Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Chalong and thanks for all the honey



Since I missed Phuket off my enthusiastic criss-crossing of Thailand the first time around in 2011, I was keen to try to recapture that youthful, cynical optimism before the rest of Southeast Asia suffocated the optimism part with its repetitive temples, endless stuffy weather and ubiquitous taxi driver scum.

You can already tell it didn't exactly work, but it was fun to climb aboard the lazy tourist conveyor belt for another round. Here's everything there is to see in Phuket, or more accurately, the itinerary in the leaflet that looked slightly better than the others that were basically the same because it swapped inhumane elephant riding for an only slightly inhumane bird show (coming next time). Now I don't ever need to go back to Phuket.


Kata Viewpoint



Behind the trees lie Kata, Karon (where we stayed) and the horrors of Patong hidden over the cape. Never did find out what that little island was



The 'Big Buddha,' as it's lazily known by foreigners (or 'Big Budderr' in the over-compensating faux-American accent our tour guide sometimes attempted), is forced to look down over sleazy massage parlours and ladyboy cabarets like a slightly less enthusiastic Rio Jesus


'Big Buddha'



Yeah right, 'lazy foreigners.' Don't get all superior with your long Buddha statue name if you're not going to make the effort to translate it. We're the ones paying for this.

Apparently this is indeed the biggest Buddha I've seen at 45 metres, though counting the base is cheating a bit (others have been 34 metres tall and 37 metres lying down. What's your Buddha best?)



Construction has been ongoing for 10 years now, just a few years past the projected completion date. I'd make a comment about the Edinburgh trams, except they're apparently up and running now. How are Fringe comedians going to pad out their sets now?



Don't be too impressed; the minibus took us all but the last 10 metres of the way


Chalong Temple



It's a temple, probably important if you like that sort of thing



I'm past caring


Bee Farm



Yeah, they tagged on the usual assortment of local businesses that tried to guilt trip me into buying things I have no interest in.

After making numerous reluctant stops at Egyptian perfume warehouses, Thai clothiers, corporate tribe villages and floating markets, Malaysian tea plantations and strawberry farms, Indonesian agro-tourism farms, Sri Lankan tea factories and Vietnamese fruit farms, I wasn't under any illusions I'd actually see any bees doing anything interesting. I just looked forward to the free, stingy (but not stingy) coffee samples until we were allowed to leave



It wasn't totally without its charms


Cashew Nut Factory



The vultures with their baskets didn't even bother with subtlety this time. The free cashew juice was quite nice, but I was disappointed at the lack of anthropomorphic sexy nuts



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