Ade & Jo’s epic holiday tour of Thailand PT 1

Day one.

After deciding my suitcase was on its last legs (or wheels) we found ourselves on an early afternoon hunt for a new suitcase, luckily for us we live close to many suitcase stores so finding one wasn’t too difficult.

At the first store we found the perfect suitcase, it was the right size and had decent locks (I’m a little bit obsessive when it comes to good locks on a suitcase), the price wasn’t too bad, the girl at the store offered us a small discount but upon hearing me say “I just want to look next door before I decide” she changed her discount plan to “Just offer me what you think it’s worth”… Still undecided, I went next door to look at the cases they had.

As it turned out the store next door had the very same cases… But at a fraction of the cost of the first store… Result!

We found my case, Jo had to go to the ATM to get the cash to pay for it, leaving me in the store to wait for her…

Standing in a store holding a suitcase while waiting for your wife to return with the money is a bit of an ordeal… I can’t make small talk… My Thai isn’t THAT good… Plus I’m socially awkward… SO I did the only thing that I thought was appropriate.. I inspected the case!

The poor girl was subjected to standing in a small store with an awkward looking Englishman as I lifted the case, checking its weight… Spun the wheels around a few times… Tapped the outside casing… All the time trying to kill time until Jo got back.

I looked out to the front of the store and saw Jo was still waiting to cross the road (to get to the ATM) “Bugger!” I thought, now I have to find more things to inspect on the case… Then I noticed the man standing behind Jo.

There are a number of… How shall I put this? Mentally unstable people who wander around our area in Bangkok… Back in the UK when we were kids we’d call them “Nutters” but in this age of political correctness “Nutters” is probably frowned upon…

We have the lady who wanders around holding a doll like it’s a baby… We have Captain Jack and his drug addict wife… And we have the man standing behind Jo.

I really don’t like this one… She’s been out before and had him follow her mumbling, he doesn’t go out of his way to harass, but she is not comfortable with him, and as a result I am not comfortable with him.

Jo is standing, waiting for the traffic lights to change, the mumbling man is standing behind her… I’m watching him like a hawk… He moves away from her, reaches into a bush (at the side of the crossing) and pulls out a length of red string… At this point I’ve placed the case I was holding on the ground… He is wrapping the string up, as if he’s trying to fashion a rope… Mentally I’m willing Jo to move away… I see Jo swap her backpack from her back around to her front… The traffic lights change and she begins to cross… He follows close behind, still holding his length of red “rope”… I turned to the girl in the store (who has noticed my mood has changed) and say “Back in a minute” she nodded (I honestly think she was watching what was going on) and I run from the store, over the road and look for Jo.

I am not a violent man, I hate violence, I really do… But as I crossed the road I was fully prepared to kick seven shades out of the man with the rope if he had been bothering Jo in any way.

I got through the traffic, turned to my left and Jo was approaching the ATM machine, rope dude was standing behind but he was keeping a distance (thank fuck) I ran up behind Jo, let her know I was there and in the process let rope dude know too… He stayed in position, by now he was mumbling loudly… I couldn’t make out what he was saying… It sounded like he was saying “Spice” but I couldn’t be sure… Jo got her money and we headed back to the suitcase store leaving rope dude on the other side of the road.

We walked back to our apartment, We were fine, Jo was fine… I have to admit I was a little shaken by the incident (well, there wasn’t really an incident was there?)… Jo thinks I’m over protective of her… I beg to differ.

Clothing taken from my old case (Metal Mickey) and placed into my new case (Now christened Vader)… Our taxi arrived and we headed off to the airport.

I’ve not been looking forward to this trip, our last trip began with Jo having a really bad flight (Jo hates flying) I ended up getting frustrated and angry with her (wrongly, I know) and as I approached the airport I was already worrying that she was going to panic on the plane again.

While waiting to board I noticed Jo was not at ease, as the minutes ticked by she was getting ever so slightly more and more anxious… As we boarded the plane I was preparing myself for a bumpy ride.

As it turned out Jo was brilliant on the plane, she kept herself controlled, we had no outbursts, no sudden bouts of panic… Even as we approached Phuket and we could see a storm on the horizon she remained calm… I was really… I AM really proud of her.

