Sunday, July 16, 2017

July 15 – Last day in Phuket

I have a real great pair of shorts. They are perfect shorts for backpacking as they have deep pockets that snap shut, a button fly, and are extremely comfortable. During our last trip to Asia I wore them practically every day because they were the best and my other shorts just didn’t compare. When it came to packing for this trip, I obviously wanted to take them again. But my dear wife forbade me from taking them, citing reasons such as they are too old, too faded, too ugly, and so on. So I agreed to leave them behind and take a bunch of fancy new shorts.

On the morning of our last day in Canada, I found the shorts when Ana was in the shower and snuck them into my bag. I shoved them way down into the pack so that she wouldn’t see them, because I had a feeling she would sense my treachery. But she didn’t. So yesterday when we were going through that big storm and Tony was at the helm, I had to go to the front of the boat and lash down the kayak as it was getting whipped around by the wind. In doing so I got absolutely soaked so had to change my shorts. I decided it was time for the unveiling. I had previously told Tony and Angela about my trickery so they must have been anxious for the big reveal.

I went down into our cabin, changed into my awesome shorts, walked out to the back deck where everybody was sitting and stood there. Ana looked at me, and then looked at the shorts. Her eyes started to squint, like she couldn’t believe what she was seeing. Then she looked back at me and said sternly, “Where did you get those?”

“I found them in my bag!” I replied. “I don’t know how they got there.”

Angela and Tony burst out laughing. I was relieved when Ana didn’t force me to take them off and put them in the garbage bin. Maybe she realized that they are actually very nice shorts and had some life left in them yet. Or maybe dogged persistence pays off? In any case, I’m still wearing them and don’t plan on taking them off anytime soon.

We had to have the boat back by noon and were about 18 miles away from the marina so we pulled anchor after morning coffee and got on our way. I caught a touch of whatever made the others sick and had a pretty dodgy stomach, but it was bearable. There was a beautiful wind, so we cut the engine and went with sails only. Previous to this we had done mostly motor sailing, so it was a real pleasure to do some actual, quiet sailing without the drone of the engines. While we were underway the ladies used up the last of our cheese and bread by making oven baked cheese toast – delicious.

Stella was sitting with me in the cockpit and, usual, was counting the jellyfish that we passed by. Tony came by and said, “Okay Stella. I’m tired of hearing all this talk about jellyfish. From now on, say the words ‘plastic bag’ instead. That can be a code for jellyfish.”

“OK,” Stella said.

A while later we were still sitting together at the helm when Stella points into the water and says to me, “Look Dad, a plastic bag.”

“Oh, ha ha,” I said, with a wink.

“No Dad, it really was a plastic bag.”

We sailed up to the next island group and were planning on stopping for a swim, but the crew was anxious to get back so we decided to carry on. The wind was blowing steadily from the west making for a brisk sail, hitting over eight knots at times. The cat sailed like a dream and I did my best to take a permanent mental photograph of how life was right at that at time, because I couldn’t imagine it being much better. Such a perfect way to finish up this phase of our trip.

I docked the boat into our slip without any issues and we loaded up all of our gear into the dock buggies while Mellissa did the check-out procedure. She also gave Tony, Ana and I a tour of two other boats in their charter fleet – the Nautitech Open 40 and a Lagoon 46. The Lagoon was particularly nice, and that extra 6 feet made for a much larger boat with a seating area in front by the trampoline nets and a fly bridge with seating and sunbeds for eight people. Maybe next time.

We hired a min-bus taxi to take us to our hotel, the Canal Resort, for our last night in Phuket. While Ana walked over to the office to get us checked in, we unloaded all our bags and set them onto the ground. Angela noticed a pile of dog droppings just off the sidewalk and warned everybody to watch out. I put down a couple of shopping bags by the turds, and then unloaded a few more and when I came back to get the first bag the turds had vanished! Strange, I thought. We started carrying the bags down to our room, and I passed Tony who was scraping the mashed up turds from the bottom of his right flip flop.

“That’s putting the ‘poo’ in Phuket!” he said. I agreed wholeheartedly and then held my breath as I walked by him.

It was a very cute, small hotel with large, air conditioned rooms and a neat little freshwater pool. There was also a small “happy hour” table set up next to the pool with a few chairs, a thatched roof canopy, and this creepy plant that looked exactly like a human hand with sprouts shooting out at the end of the fingers. It just might show up in my next mini horror novel.

Angela and Stella found a dead lizard in the pool filter so I plucked it out and set it up on the grass so we could fool Magnus, but he saw through the rouse and knew right away that it was a stiff. We all had a swim in the nice cool pool and then Maddy got busy washing some of her clothes and put them out in the hot sun to dry. I wasn’t feeling so great so I laid down in the room for a while. The rest of the gang took a long walk out in search of a pizza place, along the way encountering a charging rat that scared the bejesus out of Ana. After a quick drink and some pizza, everybody retired for the night in preparation for our 7 am flight the next morning.

Thanks Phuket, it’s been a slice.

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