room for 600 baht. We booked it up and put down the deposit the lady asked for. It transpired that the deposit was the same price as the room itself. We then went about finding somewhere to eat. We exited the plaza and walked up the next road. All the way down, as far as the eyes could see were bars. One of which I thought looked very smart. It was designed to look like a jungle, it even went as far as having giant tiger statues stood atop the roof. Sarah on the other hand, claimed it looked tacky.
We continued down the road, looking at the occasional menu of restaurants we passed, but chose to keep walking, due to their high prices. Because Phuket is deemed more of a holiday destination, you can expect to pay higher than usual for both meals and accommodation. From what we learned earlier that day, the average room price is £20 equivalent. In the end, the pair of us settled on McDonald’s, how very cultured. It was fun to sit there people watching, at one point we saw two very different looking girls walking together. One was in just a bikini, tattooed and had a bosom which made even Sarah shout out “look at the size of them”. Her friend on the other hand was somewhat larger, covered up under the protection of a pashmina and had sweat patches leaking through the pink material. After eating we made our way down the street to better familiarise ourselves with the area.
We passed the beach, which was rammed with people (I couldn’t wait until later that night to see what the strip of bars would be like). During our walk we saw lots of signs to warn people how far away the nearest tsunami escape route was. As if you can recall, several years ago there was a tragic tsunami which came to town, taking the lives of hundreds of tourists. So it was reassuring to know there were places we could go should it happen again, and we have enough time to get there… *gulp* Not wanting to stay out in the heat for much longer, we ended up doing a loop of the area and returned to our guesthouse, to the comfort of our a/c. We remained in the room for the rest of the afternoon.
While we were there several things happened:
1. The power constantly tripped, causing me to become an electrician and fiddle with the power box.
2. Sarah remained glued to her kindle, like she had been for the past 5 days. No wonder her mum banned her from books during her studies. She’s just like Matilda, from the movie… Matilda.
3. James Breen, the one and only, was in town and had just recently finished his fight camp, meaning he was allowed to drink again. We chatted over Facebook and he told me that he was hungover, due to a heavy night the previous evening, and his first one in a month or so. We agreed to meet up at 7:45 that evening at the tiger bar we saw earlier. Before he left, he gave me a warning that Sarah and I were currently staying at the party central, and at night we should be prepared as it gets quite seedy. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G, by now we were used to seedy, now I was even more excited to be going out. I predicted in advance, a day of nothingness the next day. Maybe a hangover day on the beach, that’ll be nice.
Sarah and I went out at 7pm. It gave us enough time to have some food before meeting the Breenster. We located a small restaurant which was better priced than most others. We quickly ate our noodle based dishes, then walked around the corner to the tiger bar. We met James outside, and like last time, exchanged stories of what we had been up to since our last encounter. We stayed for one drink at that bar, before James said he’d show us some fun bars that evening. He mentioned one bar which we would be going to, but in order to fully enjoy it we’d need to be drunk.
We didn’t get that opportunity, as much like a kid in a sweet shop, James was too excited and took us there ahead of schedule. At first I wondered where he had taken us, after we walked through the red illuminated entrance we found ourselves in a room with strippers. Sarah and I looked at each other as if to say “what they hell have we gotten ourselves into?” Nonetheless, we all sat down, purchased an over priced beer then watched in horror (and amusement) as James jumped up and began to slap the strippers with a polystyrene tube.
The reason he was so excited to take us there was for that reason alone. It was a strip club where you could slap the dancers with tubes, and they could do the same to you in return. The whole time I was sat there, I was constantly hounded by both James and Sarah to get up and hit them. Being extremely sober I didn’t feel quite comfortable enough to do that, but promised if we came back later (with alcohol on board) I’d give them hell. As we sat there more people began to fill the room. It looked bad on James’s part, as he had said to us that when he had been before there were couples having a laugh. When we arrived it was empty. We left after our beers, and found somewhere cheaper to drink.
My memory gets slightly foggy after the next bar, but if I had to guess how many bars we visited before returning, I’d say somewhere in the region of 4 to 5. One of which had connect four, to which Sarah kept losing to the barmaid. When we got back to the strip club we were all hammered. All I can really remember was the ladies inside took my t shirt off and threw it to one side, before thrashing me with the tubes (it didn’t hurt, that was the beauty of them being made of polystyrene). The other memory I have is when I exacted my revenge upon the ladies, however, in the process of whipping them I accidentally caught Sarah’s drink and eye. This caused her to drop her bottle, and the 3 of us having to visit a local pharmacy to get Sarah some eyewash. She was paranoid of it getting infected you see. Sarah was also tired by that point, and seeing as our guesthouse was opposite, James and I walked her back. It was then time for the boys to hit the streets, like two drunken monkeys.
Again, I don’t remember too much of what happened, nor does James for that matter. The bits between my blank spots involved going back to the tiger bar for another beer, but that’s all that comes back to me when I try to remember. When I spoke to James the next day we still couldn’t recall when we parted ways. All I know is I woke up with a bruised elbow and head, maybe James and I wrestled each other, seeing as he had been at a training camp fighting for the past month. I do remember getting back to the room, where I drank some water to avoid a hangover (fat chance of that actually working) and found Sarah engrossed in her bloody book again! It wasn’t long after that that I passed out, and that ladies and gentlemen concluded our first night in Phuket’s seedy nightlife.