Here's the thing.
When we got to Phuket, and had no idea where we were going, I got all uptight and bitchy - because I *hate* not knowing where I am, or where I am going. I had come south looking for a beach bungalow, pristine white sand, and crystal clear blue water. That is not what I was seeing.
We ended up in Patong Beach, for some reason. It was, in a word, YUCKY. I had my good old Lonely Planet Guidebook, but it was not helping. The travel agent we found was not helping. The streets were crowded, it was hot and dusty, the beaches were packed......it was kind of like Cancun.
I hate Cancun.
So I went stomping off with my family sort of trailing along behind. I was going to find us a place to stay, dammit. First I went to an internet cafe, and tried to find something online. No dice. Leaving the clan sitting at a bar eating ice cream and drinking beer, I squared my shoulders and headed out into the whirling humanity of Patong.
I made it about half a block, when this resort caught my eye.
It was set back from the road, and I couldn't actually SEE the resort - just a few ornate buildings and an archway. But there was a resort back there, according to the sign. And a spa.
I went to the front desk, and inquired. The price was a little high. We had a very stilted conversation with a lot of quizzical looks (desk clerk) and hand gestures (me). Not THAT hand gesture, though usually, yes, you can count on me for that in times of stress. But these were nice, friendly hand gestures, showing how small my children were, and how small my available credit on the credit card was.
We ended up with a big, air conditioned room overlooking plumeria tress and water gardens and the pool. We had a wide verandah and a bathtub and a king-sized bed with a rollaway. It was better then our other options, but I was still pretty chafed at not having the beachfront bungalow.
So I went out and got plastered on 20 bhat ($75 cent) cocktails. I mean, it was the only reasonable response to an unreasonable situation. I started out classy - went to a fancy restaurant with friends, sipped sparking water, demurred when offered wine.......and then things went very, very low brow.
Turns out, the street our hotel was on becomes very, ummmmm, different after dark. All of these bars open up, and the bars are filled with girls of a questionable age, and a questionable chromosomal makeup. Because it turns out a lot of these girls were, uh.......well, they were boys. Ladyboys, they call them.
And it is damned hard to tell boy from girls from ladyboys. Especially after a whole bunch of cocktails.
So our evening passed pleasantly enough with rousing games of "guess the girl" and "does she have a penis?" and also "are those real?" which it turns out can be used to analyze almost everything you see in Patong Beach at night.
Well, after a few hours, a pack of cigarettes, and more then a few drinks, the photos seem to show me, with my skirt tied up around my thighs, hanging onto a pole and, uh, well I wouldn't call it dancing because dude, if not for the pole I would have been face first on the floor. At some point, I realized that there was trouble in paradise. My reaction to our fancy dinner kicked in, and then while walking back to the hotel I realized how incredibly hammered I was.
Really fucking hammered, turns out.
I somehow made it to our room, and while trying to knock quietly somehow pushed the unlatched door open, and somehow ended up sliding into the room face first with my skirt over my head. Thank god, the children were asleep. I crawled over to the bed, handed my phone to Sami, begged him to text my friends that I had made it back safe, and headed directly to the bathroom.
The next morning dawned bright and early. We had breakfast. I was OK-ish. And we got the hell out of Patong.
In our next chapter, we'll talk about the cool things we found to do, and where you should go instead of Phuket. M'kay?
6 hours ago