Everlasting sunsets

So here we are down in Phuket getting nicely into the groove of island living. I’m shaking the cobwebs off my former beach living self whilst Michael is quickly finding his beach living legs.

We left Chiang Mai a month ago just at the end of Thai New Year which they call Songkran. It’s a water festival that goes over 3 days and lucky for us Chiang Mai is known to have the best celebrations in Thailand for the occasion. Let me explain what they mean by water festival … Quite simply one absolutely enormous water fight. You can’t really go anywhere without getting water thrown at you. They carry huge water guns (i had no idea how many varieties there are and just how much water they can spray at you), garbage bins full of water stacked on the back of pick up trucks both parked on footpaths and driving through the streets, being thrown at passers by or as they drive past pedestrians. Hoses are out in force and as if that isn’t already enough water, they also have large water sprays set up at the major stage events that are constantly going, wetting the spectators. Retailers also do a nice sale on fancy plastic pouches to put your valuables in as staying dry is something that won’t be happening!

The tradition is rooted in the idea that the water is a symbol of cleansing, getting rid of the bad for the year ahead so the wetter you are, the more cleansed of ‘the bad’ you are. Yep, in their eyes they are doing you a great favour.

Getting soaked

Getting soaked

One of the main areas for this celebration was just down the road from our place so off we went to explore and experience being in the thick of it all. We were completely prepared to get wet but I don’t think either of us realised just how wet we really would be getting. We started out strategically crossing the roads to avoid people who were looking particularly fierce, then stopping to wait for people to walk in front of us with the idea that we’d be avoiding the bulk of the water but in the end it was useless. We had to accept and embrace the water and were soon in hysterics at how cunning these people could be, even when we were the victims.

This link will only take 10 secs of your time but it captures the goings on nicely!

 

We both agreed though that I must have looked like I needed some serious ‘clearing of the bad’ as they took a particular shine to me with buckets of iced water being thrown over me many, many, many a time. Thankfully it was so hot that the water was a nice relief but I did look like I’d jumped into the swimming pool fully clothed by the end of it. Another trick they like to use is putting some sort of white powder in the water – I was quietly relieved we seemed to have escaped that one as it looks awfully messy once dried.

 

The Thai’s are generally a fairly conservative bunch in their overall way of being but they really let go of it all for Songkran and their alter egos come out. It was good fun to see and be part of.

 

Phuket is enormously different to Chiang Mai. For one it’s a tourist haven which had us a little concerned at first but we managed to find a lovely area called Nai Harn beach to base ourselves that’s full of more local people and expats. Added bonus is that our landlord is English, from Hull, which I have to say made us both sigh with relief. One thing that gets a little wearing over time is the ‘lost in translation’ thing when asking for things concerned with your accommodation and day to day living requirements. It’s nice to be fully understood!

 

We’ve had to hire a scooter here to get around. Doing our weekly food shop has had us feeling like regular Thais’ with numerous shopping bags hanging from both

A far cry from our weekly online Ocado shop.

A far cry from our weekly online Ocado shop.

handles. However, not satisfied with this we borrowed our landlords’ bike that has a side car on it as this seems to be a hugely popular means of transporting larger goods around the place. I jumped in the side car while Michael did the driving, doing a pretty good job of keeping me out of the gutter. We got some serious stares from the locals, a little perplexed as I don’t think they’re used to seeing ‘farangs’ traveling like this, especially on the way back with our load of shopping bags. It was quite a laugh and I felt rather ridiculous but it certainly was a new experience not to mention convenient.

Yet another breathtaking sunset

Yet another breathtaking sunset

Our favourite thing about being here is the sunsets! We’ve been lapping up the laid backness of living close to the beach, when it hasn’t been pouring down with rain – it’s the start of the rainy season which has sometimes ruined our plans of outings off the island. Rain though makes for great skies and most days we get down to the beach for a long walk whilst witnessing some of the most stunning sunsets we’ve seen. It’s a simple thing but probably our favourite about being here as they are simply THAT BEAUTIFUL. Stopping off for fresh young coconut on the way home and life seems pretty idyllic.

Wat Lok Mahlee in Chiang Mai - our second favourite temple

Wat Lok Mahlee in Chiang Mai – our second favourite temple

So whilst we travel around we are making some notes and comparisons of places we travel to, noting what we appreciate and don’t. Living in Chiang Mai for almost 4 months we can now reflect on things we miss about the place. Monks about town being a regular part of ones day is strangely something we miss seeing and of course the beauty and easy access to the temples. Phuket doesn’t seem to have the same feel of spirituality about it but we do find an element of it in the magical sunsets. The organic vegetable market is sadly missed by me and for me again, the ease of getting around as I don’t know how to ride a scooter….that may well have to be rectified.

 All in all though, we’ve decided island and beach life ain’t bad!
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9 thoughts on “Everlasting sunsets

  1. Yee-Liu says:

    Great blog Victoria – good to see you loving life! Looking forward to the next installment ….

  2. Rod Francis says:

    Great Victoria. I just love hearing all these exploits. You guys better still be there (or somewhere tropical) by Xmas so I can pop by and visit. Of course I am due to win the Lottery any day now ….. 😉 Love to you both. Rod

  3. emma says:

    Lovely blog – really nice to see and hear about your daily life – sounds fantastic – those sunsets make my soul hungry. love to you both – looking forward to the next installment. Emma

    • Michael M says:

      Yes, a hungry soul was what got me on the road. I’m pretty content here soaking up all that nature has to offer. I still struggle with the wet and gritty nature of beach life but I’m getting better.

  4. Michael M says:

    Nice summation of the last few weeks of easy living, my the time has flown by. We must be having fun.

  5. Val says:

    Loving the latest offering. Must have watched Victoria’s wetting half a dozen times. Strikes me the locals were playing up to the camera!If you really want spirituality give up the worldly goods and enter a monastry!! Keep travelling. Best wishes V.

  6. Pat Bishop says:

    It’s wonderful, despite my envious feelings, to visit this part of the world vicariously!! Thank you! You manage to convey your ability to accept what comes and enjoy it. This is infectious! Love Pat B

  7. Jacki Dunlop says:

    Loving following your adventures – need more! x

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