As we left Patong and headed toward Karon Beach we couldn’t help but notice that the other seaside towns of Phuket seem to be even worse off than Patong… COVID had destroyed Phuket… Empty shops everywhere, bars and restaurants abandoned… This really is a sad sight to behold.
Our car stopped outside our new hotel, the driver got our cases out of the boot and we walked inside… My immediate thought was “This looks nothing like the pictures online”… The lady at reception was friendly, she explained that even tho we had booked a room on the third floor she wanted to show us other rooms… It was nice to have a choice… We opted for a room on the second floor with an amazing view of the sea… I was struck, however, with how quiet and how old the hotel looks… After the letdown that was Kudo.. I was not feeling too positive.
We soon discovered that again, parts of the hotel are not operating… The bar is closed, the spa is closed, the restaurant is closed (except tor breakfast)… None of these facts were made known to us when we booked…. We lay on the bed chatting, Jo was feeling angry, our trip so far is not going according to plan.
We wandered out of the hotel and went in search of food… Karon beach was empty… There were no bars… No restaurants… We walked for about ten minutes until we were almost in the neighbouring resort of Kata beach, here we found a couple of places open… We ventured into a place filled with Russians… The TVs were playing dodgy Russian animated films, dodgy as in badly animated… Not dodgy as in Goldilocks was servicing the three bears… The menu had quite a few tasty looking items on it, but looking around the place I wasn’t holding much hope of the food being edible… Jo ordered Bavarian sausage and I ordered chicken parmesan…. As I say, I wasn’t feeling too confident… However, I was in for a surprise… Well, two actually… Surprise one, it wasn’t chicken parmesan that I received, it was chicken kiev… Surprise two, it was delicious! We ate the food and chatted for a while, when we’d finished eating Jo asked for the bill… Surprise three! The restaurant had reduced everything on the menu to half price…. Result! We paid the bill, left a tip and continued on our journey, we ended up actually on Kata beach, we bought a roti from a street seller and then headed back to our hotel.
We passed a few small bars on our way back, Jo promised the waitress in one that we would go back for a drink later…
We got back to our hotel in time for sunset, we pulled two beers out of the fridge and headed out to the beach… We opened our beers as the first drops of rain began to fall, a few sips in and the heavens opened up… Back to the hotel room for us!
The rain stopped later on and we headed out in search of a few drinks… We ended up at the bar that Jo had promised to visit earlier on, we ordered drinks, Jo had cider and I opted for “sex on the beach”… My first few sips lead me to believe it was mostly fruit juice with very little alcohol… I wasn’t really in the mood to drink too much anyway so I wasn’t really bothered… We played UNO and chatted, it was a nice evening… As I began to drink my second “sex on the beach” I realised the fruit juice had done nothing more than mask the very high alcohol content of the cocktail… I was feeling a tad tipsy… We ordered food, just a few bits to snack on being as neither of us was very hungry, again, we weren’t overly confident in the food being good… Again we were pleasantly surprised…. At one point we were joined by a dog who sat with us and happily accepted fuss from Jo… I had a bit of a weird experience while we chatting in the bar… We were talking about a woman we know from a bar near our apartment in Bangkok, Jo is friends with her on a messaging application, but Jo had noticed that her profile is no longer visible… I had just said to jo that “I hope she’s ok” when out of the corner of my eye I saw movement, and, I kid you not, the slice of lime that had been attached to the top of my cocktail glass dropped on the table in front of us…It was all very strange… I put the lime back on the glass and we carried on with our evening… And then with food eaten, drinks, drunk and me having my arse handed to me in the UNO game we headed off into the night.
We found a small beer bar tucked away in an alley, we had a couple of drinks while chatting to a Swedish man who I guess lives in the town… Not the most exhilarating conversations we’ve ever had in a bar, but still a friendly enough bloke… The dog we had met earlier was there too, after a while we headed back to our hotel for a good nights sleep.
We started off day two in Karon with a walk along the beach… The one plus point of the current situation is that we pretty much had the entire beach to ourselves… Walking from end to end we only experienced about six other people… We did, however, experience an explosion as an electrical transformer at the side of the road exploded just as we walked past it… These things explode with alarming regularity here in Thailand… Keeps you on your toes I suppose!
After our walk we relaxed at the poolside for a couple of hours, making the most of the sunshine.
We were feeling hungry and being as our hotel was not serving food we had to venture out, we headed out to find an English bar the boring Swedish bloke had told us about yesterday, we found the bar and ordered drinks… Ordering drinks was not the easiest thing to do, the woman serving didn’t quite seem to have a grasp on reality… “Leo Nung” (One Leo) and (at this point I’m pointing at the drinks menu) “Bombay Sapphire tonic Kob Khun Krap’’ (Bombay Sapphire and tonic please)… Blank expression.
“Bombay Sapphire?” she asks… “Chai, Bombay Sapphire tonic” I reply… Blank expression.
Again I point at the menu SHE gave me and point at “Bombay Sapphire”… “Bombay Sapphire tonic” I repeat… Now her blank expression has turned to an ever so manic one… Jo appears as I again try to order her Gin and tonic…
“Gin tonic” says Jo… “GIN TONIC!” shouts the manic Thai woman.
