The Pleasure Of Phuket’s High Season
So you live here and are not looking forward to the high season? The streets are clogged with traffic.
Your favorite, quiet little restaurant is jammed packed. Children running amok everywhere while their parents forget their manners on vacation and ignore their offspring. The beaches are packed.
Rental beach chairs have gone from one hundred to two hundred baht-if you can find an empty one. <Is this serious?! 200 baht?! Damn! – Stick>
Prices are automatically raised by ten percent or much more and forget to come down in March.
Is that's what's troubling you buddy?
Listen to me. It's not the circumstances – it's how you perceive them that counts.
I eat out early to escape the crowds and also go shopping at Central or Lotus early in the morning.
One day I went shopping with an older English fellow and he was outraged to see two young guys walking around the department store without shirts, like they were still at the beach. My friend questioned their manners and demanded they wear the proper attire.
They told him to get stuffed and he was hopping mad, fit to be tied. A comedy I thought only to be viewed in high season.
You can't make a silk purse out of a sow's ear I reminded my friend.
Even more interesting was going to the local outdoor market and seeing a buxom blonde shopping in a skimpy bikini.
The Thai guys couldn't stop staring while the lady stall keepers looked aghast.
I am going to have to buy a video camera soon. Only in high season, I say, can things like this happen.
I often eat in my friend Don's restaurant here in Rawai. Now this is not some bamboo shack on the beach but a nice restaurant.
Often, during the day, or even at night, visitors will come in wearing just bathing suits, no shoes, sandals or shirts.
I think it's inappropriate to dress this way especially in the evening. But I try to have some fun with it and stop by their tables with a big smile and inquire, 'How's the water?' Sometimes they even look down at their glasses on the table.
'Didn't you just go swimming?' I innocently inquire in a soft voice. The usual answer is 'No.'
And then I apologize and go on my way.
I find you can say almost anything to people if you speak politely and calmly and the important thing to do is to keep walking.
No confrontations that way. Sometimes I even allow myself to say 'Gotchya' when I am far enough enough away.
Am I educating these people to the error of their ways? I doubt it. Stupid is as stupid does as Forest Gump says. All the expats that I know here in Phuket can't wait for the tourists to go home while I take this time to go hunting.
For what? You ask.
I love to read and Asia Books does not have a branch here in Phuket, only Bookazine and The Books with the usual assortment of John Grisham, Robert Ludlum and Clive Clussler paperbacks. Ho hum.
But what happens in high season with the huge influx of travelers, some of these people actually having half a brain, bring books to read that are worthwhile. Books that have been nominated for UK's Booker Prize, The Guardian First Book Award, or favorably reviewed in The New York Times Book Review.
These are enjoyed by readers on vacation and having finished them, leave these treasures in their rooms where they are immediately scooped up by the housekeeping staff and brought to the nearest used book store to be sold for a few baht profit. Usually twenty baht a book, later to be marked up to three or four hundred baht.
I am not complaining, no indeed. Now is the time of year that I visit most of the used book stores in Phuket except for the one in Kata where the woman is usually plastered out of her gourd. Have you ever been shell hunting on the beach and happen upon an unblemished beauty. What surprise, what excitement! I feel the same way when I happen upon, say – Reading Lolita In Tehran, Cold Mountain or Slow Waltz In Cedar Bends by Robert James Waller, who wrote The Bridges of Madison County or a new book by Caleb Carrr or Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux.
Oh, I like reading Michael Connely or Elmore Leonard but they're easy to find, not like discovering a perfect sand dollar on the beach or a Pulitzer Prize winning novel.
I used to go for walks on the beach with my girlfriend and she always liked to look for seashells but the sad truth is that there aren't any to be found in Phuket; they were all taken long ago by the locals.
Those stores by the beach with the exquisitely polished shells? They're all imported from the Philippines. I would buy a handful of beautiful shells in these places and drop them on the sand while walking behind my friend on a lonely beach.
She would never fail to be delighted on the way back when she discovered them.
I was enjoying a light lunch of salad and filet of sea bass with my housekeeper at The Boathouse Hotel the other day.
It's a beautiful setting and one of the few hotels right on Kata beach.
We were watching the sunbathers and swimmers- all visitors of course. Not many Thais actually go into the ocean.
All those long legged white women with large busts in tiny bikinis walking around having the times of their lives.
Look, look, my companion exclaimed. Lady have no top, have big nom (breasts).
Wow, thanks my darling I replied.
Now some may say that I was gawking while I prefer to think of it as experiencing a sociological moment.
Later, Sa, my girl, pointed out a katoey.
No, no my honey. I only want to see topless women.
After lunch, we strolled over to the Club Med beach, a veritable garden of bare breasts; all of those women laying on the sand, their boobs pointing skyward like ripe melons in a farmer's pasture.
Actually Sa and I also enjoy watching the fat European men with tremendous beer bellies in bathing suits hardly big enough for a seven year old.
If you're a man that likes to check out the ladies, there's no better time than high season. Girls flood to the tourist areas from all over the country. I was in Bangkok the other day and called my favorite entertainer and where was she? Patong, Phuket of course.
Why? I asked.
Very busy here now, she replied.
If you are going in search of a companion in Patong, their are three tiers of of ladies of the evening and all show up at different times.
The bars start to fill up at eight o'clock with your normal everyday working girls, some of whom are pretty.
The more attractive girls come to work after ten o'clock, not wanting to be bothered standing around waiting for a customer.
The really beautiful girls do not venture out until after midnight, freelancers thinking too highly of themselves to be mere bar girls.
They inhabit the discos like The Tiger, The Banana and the VIP to name a few clubs.
You will never find an assortment of beauties like this except at high season.
Think of it like a farmer coming down to reap the crops at harvest time. (You are the crops and your wallet is the harvest.)
During low season, these beauties go back to their homes in Khon Kaen or Surin and take it easy for the rest of the year, hopefully having found at least one man to pledge their undying love to and receive a monthly stipend to tide them over until the following year when their suitor returns. Some girls are lucky enough to have captured the hearts (and monthly allowances) of three or four lovers and then have to juggle their return visits.
It's easy to spot the vacationers; many are nicely dressed -not like the rest of us that live here. Speaking of sociological studies, one of the most memorable sights that I have seen during high season was a gentleman in white pants and white shoes sitting at a bar as happy as he could be with a huge smile on his face and an expression that said he was in heaven.
He was buying drinks and being fawned over by three of the most beautiful girls that he had ever seen – except that they were men.
I often wonder how the night ended for him.
And then you get guys like the poor hopper who gets scammed into paying a three thousand baht barfine by his cab driver and then brags about it and still hangs out with the guy. You have to laugh.
Although it's really not that amusing because I met a friend of mine from America in Ko Samui a few weeks ago.
He fell in love with a pole swinger and is sending her two hundred and sixty dollars a month because "they love each other" and he speaks to her every day on the phone. High season may not be so funny after all.
I tend to think of the times of year in Bangkok more as how the weather is, as opposed to the tourist season. But yeah, I can see how the tourist high season must be a bit of a chore at times.