It turns out, the best thing about living in New Delhi is the opportunity it provides for getting out of New Delhi. Don’t get me wrong, New Delhi is an experience in itself, a cacophonous maelstrom of life and activity that’s exhilarating in both enlivening and exhausting ways. A restful haven, however, it most certainly isn’t. Anybody seeking such should look elsewhere. This was exactly the point of our break in Thailand.
It worked splendidly, starting with two nights in Bangkok at the Lebua hotel. Lebua is in the State Tower, which is a Bangkok landmark, probably because it’s extremely tall, with a golden shiny thingy sitting on top (not pictured above). We were supposed to be somewhere on the fifty-somethingth floor, but due to a double-booking ended up on the twenty-first (upgraded, with an extra bedroom, meaning we had floorspace for a reasonably-sized barn dance, had we been that way inclined). We didn’t mind at all, because we still had views like this.
Bangkok provided, in no particular order, pink taxis, the Grand Palace (covered in gold and shininess per the opening picture), night shopping at Suan Lum market, mad dashes up Chao Praya river in a long tail narrow boat (and the inadvertent drinking and wearing of same river that such adventurousness entails), and more. I did not previously have a strong desire to be able to say that I have sipped Long Island Ice Teas in Bangkok, but you know, now that I have, that’s kind of cool. In many ways, the Thais do everything the Indians do – barter, haggle, tout – but they’re just slightly more civilised and less pushy about it. A very different experience from what we’ve grown used to.
There followed five nights at the fabulous beach fronted Adamas resort in Phuket. We liked it, a lot. The sun was hot, the Andaman sea clear and beautiful, and the forest crowded the edge of the golden beach in ways that made me feel like I was in a version of Lost where the survivors have access to tin shacks selling beautiful pizza in wood-fired ovens (a slightly less dramatic premise, I agree).
Those tiny distant shapes at the base of the forest were our accommodation. With a beach like this, you obviously walk on it quite a lot, every day if possible, but we also found time for barbecued fish, Thai curries, and lounging in the pool.
We only ventured away from the coast for a single day, though it was well worth doing so, because it had this elephant in it.
Her name is Tang Mo, and she’s fifty-six years old and beautiful. She used to work in logging before the work dried up, and now she lets people like me ride her on mountainous forest trails in Phuket. She’s fabulous, and so was the ride (I even got to feed her afterwards). I also watched monkeys work, was taught how to tap rubber trees, and sat on a water buffalo (this was not an accident). The day ended with a quick drive to the harbour, where we boarded a junk, set sail, and drank wine as the sun set on the Andaman. It was quite a show.
There was more, including big lizards and terror crabs, but I’ve lingered too long. It all had to end, and we were brought back to reality with a slap when we hit the cold fogs of New Delhi, and got stuck on a runway for nearly two hours while the plane waited for somewhere to park, but it was a hell of a break.
Now, it’s on with the motley. Two writing pitches need urgently attended to, both of them potentially very exciting, and I’m feeling recharged and ready for the fray. Onwards!
Tagged andaman sea, bangkok, beaches, elephant, golden shiny thing, grand palace, jungle, junk, lebua, narrow boat, night market, oriental city, phuket, rubber trees, state tower, tang mo, terror crabs, thailand, water buffalo