Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Phuket Adventures: Tiger by the tail

We visited Tiger World against our better judgement, but did get some fun photos of Brian with one of the big kitties.

Tiger World is a bit of a racket and we probably shouldn't have contributed to the place, but we were looking for something to do and decided to pop in. Unfortunately, a mix up with timings and tickets kept me from getting in the cage with the littlest tigers, but Brian got his own photo shoot with one of the big guys.

Here kitty kitty ...

They say the tigers aren't drugged and from our two cats at home, I do believe them - those kitties can snooze the day away. This guy didn't seem to care one wit that Brian was in there.

This one gives you a sense of his size. Beautiful animal.

And here's one of the 2-month old babies. I was supposed to be in there, but we ran out of time due to a communication error. At least I got a bit of a look through the fencing.  Too cute.

So while we have some cool photos, I'm not proud that we visited. It just didn't feel right. Too many animals in such a small space and all of them in small cages. They seem to be breeding them for this business only. Once a cat like this is raised in captivity, they can't be reintroduced to their natural habitat so why have them keep breeding? Rescue tigers I completely understand, but growing the streak (yes, that is the correct term for a group of tigers) doesn't seem like anything more than a money making scheme.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Phuket Adventure: Sunsets

It just wouldn't be a tropical vacation without the obligatory sunset shots. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Phuket Adventure: Cocktail school

In my last post, I confessed we were too "busy" to go to the Blue Elephant cooking school. Well, another confession is that this was partly because we opted for the Chalong Bay Rum Distillery cocktail workshop instead!

What a fun afternoon (and that's not just the 3 rum cocktails talking!). We had a wonderful guide? teacher? bar tender? named Pim who was so excited and cute that we considered going back again just to hang out with her.

Here is our workstation. Cocktails are so easy when all the ingredients are laid out for you It's like being in the middle of a cooking show. Our first drink was the classic Mojito. And they were delicious!
A proud student!

We took our Mojitos and got the first installment of the Rum Distillery tour. Unfortunately, they no longer allow photos as supposedly someone on a previous tour used the photos to get in touch with their suppliers or something.

In any case, we learned a bit about making rum and the fact that Chalong Bay uses pure sugar cane for their rum as opposed to a mix of sugar cane and processed molasses. And it really does taste different - less bite than Bacardi.

Back to class for our second cocktail (sorry no photos, must have been getting tipsy) which was a combo of rum, lime juice, ginger and chili pepper. I'm not a fan of anything spicy, but these were good.

Off to our second installment where we saw the distillation process and storage.

And our final cocktail - Pina Colada. Neither of us are huge fans of the PC, but this was drink 3 so it went down pretty smoothly! :) And was such a lovely presentation.

And then, just tipsy enough to fall for the merchandise portion of the tour. All of their bottles are hand labeled by a small group of ladies in their warehouse. We came home with a small bottle of rum and a bottle of their homemade lime syrup. YUM!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Phuket Adventures: The Blue Elephant

I know, I wish it was a real elephant that was blue too, but it's just a restaurant. But a nice swanky one with very good food and drinks. They also have a cooking school, which we thought we might try out, but were too 'busy'. How do we get busy on vacation and end up doing nothing? :)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Phuket Adventures: Sunday Night Market

After a relaxing morning and a massage, we decided to have a bit of an adventure and visit the Sunday Night Market in Phuket Town. We've been to markets before - Vietnam, China, Morocco, Sri Lanka, so we knew what to expect and we knew we'd need to brace ourselves for the crowds, the smells and the unexpected.

After finding a place to park, we jumped right in and started to wander the aisles. Everything from clothes to cosmetics, CDs to car parts. I guess things are somewhat organized, but heck if we could figure out where to go for what. We just wandered - not really looking for anything, just enjoying the adventure. We were quite early (around 5pm) so things weren't very crowded yet, thank goodness!

But it was hot, and steamy, and smelly. Temps around 90+F and humidity so pretty uncomfortable to be walking through what looks like a rusty tin cow shed with stalls. I don't understand how some of the merchants in the middle can stand it. Yes, there are fans blowing, but that just wafts the hot air and sewage smells around.

We decided to see if we could find the food area, thinking we might pick up some yummy street food and munch our way through dinner. But before we hit the food stalls, we stumbled across The Leather Man bar. Or at least I guess it was a bar, and a leather store, and a leather working workshop, and a very surreal place to hang out for a cold one.

A couple of ice cold Tiger beers and Hank Williams Jr. followed by Phil Collins songs later and we were fortified enough to continue on.

The food stalls always take the adventure to a whole new level. Colors and odors and textures collide as you wander around looking for something familiar or something that looks inviting. The fried insects booth was NOT what we were looking for. Nope, not in a million years, not for a million dollars.

Cockroaches and crickets and grubs, oh my! And look how many there are? You don't fry up that many if you don't think you'll sell out.

Luckily we found some nice tame pork satay (skewers) and chicken spring rolls to satisfy our hunger. And I know what your thinking, "pork? chicken? are you sure? could have been dog and monkey for all you know!" And you would be absolutely right.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Adventures in Phuket, Thailand

What?! You didn't think we'd stop with the vacations, did you? We actually had this one booked before Bristol was confirmed and since my company won't allow a payout of unused vacation . . . here we are.

We've been to Phuket twice before as it's an easy trade with our Hawaii time share. We stay at the Marriott Beach Resort in Mai Kao, which is away from the towns and the crazy tourist/club scene in a beautiful area of the country. But due to ticket availability, we're staying our first night a bit south of Patong at the Le Meridian and then driving to Mai Khao the following day after massages at our favorite massage place.

Yep, we're driving! Brian decided he wanted to rent a car to give us a bit more mobility - taxis are expensive and a pain to find at our secluded resort. Plus, he needs some additional practice driving on the left! :) So with an unlimited data plan and GPS, we headed out. Not too bad as most of the roads are divided highway - it's those roundabouts you gotta watch out for!

I got a couple of nice shots of Phuket from the plane. About 5:30pm so seeing some of the sunset.
Le Meridian pool at night.

Hmmmm, give me a sec - gotta go check the weather report . . .