A Travellerspoint blog

Beach Time

Friday

sunny 29 °C

I'm starting to get messages about not updating the blog from those back home - this relaxing is hard work, updating the blog needs to be done in between exploring new areas of Kata, getting a tan, swimming, working out if I'm having the fish or fruit for lunch and having an entertaining time with the local traders negotiating rock bottom prices on rubbish I really don't need. Sometimes I win, sometimes they win. I have noticed that it's the women who are much harder to negotiate with. Well Friday, Camilla and I decided to head south for breakfast, all you can eat is great, but it's all bacon, sausages, omelette etc whilst I don't mind occasionally, day after day become a challenge, and Camilla would much rather Museli & Yogurt. We found a nice restaurant with great views over looking the sea. There were 2 wedding couples on the beach with their photographer guiding the poses these married couples were meant to take - talk about unnatural, but the ambiance would live with them forever. Breakfast ended up costing more than normal, the Latte costs as much as an omelette with 2 slices of toast and jam. In fact finding a decent coffee is a challenge in Thailand, it seems to be American filtered coffee. Today is a day for the beach and some swimming. At the moment the waves are strong, pulling you in all directions, and the sand under the waves does not form a gradual slope, it's very undulating. One step and you go from being knee high to waist deep, as the next wave crashes over your head. I took the GoPro and hope to upload some of the footage as part of the blog. It's a good workout and later that evening I can still feel the muscles recovering. All up we spent far too long in the sun, Camilla has been lucky and turned golden brown, as for me tomato coloured is the best description I can come up with. One thing we have noticed is that being low season the tail boats are not around, and the place has lost some of the festive atmosphere we experienced 18 months ago.
For lunch the boys tried the pizza from the Italian resturant, and gave them the thumbs up.
After our evening meal in the newly discovered southern area of the town, Millie and I headed up to the Black Canyon Coffee Club for some live entertainment, it's meant to be Elvis orientated, but we seemed to get a lot of Kenny Rodgers, still they are all foot tapping tunes that go will with a few cocktails. I did get a bit worried when one of the bar tenders asked if I wanted 'Sex on the beach' until I discovered that he meant a cocktail of the same name!

Posted by peter.dudley 03:00 Archived in Thailand

Time to buy a Timeshare

Thursday

rain 28 °C

Matt and James headed off to the right of the accommodation to the Buffalo restaurant as they felt it was better for breakfast than the all you can eat to the left. However with it being low season many places are closed or open only during selective hours, and buffalo is one of those places, so it was off to the all you can eat for their familiar menu. The boys had promised that they would be independent from Camilla and myself so they are effectivly independant, except for the evening meal feed.. Beaches to the south of Kata had been suggested, so we were going to walk over the hill to see what we could find, the exercise would be good for us having spent so long cooped up in the airplane. Just as we left we were accosted by Paul, he is a pom from Geordie land, a big guy who (claims) has been over here 6 years with his wife, just had a child etc. Those who know us know I have cynic written all over me, but Camilla has sucker, so we duly open his scratchie and surprise surprise we have 'won', but to claim our prize we have to go through a 90 minute presentation on timeshare. I'm ready to walk on but Millie is getting excited, hey we get a free Taxi to Patong and back, it's not like the walk and the beaches will go away, and we had earlier in the day briefly discussed the idea of looking at a timeshare in Thailand, so let's play the game. We inform Paul that we will sign nothing until both an accountant and solicitor have reviewed the contract. That's OK he assures us as we hop into a Taxi. In Patong we are introduced to Rosanne, a young Canadian who has been over here 4 years working for the company 'Absolute World', she supplies us with a coffee and we have a chat, we must have passed the first hurdle as we are introduced to a manager, again a big english guy with has been in hospitality / travel for over 20 years etc. Interestingly the conversation was more about him and what he had done. We passed that hurdle and were now allowed to be shown some of the hotels available in Patong. It's all so heavily scripted I can see how people get suckered into these things, it's so easy to predict the next steps. It's pissing down with rain but we head out to 'Twin Sands' a newish hotel, that does seem quite empty, I ask about occupancy rates, Rosanne has no idea and has never been asked that before. I explain that with a low occupancy rate they will not be making much money and I lose my investment, with high occupancy rates there is no suitable accommodation available for the members. The hotel has great views across two bays, one on each side of the saddle the hotel has been built in, but it's out of the way and isolated, there is nothing to do except stay in the hotel.
Finally we head back to the main hotel / office, along with numerous others and go through the presentation. All along I have set Rosanne expectations that nothing gets signed on the day, and nothing gets signed until I have done my independent research and had both an accountant and solicitor review the contract. Rosanne does a good job of answering the questions she is allowed to answer and avoiding the ones that matter, like what are we actually signing up for and how much will it be costing us. Eventually we are introduced to Erwin, the first thing Rosanne says is that whilst we are interested we have made it very clear that we will not be signing anything. Erwin launches into a 'you have to sign today if you want all of the additional benefits'. At this point I get into 'Peter Mode', and point out that anyone who insists we sign to day is either lying, or hiding something, or both, the pitch made by Rosanne goes downhill rapidly from there and she appears to be visibly shaken. As part of our 'exit interview' Warren wants to get details on how the people performed. We tell him. Bugger me he then has yet another offer for us. Just pay $791 (didn't say which currency) and get temporary membership for 18 months. We head off into Patong for a beer and lunch, and discuss the days entertainment. So long as we get back to the hotel / office by 16:00 there's a free Taxi back to Kata. We return with me anticipating them having yet another go at us!! - it doesn't happen.
On getting back to the bungalow I start to check out Absolute World. Everywhere there are negative comments about people being given the hard sell then getting back to their country of origin and having a change of mine. Absolute then send in the solicitors and debt collectors for breach of contract, although it appears than they have never gone beyond the letter stage. Frankly if people sign contracts without performing some kind of due diligence then the ongoing issues and loss of $$$ becomes an expensive lesson for them. Absolute World may have a great product, but if they have, then finding details was drowned out by the noise of silly people signing contracts for something they didn't want in the first place. It was a very entertaining day.
Our evening meal was at a pseudo Italian, whilst we ate Thai style, the pizza's on the table next to us looked very appetising. The boys seem to have no problems what so ever ordering beer's, even though the drinking age in Thailand is 20 (or 21).

