Note: Since this story contains two Buddha’s, I’m going to let the deity keep the name and call our good friend Bubbles throughout these posts.
Alternate Title: “masssaaage?”
Day 1 was mostly all travel, however we were all so pumped to be in Thailand the first night, that we did go out and check the scene.
Hell We purposely started flying early and arrived at the airport around 8:30 am. Most of the details about the flights are what you’d expect, full planes, 3 total flights, and Korean Air doesn’t have the air vents for each seat like every other airline I’ve ever been on. I live by those little vents.. but apparently the Korean’s don’t need them.
We had one very long flight from Seattle to Seoul, 11 and 1/2 hours. I slept as much as I could, but I admit I was pretty excited. I managed to get a window seat, and had to dehydrate myself with so little water that I only had to get up to pee once. Based off what I was told, sounds like the guys kept the flight attendants pretty busy with drink requests.
Speaking of the flight attendants, the Korean Air girls are required to have their uniforms in a very specific condition at all times. They are forced to wear this ridiculous, yet awesome little bow around their necks. I couldn’t help but feel bad for them and be turned on just a bit all at the same time by those little bows. You can see a picture of the whole uniform here.
Flight Schedule (All times are local to area): May 4th – 8:30 am – Arrive At Airport – 10:30 am – First flight takes off – 11:30 am – Land in Seattle – 1:10 pm – Second flight takes off May 5th – 4:40 pm – Land in Seoul Korea [Crossed the International Date Line] – 7:00 pm – Third flight takes off – 11:15 pm – Arrive in Phuket, Thailand
At this point, we’ve been traveling for more than 26 hours (including all time spent in airports). It was pretty miserable and I have purposely tried to block out how uncomfortable I was for nearly 12 hours.
A new land. The beginning of the fun started when we arrived in Thailand. I had been asleep on most of the flight and didn’t see or get (not sure which) my Arrival Card, which is a little piece of paper that most countries require on entry, where you claim any of the items you might be carrying that they want to know about. We were in line for the customs agents when we figured out I didn’t have it, and that I needed it. After searching for one for 5 mins, I managed to get a security guard to grab one of the Korean Air flight attendants and she was able to get me one. Customs was quick and uneventful.
Lanes are just a suggestion The ride from Phuket Airport to Patong was prearranged and easy enough for us all to figure out. Soon we were on our way for the hour drive to Patong. I rode by myself, TheGopher and Buddah road together, and ComaD and godoloju rode together. If we weren’t half retarded, we could have probably all rode in one vehicle, but that isn’t the case. It sounds like we all had pretty similar experiences with the ride to Patong. No one gives a shit about lanes, people speed by nearly double the current speed limit, and passing while there’s oncoming traffic is totally viable as long as there’s enough pavement for everything to fit. Every ride we took the entire trip consisted of at least two people saying “Holy shit that was close”. The people of Thailand handled it like it was no big deal, and the entire time we were there, we only saw one accident.
Accommodations I arrived at my hotel last, even though I believe I left the Airport first. We booked through Agoda and everything seemed to work perfectly. We were split between 2 hotels, 3 at one, and 3 at the other. The La Flora Resort, the more expensive of the two was roughly $600 for the 4 nights we stayed there. The Safari Beach Hotel was roughly $200 for the 4 nights, and was where I stayed. There were obvious benefits to the increase in cost, probably the most profound was the beds at the Flora were much softer than the ones at the Safari. However the jungle feel of the Safari was a much funner atmosphere. There were barking frogs in the shrubbery around the Safari that were crazy to hear, I had planned to try to record them but my phone was giving me issues already. I think I’m the only one who booked a smoking room, and the Safari considers smoking on the Balcony a smoking room. I wanted to be able to smoke in bed, but that wasn’t going to happen.
Bangla Road Once everyone was settled we grouped up outside our hotel and headed straight for Bangla road, party central. It was sensory overload and even in the middle of the street we were screaming at one another trying to be heard. Looking back, it was a little slower than some of the other nights, I’m assuming this was just because it was Sunday. We were all looking forward to a few drinks and some food and found a bar ( The Honky Tonk Bar ) very quickly to get the first round going. The Honky Tonk was next door to one of the bars (VIP Room) with girls dancing on the bartop helping to improve the view. It was raining hard and we were already wet from sweat and rain, not that you could tell which was which. We stayed here for one drink and long enough for a couple of us to loose some Connect4 with two of the older bar girls from the bar we were in. When you lost, you had to buy them a drink, which they were quick to down and then move onto the next guy to beat at this little game. I understand its nearly impossible to win a game of Connect4 against these girls.