We were met at the airport by one of the drivers who has become our regular method of transport when we visit Phuket, we drove in through Phuket heading to our first destination Patong and the Kudos hotel.

Kudos is a beachfront hotel situated right in the middle of the party area of Patong, well… Party area that was… Patong it seems, is no longer the party capital of Phuket… The party, sadly, has ended.

The hotel is actually really nice, there isn’t a lift, which when we arrived didn’t bother me… I do feel that after a few drinks, climbing three flights of stairs may be an issue… The room is small but nicely furnished, we have an outside bathtub… It’s all very fancy… Out on the balcony, I can hear the hotel DJ playing mindless dance music… Ah well… It can’t be perfect can it?

After settling in we wander out onto the balcony… The DJ has finished playing mindless dance music… In fact, he’s finished playing music altogether… He’s nowhere to be found, instead, the hotel is piping music through the sound system.

Music.

Well… not quite music.

They are pumping jazz through the sound system.

What in the name of fresh Hell is this? I hate jazz with a passion… Jazz should be banned… Players of jazz should be put to death… There is no place for jazz in this world.. But here, in Patong I am being tortured with it.

Fuck you jazz.

We head out into town to get food and maybe have a couple of drinks, we find that most of the restaurants and bars are closed… 7/11 stores are closed, McDonalds and Burger king have shut down… Even Hooters have closed their doors… Patong is a ghost town… We ended up at an Italian place on the beach road, in fairness I didn’t expect much from the food I was just happy we actually found somewhere to eat… We walked into the restaurant to find there were three other customers, A man sat alone eating and a couple seated on the balcony… We sat close to the couple and looked through the menu, Jo ordered pizza and I ordered the pepper steak… As I said earlier, I wasn’t expecting too much from the food… As we sat waiting for our food we drank (bloody strong drinks at this place!) and chatted… The couple seated behind us had food brought to their table… Jo remarked on how good the pizza looked… “Excuse me” the man behind us said to the waitress “She doesn’t like peppers… Can you take them off?” I looked at Jo, Jo looked at me “Why not just take the peppers off yourself” we wondered… The waitress took the pizza away and returned a short time later… “My friend doesn’t like olives either… The menu didn’t say it had olives… Is there anything else on the vegetarian menu?”

Oh for fucks sake mate…. There are things I don’t like… And you know what? When I order I say can I have blah blah blah but can there be no whatever’s on it please?… Simple! Don’t order food then make a scene just to impress the blonde you’ve bought to a pizza place for a date you fucking dickhead… Prick.

Our food arrived… And guess what? It was delicious… My steak was cooked perfectly, the pepper sauce was amazing… Jo ordered pizza and it was absolutely lovely… So lovely in fact that we loudly proclaimed how nice it was so Mr Moansalot behind could hear every word.

After dinner we headed off in search of a bar for a quick drink before bedtime… Bangla road was dead… Some bars were open but there were no customers…. We ended up in a bar and ordered drinks, looking out into the empty Bangla road was honestly, quite depressing… We’ve been here a few times before and it’s always been full of life… Fuck you COVID… Fuck you.

We were approached by a lady selling roses… We don’t buy flowers from these people, it’s just something we don’t do… Jo usually tells them she’s allergic, which as a rule does the trick and they bugger off… This woman, however, was different.

“Mai Ow” (don’t want) “Allergic!” (followed by exaggerated sneezing motion) the flower seller approaches… “I know you” she says “Oh fuck” I think… For a couple of minutes she protested that we knew her, she knew us… It was all very awkward.

We returned to the hotel to find the jazz was still being played out by the pool…

What the fuck Patong…. What the actual fuck.

As I return to writing this blog (well, you don’t expect me to write it all in one go do you?) I realise that I wrote “Day one” at the very start… This was a mistake, I did fully intend to write parts of this every day while we’re away… But, after getting rather drunk on the second night in Patong, writing became the last thing on my mind… Good old booze, the ruin of many a good intention!

So yeah, the second night in Patong was a bit more lively than our first… But before I write about our boozy night I feel I should write a little about our hotel… Kudo in Patong.