Posted by peter.dudley 03:00 Archived in Thailand Tagged world scams absolute

Arrival in Kata

Wednesday

storm 28 °C

The flight from KL to Phuket was uneventful, it was very overcast and raining all the way so those with windows seats just saw the rain streaming across the windows and a backdrop of clouds, nothing to write home about. There were some squadies (soldiers) on board sitting just behind Camilla and myself, who stuck out on three counts a) their deportment and swagger, a bunch of cocky buggers b) their dress, all the back packs were of military style with their surnames written on them and c) their language when discussing their plans for hitting Phuket, their 'raping of the ATM', 'planned insertions', and 'phases of the operation'. I guess soldiers the world over are all the same!!
We landed and passed customs and immigration with no issues, the ATM was waiting and spat out the required cash. I always get worries that the first time I use it the card will get swallowed and we will be left financially stranded. On exiting the airport we were swarmed with the usual Taxi, Taxi, Taxi harassment. I asked one guy how much to which his reply was B1400, I laughed and suggested B750, his response was that that was last years price. Well it can't double in one year was my retort. Anyway the Taxi desk had the prices, B200 per person for a shared minibus, so we agreed (with another guy) B900 for a Taxi that would take us straight to the hotel, with no stops to confirm our accommodation along the way. He did have to stop once to 'sign in' but we were not given the hard sell. I also had the GPS on my phone fired up, and I'm sure he took the direct route.
We noticed much more building going on particularly around the airport, but somehow it just seemed so familiar, we passed places and commented time and again 'remember ....'. It was raining all the way to Kata and I mean raining, serious rain and it didn't stop until midday Thursday. Supper was had 2 doors down from Tomato restaurant (can't recall the name), Matt and I had steak, forgetting that the Thai's have no idea how to cook steak, unless you go to a restaurant that specialises in steak. The things we forget, stick to the Thai meals.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 02:00 Archived in Thailand

KL International

sunny 24 °C

I bashed in the entry last night really just to confirm that I still had access. 2 Years ago I did a blog of my trip to Europe, meeting Alex and her friend Olivia, which can be found here, so I thought I'd have a go at recording this trip to Phuket, Thailand - Ricco's @ Kata to be specific. We came here at the end of the girls trip at the start of 2012, all 11 of us and had a really good time. Millie has been suggesting for some time that we should have a break, and one evening came to me with a deal that could not be turned down. The flights back were half price and leaving a day earlier than planned meant we saved a further $125, a saving that paid for the accommodation, and over $1400 on the full price; well done Millie.
Last night was not quite frantic, but busy. The friends who came with us in 2012, are house sitting whilst we are away and they have their floors revarnished - works out well for everyone - but there was a heap of washing to get cleaned, house to be tidied and the like. Along with that, Matthew was involved in a Alcohol & Drug presentation at school. Millie washed and cleaned, & I wore the beer goggles and tried to negotiate a maze the students had constructed. I had no idea that being so drunk has that much effect, such a new experience (!!!). Then off to Sofia's (one of our local Italian joints) for a massive feed before we headed to the airport. Getting to and on the plane was uneventful, except Matt & I both purchased new phones and I was trying to claim the GST back - it appears that you have to take original receipts, my copies were not accepted. Still the claim is in the system and I can sent the originals in once we get back.
The flight was like every other long haul flight - they call them long haul for a reason, but it was through the night, which means we get to Thailand at 13:00. We could have taken a shorter (and much more expensive) flight, but it flys during the day and you arrive in Thailand in the evening, so we scored and extra half day doing it this way.
The chicken pie & coffee (breakfast) are both getting cold, so it's time to sign off. Hopefully an update later, and a photo or two of the accomodation.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 17:42 Archived in Malaysia Tagged airport day budget 1 international kl

Lets sea what happens

Time to head off

OK it's early evening on Tuesday and everythings happening, heaven knows when I might have time to update this blog, but it's see. I did one in 2011 when I went to Europe to meet Alex. I've totally left this to the last minute, told no one whats happening etc. There may be an update later.

pcd

Posted by peter.dudley 01:09 Archived in Australia

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