Someone asked one of the bar girls about some food, and they quickly led us next door to the Aussie Bar where we got our first Thailand meal. No one dipped into the Thai cuisine that heavily the first night. I ordered Chicken Strips and started getting shit about it right away. Everyone raved about their food and was in high spirits. The drink for the night was Chang beer, a local favorite as its cheep and decent, and water. As we ate, drank, and conversed, we watched a group of young white men (maybe 18 to 20) flirt and grope several young Thai girls. The guys seemed like high school graduates on a senior trips or something, and were all pretty drunk. I assume the girls were freelancers but it was hard to tell. We checked out a dance club at the end of Soi Gonzo called the White Room, but since none of us are big dancers we moved on to checking out the rest of Bangla road.
Hey Ladies! We ended up at a small strip club on Soi Seadragon called Suzy Wong’s for a bit and had our first taste of what Phuket thinks of as a strip club. It was definitely wilder than the states, but not nearly as wild as I had heard or as they advertise. The one thing that stands out to me about this club was the little foam sticks that most of the girls carried that they are encouraged to beat guys with. The sticks were about 2 feet long and made an incredibly loud smack when properly wielded but none of the beaten seemed to care. It sounded like it hurt, but all were smiles and grins. Men around the elevated platforms spent more time being beaten with these sticks than they did leering or tossing dollars. I found an image of the foam sticks you can see here. We weren’t there long, less than an hour before we were all exhausted from our travels and feeling the pain in our wallets (I mean sort of.. it was Baht after all. I think I spent the most and got to like 1500 TB or $45)
The group decided to call it a night at this point and we all went back to our respective hotels. I however, planned to regroup. I took a quick shower and grabbed a dry shirt. Honestly I thought everyone had called it a night, but I was dead set on getting a massage the first night so I went back out. I ran into a couple of the guys on my way out of the hotel room and we agreed to go find a massage.
Thai massages are lame Patong is littered with massage parlors, and even more massage girls. The parlors are usually small, strip mall style shops containing anywhere from 2 to 10 girls all catcalling any man that walks by; “Massaaaage?” they would harmonize together, always a question, and sometimes in a tone that was almost headache inducing.
There was one girl in particular that I had been eyeballing near our hotel that I found very quickly and negotiated to go up for a massage. There was only one other girl at this place and one of the guys ended up getting a massage and the other went to his hotel for the evening.
There I am, laying on my stomach on a 3″ mat on the floor, naked except a little towel covering most(?) of my ass, getting a lame massage of my lower legs. And then I hear my buddies voice, roughly 2 feet to my left asking the girl he’d come up with to work on his lower back. It was awkward and I ended up convincing my girl to move us as far to my right as physically possible to put more than a single sheet (super thin cloth they used between the mat’s, less than a sheet) between us.
The massage was quick, and lame, however I left content. Being alone, I walked to the Family Mart (a 7-11 clone) a couple of doors down and bought some smokes, a soda, and pulled out a little more cash out of an ATM. On my way back to the hotel, I stopped and got a whopper from Burger King because I was hoping a full stomach would help me sleep. (All of the restaurants in the area were closed except McD’s and BK, so I didn’t have much choice, but I’ll admit I was looking for something familiar after the last 5 hours).
I got back to my hotel, and sat down to write some notes for this post. The sun was coming up before I went to bed, I believe around 5:30am. I slept like shit, and only for a few hours.
Things we learned that first day: – Thailand Baht or TB is the currency. – Tipping is not really a thing in Patong and is only done with the best of service. – A “Torrential Downpour” is “rain” in Thailand. – Whopper buns are just a little bit soggy in Thailand, I assume (and want to believe) its because of the humidity. – Crazy Place – My phone was having data issues, so I kept missing out on group text messages unless I was on wifi. – Most of the vehicles that were not scooters were pretty new. We theorized that this was because of the Tsunami that hit there in 2014, ruining all the vehicles, forcing people to buy new.