I think the biggest decision was … what do we wear? We left Nelson at 6.30am, leaving behind a frost and a rainy day. Arrived into Christchurch at 7.30am and made our way through customs with out any hassles. Both of us had decided to bring a light jacket as we know we will feel the cold when we return.
Singapore Airlines...wow...I cant rave enough about this. Ok the flight was almost 11 hours and yes after 5 hours I was over it a tad...but … they treat you like kings. Food when ever you want it and if you are a drinker...beware...they top up your drink as soon as it is empty. By the 5 hour mark I was feeling rather heady from all the Rieslings and decided to take a wee Nana nap. I watched all the latest movies and then some tv shows that I really enjoy.
We landed in Singapore but didn't really get a chance to look around as we only had 40mins to find our way to the next flight. What we did see was an awesome water feature with huge fish in it. We no longer needed our jackets but the temp was still pleasant as the whole airport is air conditioned. Our next flight was 1.5 hours long and again we were feed and well looked after.
Phuket..... We landed at 6.40pm and went straight through customs with out a blink. Out side was a man with our name on a board. Thank goodness we had pre arranged this as nothing prepares you for the on slaught of all the people calling for you to use their cars. No sooner had we stepped outside and it poured down with rain. It only lasted 30mins but man did it rain hard!!! Both of us were dripping in sweat as we were both still in jeans and long sleeve tops.
The drive in to Phuket......... Nothing can ready you for the sights you will see. You really have to leave your culture and rights and wrongs behind you as the rules here are like nothing I could have imagined. You can have up to 4 people on a scooter and only 1 has to wear a helmet (a cycle helmet!!) I saw a mother with a baby (4months) draped over her arm while she was riding a scooter with another, young son standing at her feet, utes driving past with up to 10 people on the back all hanging on for grim death. Hundreds and hundreds of scooters and with few road rules it is crazy on the roads. Cars pass on blind corners, scooters pass on the inside and weave through the cars and break neck speeds. So now Shane wants to hire a scooter and go exploring....I am not so keen...yeah I know “chicken shit!!” but.......who wants to spend their holiday on crutches.
We get to our motel at 7.30pm (12.30am NZ time) We check in and get taken to our room. Its a nice room. Its very basic, no cooking at all. So no making coffee in your room etc. We are up on the 4th floor so the shower is very dodgie.... one min its hot and then it goes cold.....we cant seem to get it right yet.
We decide to go for a wee stole up the street to try and get our bearings. It was too much for us....totally overwhelmed us and we retreated to the shelter of our room. It was all too much, each shop (stall) you pass they call for you to “come look” & “cheap for you price” they reach out to shake your hand.....and then don't let go!!! every second shop is a tailor and they are the most pushiest of all. (as if we would really be wanting a full suit in this heat...)
These are just around the corner from the hotel. Just a tiny side alley way.
I need to explain how these look. Picture going to the Nelson flea market … now times it by 10. All these shops are side by side … all selling pretty much the same thing and they want your money. Some of them link together but there are no walls. Each person mans their area and calls to you to come see their stuff, and if you buy from one you will get really pushed to come to theirs. They suss out your size and pull stock out of bags for you to try. If you stop and look at anything they are right there beside you. You dont even get to look at their products before they are pushing on to you what they think you want. The moment you ask “how much?” … you have brought it....then the fun begins. They will say … no buy 3...better price.....then they pull out a calculator and tap in what they want. Then if you hesitate they say .. how much you pay? …. then you tap in your price. When you do this you must make the decision then how much you will really pay. Eg We brought a dress...they asked 650 bht....I said 300....he said 500...I said 400......he said no too low....I said ..ok we done and walked away........I brought them for 400....when they see you are at your price they will settle … I think they have just as much fun with the bartering too.
This is the Plaza that I spent most of my money at. I just adoured shopping in here. There would be well over 100 shops tucked up in here.