Jo ended up with house Gin… I’m guessing the bottle of Bombay Sapphire they have behind the bar will be unopened for a very long time.
We looked at the menu, I was in the mood for some good old fashioned English pub food so opted for steak and kidney pie with mashed potato… As with all eateries I wasn’t expecting too much… Looking around the bar I discovered I REALLY wasn’t expecting much.
The food arrived and it actually looked good… I was surprised… I tried the mash, oh my God it was just like the mash my mom used to give me when I lived back at home! Absolutely lovely… Halfway through eating, I told Jo I was considering writing food blogs, but food blogs based on restaurants that surprise me with the good quality of their food.
We finished our food and headed back to the hotel just in time to watch the sunset.
Jo headed straight to the beach, I went to our room to grab a couple of bottles of cider from the fridge… I discovered one of the bottles had frozen solid… Great.
As I walked toward the beach I saw Jo sitting on the sand looking out to sea, on the beach closer to me were two Thai girls taking selfies (Bloody Thais and selfies!!!) I walked toward Jo and was immediately under attack from the tiny little dog… The little fucker ran at me yapping and barking, I turned to look at him and he ran off… I carried on walking and he came back at me barking and yapping… The girls did nothing, they just carried on taking selfies as their shitty little ratdog barked and yapped… I turned to him again, he stopped barking and ran off… I turned to Jo, the little fucker was back again… I turned to him, looked him dead in the eye and said “Really?” … He looked at me, I looked at him… I think he read my mind because at this point I was thinking “If you dare to bite me mate, I will kick you right into the sea” He weighed up the situation and decided that fucking off was a good option… So fuck off, he did.
I joined Jo on the beach and she told me how the dog had barked at her too, she was doing some Facebook live thing so everyone that was tuned in got to hear me talking about I was going to happily kick a dog into the sea.
The sunset was stunning… Truly beautiful… It would have been so peaceful, had it not been for that fucking dog running and barking at every single person that walked by… Still, its owners did nothing.
Chatting to Jo I asked, “I wonder what they would have done if the dog had bitten me and I had kicked it right into the sea?” We decided they would do nothing, they would just go back to Mommy and Daddy and get them to buy another ratdog.
We didn’t feel like walking to the other resort to get dinner so we went to a place over the road from our hotel… Again, it had been suggested by the boring Swedish bloke…
This place had an interesting story… It was owned by a European, a European who (when faced with COVID and a fall in tourist numbers) had made the decision to drop all of his food prices to undercut every single restaurant in the area… As a result, his place remained open… And nobody in the area now speaks to him.
The food was edible… Unremarkable but edible… The drinks were not great… Not great as in verging on being bad… The entertainment, however, was on a whole different level.
There are certain songs that should never be attempted unless you have a certain amount of musical skill… There are certain songs (well, ALL songs actually) that you should not attempt to sing if you do not know all of the lyrics… These rules were ignored by the delightful guitar/singing duo that “entertained” us at this particular restaurant.
“Wonderwall” by Oasis… Ruined.
“Imagine” by John Lennon… Crucified.
“Nothing else matters” by Metallica… Butchered beyond all recognition.
It was bad… Oh, it was bad.
We woke up this morning, both of us feeling a little under the weather… I blamed the dodgy cheap booze we drank last night, we went for breakfast, then Jo spent a large portion of the day on a webchat for work… It seems that even when she’s on holiday, she’s never actually fully on holiday.
When Jo had finished her work we headed down to the beach, we fly out to Koh Samui tomorrow so we thought we’d have one last swim in the sea… The current was quite strong today so we couldn’t swim as much as we would have liked to, but at least we got to spend some time in the water.
After our swim, we sat on the beach… Jo decided to make a man out of sand (as you do) I opted to fashion disembodied faces in the sand… I’m sure some psychiatrist would have a field day with us.
After we’d washed the sand off we walked to a small Thai restaurant near to our hotel, we were greeted warmly (as we often are) and were served delicious Thai food… The restaurant was a strange set up, It was half restaurant and half corner shop… As we ate, various locals wandered in to buy essentials… As I said, the food was delicious and was really cheap too, we left a decent tip and promised to be back for dinner.
We returned back to the hotel, Jo read her book for a while then we headed back to the beach to watch the sunset… The sky was a little cloudy so the sunset was not as spectacular as yesterday… But just as the sun disappeared from view, the sky turned a beautiful shade of pink, it was so beautiful… We sat, looking out to sea before going back to the restaurant for dinner.
As we walked into the restaurant the owner greeted us again, she seemed genuinely happy to see us… She explained why half of her restaurant is now a shop, most of the shops in town have closed down due to COVID, she sells items to the locals, but as part of the government’s efforts to help people in need, the people only pay half of the cost, the government are paying the other half… I can’t imagine the UK government doing something like that.
We ate a delicious meal and had a few drinks, we paid the bill and promised to return next time we visit Karon beach.
I type this as I lay in bed… Tomorrow we fly to Koh Samui… And the adventure continues….