Archive for the ‘Andaman Coast and Phuket Road Trip 2011’ Category

Anna from Amsterdam shows us our villa and asks for a credit card, in case we exceed the Thb 5000 / $200 limit for the minibar. I don't think so

It It was no coincidence that we had to check into the Banyan Tree Phuket resort after the G’s flights home . Coleen had won a 3 night stay there, at a media event (ie sponsor’s givaways)  last December. It was worth US$1950 and we had the chance to redeem it almost 7 months later. Having the G’s on a road trip to Phuket for 6 whole days, that was the coincidence. Friday to Sunday was our ‘now time’

With our G-sitting duties done, I spent most of my time by the pool, on the deck chair, checking out cloud movements during the day and the stars during the night, while indoors, well one can zone out in the jacuzzi or in front of the  big screen. I don’t recall my board shorts being completely dry in those 72 hours.

One huge room with a mattress on the raised floor

Office ? Nope !

The living room opens to this

Keeping out prying eyes

This was left outside our door. Did not use it at all as the tyres were half inflated and seat post was stuck

The grounds were really expansive and well manicured, a far cry from the abandoned tin mining pools in the 70's

On our walks we got to see the 'double pool' villas. One word, huge

a second pool surrounds the glass walled bedroom

What a living room

Even after a heavy downpour, the sunset on the Andaman Sea was amazing


I was contemplating other titles like ‘Coping with the Gs’ or “Getting on with the Gs’ but Road Trip sounds best as, it really describes an almost 800 kms journey up and down the Andaman Coast of Southern Thailand with the G’s.

Who are they, these Gs, you ask?  In short the Gs are my parents, both with a combined age of  158 years, which makes me a half century young too. ‘G’ started out as short for geriatric, a none too nice term for sometimes grumbling/feuding parents.

I take full blame for wittily coining it. It has stuck on with my better half and me, as a reference code word when referring to mum and dad. We now regard the letter G as a  loving term, without any sarcasm, well almost.

When their words and deeds defy logic or rational thought, we usually take a deep breath and say, “It’s the Gs”  Just fall back and accept come what may.  More micro managing with whyfores and therefores will only lead you faster in to G-hood.

There’s even a G 1 and G 2. (Not to be confused with Canon Powershot cameras)

When their moods are nice and correspondingly their offsprings will be too, G is uped a few notches to Genial Grandparents, though in a single blinding moment any one G can become ‘Grumbling’

With the meta out of the way here’s a look at the G’s and Us on a road trip.  All of 6 days, it’s trails and tribulations had a special added element, just to keep things in balance or add to the potent mix of grumbling, sighing and gereral well being of the non Gs, seated up front.

It’s Mom’s friend from Church, 80 year old Aunt Dorothy. Recently widowed, she has all the power of a single woman again, but we found her to be genial, confident, courteous and all round very nice to ‘be with’ (Much to Dad’s instant consternation and impatience, mostly because, she’s not him. Mom has her own special patented brand of G-ness, it’s a bit delayed, in that I’ll hear the negatives and my shortcomings in the following…..months!)

Just to recap, we had done another road trip in the Thai north in 2009, with the third party being a mum in law from Malaysia. People say I am brave, but I have to be as I hold almost all the cash, keys to the car, hotel choices and maps in my head.

Of course there are many compliments too  from friends who do not have the time nor patience to carry out  such a long, taxing 1300 kms cross country trip 24/7 with their own special set of Gs,  but see that 2009 trip was much too long, 13 days. I blame myself for wanting to explore new cycling routes. We have halved the duration now.

This is Road Trip V 2.0 and I’m getting smarter.

Click on photos to embiggen.

Just a week from returning, Dad’s fondest memory of the trip was my navigation skills without a map. (I had cycled the road to Ranong and further north, in May last year) and his many durian feasts. Not much else. While I credit Mom for holding hands and helping Dad across busy roads, packing his stuff each night, taking medication, and even edging him on to marry the durian lady with much laughter all around. That’s so like our Gs doing things that will bewilder us once in a while.

Trips like this seem to bond the G’s for a while, before they get back to their set ways back home. Having to co exist with each other in a different enviornment, does bring out the best in them, and we know that a 3rd party friend or relative nearby always makes them think twice about making a scene.

Mom is looking forward to another trip next year while Dad in his own impatient way, says why not next month, we’re not getting any younger. I don’t blame him as he used to disappear to Thailand for 2 weeks each, and  did that 3 times back as recently as 2009.

Even I don’t do that no matter how many nice bicycles (and a very understanding wife) I have. The last 2 years have not been easy what with insomnia and having to walk much slower with a walking stick. (I’ll have mine in carbon or titanium please)  2010 was a zero travel year for him (visits to hospitals don’t count) and it does, to put it bluntly, suck not being able to go where you want to. If an ageing G says, “Sh*t, I haven’t gone to Thailand for more than a year” I’d better have a back up plan.

That was said with much anger and frustration compared with a sadly poignant admission, “Christopher, I don’t think I can travel alone anymore” upon our return last week. We all know he shouldn’t anyway, what with some memory loss, he might miss his return flight or easily fall prey to some con artist, but this is one sad truth that all of us will have to face someday. ;-(

Latest intel from Mom says Aunt Dorothy is keen to play 3rd party again. Wow, that soon.

I sort of have a Road Trip V 3.0 in my head, but I must also have some kind of bicycle in the back of the car, or back in the hotel, maybe cycling around at midnight in a strange town, to delay the onslaught of my own G-ness.