Thursday, 29 October 2009

Paradise Thail Style part 1

Well its been a while since I have wrote up my news and so I should write this into segments as I know some of you dont like reading long stuff should.
I have been away to Thailand a favourite country of mine, that makes the fifth time I have been there I think. This time I went south to the Andaman sea to the coastal resort of Krabi and then to the paradise island of Phi Phi. I met one of the best friends a man could have, Tony Nye and his lovely Thai wife Lotus and some great people I used to work with and also really kind and nice friends Cathy and Dean and their sons; Zac and Kye.

Monday was a day at work that went on a bit too long but I was home and dry by 8pm and so could make sure that all was packed and could relax until I had to leave. I had decided to stay home on Tuesday to rest before the holiday and so thats was spent doing not much. I met Yovita at the mall and then after some coffee and some supper we repacked as she brought pretty much everything she could with her ( I am I think partly to blame as I told her to bring stuff, then again I really did not have much idea of what was going to happen )
It was damm hot here on Tuesday night and I think with holiday nerves and hopes I failed quite miserably to sleep at all and instead spend the night watching crap tv until the magic hour of getting up to shower and leave. I managed to eat noodles at 3 and then at the most ungodly time of 4am the alarm went off and into the shower I stumbled.
The taxi arrived around 4.20 so that rushed us more but as it was all packed and there was nothing else to do but turn everything bar the fridge off we locked the door and left.
At 4.30am the toll way is pretty pretty empty. 30 Minutes later we are at the airport. Sweet.
Air Asia is open, straight in, checked in and got the boarding passes. How easy is this ? Ah Fiscal. The taxation of those that dont really have a legal tax position in the country or just me. I went to the fiscal desk and got told to go the BCA desk which is the all the way down to the other end of the airport to pay my tax to a very bored and unhappy man who I guess sits there all morning and counts the money and gives out receipts. Yovita does however have a tax number and so she goes to another counter to have her card swiped and get another receipt. Then we walked all the way back to the fiscal desk to have the man nod his head and then go to immigration to be stamped out.
The immigration man more than happily stamped out Yovita. Then he saw my passport and stamps and my visa and then decided not to let me leave but to walk about with my documents and demand I have all the correct ones to leave. I am so lucky I have an Indonesian gf!!! A few words possibly unkind ones and he reluctantly stamped me out and I was a free man leaving on a jet plane. Free until Starbucks where we made a quick stop for hot coffee and then wandered down to the departure gate.
The flight to Kuala Lumpur was a very easy flight and no worries. Nice and smooth and nothing much happening. Asia's favourite airline was on time and good.
We landed at KL at 9.30 am and it was a nice day. KL airport is big. Very big. So big it has 2 airports. The first is for all airlines, KLM, BA, Thai, Malaysian Air etc and that is a monster place and the second is for Air Asia which is again huge and when we landed there was at least 8 other Air Asia planes there and they land and take off like traffic at a busy bus station. Air Asia also paint there aircraft in many colours. We saw the Oakland Raiders one, The F1 one, The truly Asia one and the standard red and white planes.
Its a big airport and always busy. Immigration is however a slow unhurried place which is frustrating and annoying at the same time. It took 50 mins to get through immigration, christ. That was annoying and then get to the baggage carousel and ours are the only pieces still going round. Then out the arrivals door, turn left into the departures door, found the check in desk and then got the boarding pass and waved the luggage off and then went to find some food and coffee.
The terminal has more facilities than when I first went there, lots of shops, restaurants and the shady overused Macdonalds is now  la carte ( I dont know how that is possible but it is ) and the amount of check in desks is now over 50.
Going swiftly through immigration (you get stamped into and out of KL as Air Asia dont do Transit) the departure lounge is great for international. There is a bar now which serves over priced beer but its cold and its great and so I had one and it was better than I expected.
Our flight was late taking off as expected!!! Thats why I had scheduled in the long gaps between flights but never the less it was late.
The other thing about KL is that is 1 hour ahead of Jakarta and Thailand but it is virtually due north though I dont really know why it is like that.
The flight to Krabi is an hour and it is again totally uneventful. Just a nice flight over some lovely islands and light blue seas and into Krabi.
Thai immigration is just as bad and KL immigration just long queues. But it was worth enduring and stamped in we were.
Sawadeeka is the cry from the girls selling taxis (600bht) but my friend Tony suggested take the bus to the resort for 150 bht and so thats what we did.
The trip the resort took about an hour and it was for me nice as there was so much green to see and I had forgot how much green there is in the world especially as in Jakarta there is some but not that much. It was amazing to see the colours of the trees and grasses etc.
Thailand is pretty much the same all over although here in Krabi there is more mosques and muslim Thais so almost home from home!
The bus finally dropped us off outside the resort and so we wandered down and got met by the receptionist who asked what did I want and I said to stay. I guess I did not look like the kind of people that would stay in a 5 star resort and then I said that I am staying with him and pointed at Tony and the smiles began.
Its 4.30pm.
After hugs and smiles and being told we were given a free upgrade (something to do with getting married which was clearly not true) we had a big room overlooking the swimming pool from the 3rd floor and the sea and it was a lovely place.
Big room, TV, Bed and shower and ice cold air con. Lovely.
Opposite the sea, and sunsets and a bar. The bar was just by the sea and so we walked down and met some more friends from England; Cathy and Dean. I used to work with Cathy when in Safeway and they now run a very successful restaurant in Westbury. Dont know what it is called, mind  I never asked.
Chang Beer. Lovely.
Sunsets. Lovely
Chang Beer. Sunsets. Lovely

And so as the sun went down so did the Chang and the nights drinking and celebrations began....
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