Here I am in the cavernous halls of this ultra modern Airport. We left the warmth of Kata Beach, Phuket yesterday after an early morning walk along the beach, accompanied by many joggers, local fishermen, soaring sea eagles and a mad Kite swimmer. I thought he was destined to be swept out to the distant horizon but was rescued by and elegant local long boat made of solid teak.
We spent a couple of nights on Rawa Island on a primitive resort, no hot showers and only electricity for the fan between 6 pm and 6 am. Out cabin sat on a headland overlooking the turqoise waters, and dense forested hillsides. During the day the beach scattered with day trippers who left mid afternoon. Two minutes across the island was Siam Beach even more deserted and more the reason I had made the effort to visit Thailand.
We did a couple of dives on the Island - the dive company was run by Finnish people and did not appear to be well organised. It was very windy which limited the sites that we could visit. We did one dive off a Long Boat. This entailed lugging all the dive gear down the beach and into a long boat. Then doing a strange contortion to get out of the water into the boat. Our dusky boatman headed out around the headland into choppy waters. There we had to somehow struggle to put on all our gear, 5 of us sat on the gunnels and fell backwards into the water at the divemasters command! I survived this test. Then it was DOWN DOWN DOWN. I couldn't see the bottom and I couldn't see the surface just blue water all around as I constantly blew on my nose to equalise the pressure. I thought we would never reach the bottom! But we did and then swam along the bottom for about 40 minutes amongst big boulders, angel fish, sea cucumbers, corals and many fish. Back on the surface I struggled to put my weight belt, BCD and myself back onto the heaving boat. The second dive we decided to do just from the beach was much more relaxing and enjoyable.
After a couple of days in Paradise it was back to Kata beach and the Sugar Palm resort, booked on the internet at discount prices. It was ultamodern, white tiles, white wall and white bed covers with yellow, purple and orange accent cushions. We spent our last day hooning around on a motorbike, snorkelling and kayaking. The After Beach resturant provided a superb lookout at the sunsetting into the ocean.
We had problems when we reached Bankok airport when Air Asia said they would not let us fly to Ho Chi Minh without a Vietnamese visa but we could easily get a rush visa on the internet. Well that would have worked it the internet terminals were working but after struggling for hours we had no visa. Meanwhile Clive managed to purchase new tickets from Bankok to Peking. So here we are - just in the riches to rags year we have been counting our pennies we did not want extra expenses. The consequences of not flying to Ho Chi Minh would have meant missing all our connections.
It is minus nine here outside - just to prepare us for Canada where it was apparently minus 42 in Banff one morning last week.
It is that time of year and I wish you all lots of yummy food and