The next morning, after the whole waitress-jumping-out-of-the-hedge affair, we went for breakfast, with me more determined than ever before to eat as much as possible so as not to have to pay for another expensive lunch in this seemingly quite pricey resort town. And overall, it was quite a successful breakfast, as I ploughed through two fresh omelettes, about 5 slices of toast, countless plates of rice and chicken/lamb/beef – to the point that I felt more like a submarine than someone going for a swim when I finally got round to climbing into the pool a few hours later on. Even at that, some horrible bird with a yellow beak that was seemingly determined to freak me out by nicking my stuff, was able to more or less get as close as it wanted for all the movement I was willing to do. So, I swam and swam and hoped that all those old stories you hear when you’re a kid about not swimming for a few hours after eating or else you (apparently) ‘might get sick’ in the pool didn’t actually have any substance to them. That afternoon though, as hunger slowly struck once again, it was definitely time to wander out onto the street and see what else there was – to be honest, we had presumed from what we could see of the place the evening we arrived, that there wasn’t really much to this whole town, a couple of little hut-like shops maybe and that was about it. But sometime around 2 O’clock, things changed all for the better, when some French tourists, who Anna informed me had been gone no longer than 20 minutes, turned up to the poolside with something I recognised instantly…a brown paper take-out bag from a McDonalds. And if they were only gone 20 minutes, then they couldn’t even have got too far driving.
Either way, we were on the case – and it was finally time to leave the resort, which as I said to Anna, had a certain ‘Club Med’ style to it in so far as it actually was quite difficult to leave the place…but when cheap food calls, then it’s a necessity. So we came out of the hotel, turned left and walked up the street, past people trying to sell me a new suit, people trying to sell us both a massage, cocktails, clothes, currency exchange, taxi ride’s…and suddenly, out of absolutely nowhere, there it was, almost tempting me in with pictures of McDonald’s food made to look far nicer than it ever actually is, along with huge price signs that were so affordable I momentarily toyed with the idea of having all our meals in McDonald’s from then on. So, for at least a few minutes, everything suddenly became extremely agreeable again and after all that, I found my way to buying new flip-flops – after a little accident the previous night with mine. Basically, I’d been trying to cross some sort of a waterway, only the current was actually somewhat stronger than I’d counted on, and as I walked across, my flip-flop sort of got stuck in the sand and when I went to take my next step, it was obviously so embedded into the sand and the pressure of the water so strong that as I took my step forward, the straps on it actually gave in completely…leaving me to walk around the extremely swanky hotel all morning not knowing exactly when the straps would undo themselves from my pathetic home-made fixing effort again; and every now and again they did, suddenly falling off my foot when, for example, I had a plate full of toast and was trying to walk back to my table. During the day, it got so bad that I actually had to ‘fix’ them 5 times before we reached McDonald’s. So, for the equivalent of around â‚¬3, I had new flip flops, ones that didn’t snap every 30 metres.
Probably the most useful thing we found though between the McDonald’s and our hotel, was this tiny little shed-like restaurant across the road, the name of which I can’t even remember any longer. We decided, judging by the look of it, to give it a try later on and see if we couldn’t knock a few more baht off the cost of our evening meal, while simultaneously saving us from the embarrassment of having to actually eat our last holiday evening meal in McDonald’s. So we returned, swam, and prepared to do battle – given what I’d seen so far, I was half expecting to find that the restaurant had also set their prices in line with our own hotel’s restaurant. So we wandered up the driveway into their hut, hoping to see a menu in advance of actually reaching the front door (although it’s just the done thing over here, I still find it extremely awkward to walk into a restaurant, ask to see the menu, see it, and then just leave). Things weren’t off to a great start – on the outside of the place, on a blackboard, they had fresh crab advertised, which didn’t do much for either of us. But, when we finally got to see the menu (by which stage the woman had somehow rather magically ushered us into two seats right by the railing looking out over the town), things came together perfectly. Firstly, beer was cheap, then secondly food was cheap, and finally, when it all arrived, the portions were more than satisfying and it was all delicious! From there, we wandered up to a cocktail bar to have ‘one for the road’, which it truly was since we actually had walked further up the road from our hotel to get there, and now needed to walk back down the exact same road to get home.
Last days anywhere are always a bit weird, because if you happen to be staying in the hotel for the whole day, you never really know what you’re supposed to be doing, nor can you really go anywhere since you know you’ll need to leave as early as possible to get back to the chaos of the airport. So, we hung around, swam some more and then tried to go back to our new favourite restaurant for lunch (only it was closed), before returning back to our pool for one last look, and into the car for the long drive back to Phuket Airport. Travelling itself is inherently tiring and even though we weren’t actually doing any driving ourselves, we both drifted in and out of sleep during the 1 hour journey back to the airport, before finally the lights of the airport’s runway came back into view as a plane taxied along right on the other side of the fence from us. From there, things reverted slightly more back to normality – check-in, immigration, security, onto the plane, back off the plane, immigration and the long bus journey back into Kuala Lumpur, as the clock told us it was coming towards two in the morning. KL’s taxi drivers are an awkward breed – they flat out refuse to use the meter, despite the fact that all their taxi’s have signs plastered on the side saying that it is prohibited to haggle and everyone has to use the meter. Anyway, during the day, it’s quite normal to find at least one or two taxi drivers out of a bunch that are willing to comply with their own rules on the side of their cars, but night time seems to be particularly problematic. Sure enough, not one taxi driver was willing to take us from KL Sentral to our place in Bukit Bintang (around a 10 Ringgit journey at most) for anything less than 30 Ringgit – stating that not only did the prices go up after midnight (which they genuinely do), but also the use of the meter was somehow not necessary then too.
Finally, though, one driver was willing to see sense and before long we were back, listening to the sounds of traffic, construction and shouting, as opposed to calm and tranquillity. Home again, home again…