The hotel is in no way a “bad” hotel… But is it perfect? Oh no, it is not… Phuket is empty, COVID is keeping tourists away, shops are closed, bars are dying… Hotels only have a few guests and as a result, some are running on a barely open basis… Kudo is doing this very thing… For example, the poolside bar is closed… For a man that doesn’t really use the pool, this isn’t a great tragedy… However, Kudo neglects to tell guests this fact when they book… So if I were a person that enjoys a drink at a poolside bar I would have been very disappointed… The rooms have huge outdoor bathtubs…. Awesome! You may think… Except the water pressure at the hotel means it takes over an hour to fill the tub… Not exactly ideal… Kudo is a hotel that “could” be great… It just isn’t.

Now, back to our night out… We headed out into Patong, it was strange to be walking down once busy roads to find you are the only two people in the area… It’s so empty… So quiet… So sad.

We found a restaurant that was open (YAY!) and enjoyed a really nice dinner before heading off in search of alcohol… Approaching Bangla road (again so empty) we found ourselves in a bar with a live band, we ordered drinks and chatted… There was a white bloke dancing like a loon at the front of the stage… I was about to comment on what a dickhead he was when I realised I recognised him… He’s a regular at our local bar in Nana! Small world eh? He’s not someone we’ve ever spoken to… In fact, I think I’ve labelled him a dickhead back home in Bangkok too… I wonder if he recognised us… I wonder if he’s writing a blog right now and commenting on “that dickhead from Bangkok”

We left the bar and wandered down the street to a bar we’ve drunk at many times before “The Parrot bar”… The last time we were here it was so depressing… But this time there were actually a few customers… The bar was mostly being run by older Thai ladies, it seems the younger girls have moved on… As we drank I looked out onto the near-empty Bangla road, a young girl was helping an older lady (for the purpose of this I’ll presume she was her Mom) sell flowers to the few people that were walking back and forth… A person would walk past, she would run up to them and try to sell them a rose… She wasn’t having much luck… She followed a couple up the alley where most of Patongs GoGo bars are, I’m guessing she didn’t sell a rose because she sat down by her mom and buried her head in her arms… I felt so sorry for her… I said to Jo that if she tried to sell us a flower I wouldn’t have the flower (they make me sneeze) but I would like to give her some money… We paid for our drinks and headed off into the night.

More than a few drinks later and we found ourselves at a beer bar called “Roy”. We’ve had drinks there before and the staff recognised us as we approached… What followed is a bit of a haze… All I know is that as midnight approached I was feeling a little worse for wear.

At some point, the flower girl appeared… She tried to sell flowers to the girls working the bar… Then she approached us.

We didn’t want a rose… We politely said “Mai ow” (no want) but handed her 100baht anyway… She flung her arms around Jo and gave her a kiss on the cheek, then she walked up to me… Flung her arms around me, gave me a huge hug and kissed me on the cheek… It broke me.

I was drunk… I was in a bar surrounded by people… I was broken. She walked away back to her mother and I just felt so lost… So useless.

One of the girls who was working the bar (I think she was the manager) appeared and decided she was buying shots for us… As I say, I was already drunk, I know drinking shots was a bad idea… But it would be rude to refuse, wouldn’t it?

Two shots of sambuca and one shot of Jagermeister later and I was well and truly drunk… Take me home Mrs Cox… Take me home!

I awoke in the early hours of Saturday morning feeling like someone was kicking me in the head. I got out of bed and a wave of nausea hit me like a train… I drank some water and crawled back into bed… But, every time I put my head on the pillow, the head kicker returned… Remind me again, why do I do this to myself?

Saturday night was a much quieter affair… We had dinner at an Indian restaurant before returning back to our hotel for a few drinks… This is another point where our hotel decided to disappoint us.

At 11 pm the bar area was actually quite busy, folks were chatting, drinking… Me and Jo were being ever so “Rock N Roll ‘’ as we sat drinking Baileys Irish cream while playing UNO… When a waiter appeared and said “Sorry but the bar is closing”… By 11:10 they started putting the beachside umbrellas down and pretty much closing the whole place down… Bloody hell! Bars in this town are crying out for customers, and this place kicks people out at 11 O’clock… Absolute madness.

So we buggered off to bed.

Kudos you could be a great hotel… But I don’t think we’ll be back… Sorry.

After breakfast, we packed our cases and were ready to move onto our next destination… The Beyond Resort at Karon beach.