Check out at 6am, transfer at 6.15, flight at 8.40 our final leg to Phuket was a very early start.
Changi Airport is a giant shopping mall, with bleary eyes we made an unenthusiastic effort to look around. Hungry we gave up and settled at a bar for breakfast waiting for our flight to board. Singapore to Phuket was an uneventful hour and a half journey.
On island time the Thai immigration and passport control kept us hanging around in expectant queues of excited holiday makers for the best part of forty minutes. Once we cleared the officials we found our baggage in holiday mood already resting beside the luggage belt waiting for us to arrive. Our driver was easy to find and before we knew it we were driving an hour through the shacks, markets and lush country side that is Thailand.
The Merlin Beach Resort receptionist took us to a lounge, sitting on couches our check-in was all done. Armed with free drink vouchers and discount deals for various activities around the complex we headed to the room.
Hanging around obviously looking for a tip our Bell Hop was hopeful. I resisted obliging, the more I resisted the more he showed me around the room. I had to edge him out in the end, sorry but I don’t do tips easily. To explain tipping is NOT standard practice in Thailand, and I deplore this very American activity, people should be paid a decent wage to do a decent job.
Quite amazing, the resort setting has three main sets of buildings radiating from the main reception area. Each area with a pool complex in the middle of it. We were allotted a room on the fourth floor overlooking the main pool complex and the only swim up bar.
Right of the bay the view is over Patong township, walking along the sand are three bars, a tailors shop, a grotty restaurants, and a slightly higher class restaurant, now we understood the lit path.
Gently lapping waves, white sand, empty beach loungers, idol kayaks, jet-ski’s quiet, snorkelling gear un-hired, lonely bar stools under a scorching sun. We needed to take action immediately to make this scene a happy one. We picked a bar, the middle one just because, and ordered a Pina Colada and beer. Panic gripped the bar staff, people are ordering drinks, and they want cocktails. Help! A blue T-shirted staff member slipped out the back and is seen beating a path to the main resort complex. Shortly a scooter returns with the bar cavalry out front. Minutes later Pina Colada magnificence was delivered to our table, it absolutely necessitated celebrating with adequate photographic recording and displaying on the premiere social networking stages of the world.
That done we finished our drinks and headed back to our resort. Al had told me she wanted an early dinner and to retire early so we could plan to make the most of this wonderful place. I agreed and we headed to the resort to clean up and move to the “Sea Restaurant” that overlooks the Merlin Beach on the other side of the spit. Dinner done we headed back to the room. Alison caught up on Facebook and ensured her Pina Colada was immortalised in a fitting way. Finally I dropped off to sleep in the chair, closing a wonderful day, or so I thought by moving to bed.
BANG! BANG! BANG! Some bugger was banging on our bedroom door. I uttered a few rude words and dug my body out of bed, wrapped a towel around by bare belly, and mumbled to the door. Through the tiny peep whole in a perfect circle there was Chris and Barb, I just stared for a second and then remembered to open the door. Well what a complete surprise that was. Talking all at once I found out they had arrived in the resort an hour or so ago. Moving to the bar we spent the next couple of hours chatting and planning the ten days of their stay.