This was the day we needed to catch our flight, sort of. Our flight was 15 mins after midnight, so technically it was the next day, but there was no need for hotel rooms. We were all packed up and on the van headed to the airport around noon. The ladies all gathered to say good bye, and we took a picture with Grams, she had maybe 15 of these hanging on the in the center area. The plan was to get to the airport, ditch our bags, and visit somewhere near the airport.
During breakfast, Godoloju was still not feeling great and said something to Grams about it. She left for about 10 mins and came back with a couple of different medications, one was their version of aspirin, and the other was I think either a powder or a paste that she mixed into a liquid. It was a dark color by the time I arrived on scene my guess is either coffee or water. Godoloju spent a minute or so arguing with her about it, not really wanting to take something unknown, but she wasn’t having it, and he ended up drinking it. My only thought was ‘lets hope that wasn’t a laxative’.
We were about 15 minutes into the drive when we started asking the driver if there was a temple or something on the way, something we could get in and see quick. The driver ended up calling Grams and having us talk to her over the phone, she then relayed the message to him, and he seemed good with it. Godoloju was raving about whatever medication Grams had given him, so +1 for Grams.
The lazy Buddha We were headed to something we understood as a temple, but ended up being a site called The Relaxing Buddha. It was kinda a temple, but more of a cool cave, a collection of Buddha statues, and some monkey’s, all built into one tourist trap, that was about half finished. There was a small shops area that we bought some drinks and banana’s to feed to the monkeys. These were smaller monkeys, but sometimes just entertaining to watch. It was a hot day and the cave held in the heat, there was a person who would lead you up a path to the top of the cave, I wasn’t interested. The guys said it was amazingly hot up there, and I could see the bats from where I was.
We were back on the road in probably 45 minutes and had about an hour left in our drive to the airport. I slept most of this drive, I think the guys just kinda hung out. We got to the airport, found the place to store our bags, and hopped a taxi to a little beach 10 mins away called Mai Khao Beach. We went to basically the first restaurant we found and had a relaxing meal. Bucho’s flight was several hours before the rest of ours, so we hung out until it was time for him to head to the airport.
The rest of us started walking down the street to see what troubles we could get into. The end of the road we were on ended in a national park camping area, but it still had a bar, so the guys grabbed some drinks. We turned around to backtrack and go down the other side when someone suggested we go down this side street. The side street was probably 300 ft long and consisted of like 7 shops. We spent maybe 15-20 mins trying on a few thin shirts at a shop at the end of the street, and then decided to order wine in a little air conditioned ( humm ) wine store. Some pretty intense peer pressure caused me to temp fate and to drink a couple of glasses. It was stupid hot.
We still had time for a meal, so we stopped at bar called The Boss and had drinks and some food. While we were eating, TheGopher and Godoloju remembered that the Phuket Airport is one where you can get next to the end of the runway and possibly experience being thrown by the wind off a landing airplane. I’ll admit I wasn’t thrilled about this idea, but I figured I’d be able to stand out of the way while Godoloju was flying through the air. We asked our waitress about it and she told us it was about 10 minutes down the beach. We decided to go for it and headed to go walk down the beach. We went about 10 minutes and someone decided that it was going to be too long of a walk and that we should get a cab there, so we walked all the way back to the bar to find someone that could call a taxi for us.
It took us a few to explain what we were trying to do to the taxi people, but they ordered us a cab and we got a map with directions going. Our cab driver still didn’t really get it and ended up asking some locals about it before taking us to a path way that actually took us to the correct area of the beach, again, after about 10 minutes of walking, back, in the direction we had been walking before. We finally found the place, but because of the wind direction, the planes were landing in the wrong direction and it was a bust. From where we were standing, we could see about 300 ft away the area of the beach where we were when we decided to turn around. We watched 2 planes take off and then started hiking back to our van driver.
Travel Starts 1 hour later we had arrived at the airport, attempted to check in, been told to go get our bags, retrieved our bags, checked in, and was through security. For the most part, it was a pretty smooth experience. We still had about an hour before our flight, we found a little bar and ordered some drinks. Some of us had planned a head a bit and had a change of clothes ready so we weren’t stinking of sweat the whole flight.
The first flight was from Phuket to Seoul, like 6 hours, and I slept almost the whole thing. I think pretty much everyone did. We had nearly an 8 hour layover in Seoul and wanted to try getting out of the airport and going somewhere, at least for a meal. It worked perfectly. Customs basically ignored us because we were only looking for a few hours, their baggage storage area was easy to find and we were in a cab on our way to Seoul which was about 1 hour away. That map isn’t the best, I couldn’t get it all the way into Seoul.
Seoul, S. Korea – the future Seoul was awesome. The landscape was hilly and covered in trees in some areas, and beaches and flat areas, all in a very small area for all the differences. The city was pretty big and stretched across everything that was visible. For a city of that size, and that many people, it was amazingly clean, super modern, and kinda felt like the future. There was tech everywhere, from their advertisements, the the buttons that open doors, to the toilets. Instead of all the really tall buildings being in one central area, there were clusters of them scattered everywhere, it was like there were several (10+) city centers.
Our taxi dropped us off and told us to meet him in 3 hours in the exact same spot. He had taken us to an area that was an indoor / outdoor / underground mall with hundreds of shops and restaurants. We walked down a couple of blocks, turned a corner and picked a restaurant because they had something delicious looking on their sign outside. It was a single door on the street that had a set of stairs leading up one flight to the restaurant. The place was clean inside, just opening, and they sat us down instantly. The table had a large gas skillet installed into the middle of it and it was about then that we realized that they were going to be cooking in front of us. Foods and drinks were ordered and they helped us with the more complicated cooking of the things. We shared the food all around, and a large milk carton of Sake. Its a little shocking to see a bill say 120,000 (wan) on it, but it was like $100.
We went back to strolling around the area, just taking it all in for the next hour or so, we saw a cat cafe (bring ur cat to coffee) and went into the underground area that was basically an extension of their subway system. It was all still very cool, modern, and positive future-like. We met with our taxi and headed back to the airport to catch our next flight, the whole process was super fast and very easy. We grabbed a couple of drinks at a bar in the airport and waited for the long, dreaded flight.
Another long flight It wasn’t until we were on the plane that I was sure that I was in a middle seat, for 10+ hours. Sitting in my seat, praying that I was going to be in between to midgets, suddenly the passengers stopped and I was all alone in my row. I could see the guys and they were all in an exit row about 3 rows in front of me, packed in. There were empty rows all over the flight and people started moving to them, ComaD scored an empty row and Godoloju joined him. The trip was very pleasant having that much space to myself, and I enjoyed it thoroughly, even laying down to sleep. It was still a long flight, but its amazing how much easier it is to handle with just a little bit more space. Also, we were in a jet stream so the flight was more like 9 hours intead of 10+. Godoloju was jumping from row to row (rows with us in them) a bit trying to get the flight attendants to bring him drinks a little faster, they finally caught on and told him he had to wait a bit. I looked back a bit later and he was passed out, so I think he got what he was looking for.
In Seattle, we had to go out of security anyways changing from international to domestic terminals, so we grabbed a smoke or four. We then just sat and waited for our last flight, everything was just like any other flight at this point. Fly, land, smoke, ride, home.