Suk san wan Songkran!
This means Happy Songkran Day in Thai - today is the first of their three day festival to celebrate the Thai new year! This festival is celebrated in much of the country by throwing water on anyone and everyone. We were able to experience some aspects of the celebration at our hotel today, but tomorrow when we travel to Patong (a MUCH more urban part of Phuket) we will be seeing A LOT more of the water throwing and celebrating, so keep on the lookout for the blog after tomorrow!
After another quick breakfast of fruit and granola bars, we headed out to the beach to relax. We stepped out onto the porch of our villa and saw one of our MANY Thai reptilian friends hanging out on the porch.
When we got to the beach (about a 2 minute walk from our villa), we found some lounge chairs on the beach in the shade, and spent a few hours out there - I was reading and Derren was playing a game on his touchpad. We also spent some of that time cooling off in the ocean and swimming with some little fishies (well Derren was trying to swim with them - I was avoiding them as much as possible!!!) Check out this really AWESOME picture Derren took on his camera while we were out on the beach this morning - so pretty!
For lunch we decided to head back to the same little shack that we ate at yesterday since we knew it was good, and it was so cheap compared to hotel food. We borrowed the hotel's bikes again and hit the pavement. We put in our order at the little restaurant and then did some more exploring down some of the side roads near the resorts where some of the locals hang out and have eateries. While we were riding around, we got our first exposure to the Songkran festival. I was riding behind Derren, and I was about to turn down a side dirt road behind him when some Thai guy popped out from behind a building (he was hiding on the roof of the building!) with a HOSE and totally DRENCHED me. Derren got it a little bit, but I got soaked. Luckily I was in my bathing suit and a sun dress, because he really got me good! You can't really tell very well, but check out how wet I am!
After he drenched us, we were then riding up another road when I truck with some kids in the back (in the bed of the truck) rode right by us and the kids starting throwing bowls full of water at us. This time Derren got it worse than I did! The best part about it all is how happy all the local people all - everyone is smiling and just yelling Happy New Year (in Thai!)
So after getting cooled off with these water surprises, we headed back to pick up our lunch. We had asked the place to cook us the same thing we had eaten for lunch a couple of days before (we had someone write down the names for us in Thai) even though it wasn't on their menu. They didn't even hesitate to make it for us, and it ended up being SO cheap - way cheaper even than the lunch we had ordered from them yesterday. Both of our meals, plus my Coke Light came to 160 baht (about $5). And you can see how DELICIOUS it looks. And it tasted as good as it looks!
After lunch we headed back outside for some more sun (and let me just tell you right now, that despite applying sunblock about 4 times today, I STILL got sunburnt in some places. :( )
Here is the view from where we sat for a couple of hours - looking out across the pool and to the ocean:
And while we were hanging out here, we got our second real taste of Songkran. A large group of workers came out playing music and dancing and applying white paste (baby powder plus water) to all of the guests and splashing water on everyone (and guests were all splashing water right back at them!) Check out this video of when they came out to the pool area. The video gets messed up near the beginning because I basically got molested with people applying the paste all over my face and shoulders and I was getting splashed:
It was so much fun!!! Here is what Derren and I looked like right after:
Before these people had come out to play music and splash water everywhere, Derren had decided that he wanted to splash one of the workers in the pool area. They had a huge bucket of water sitting out meant to be used to splash people, and the employees had all been splashing one another. So Derren thought it would be brilliant and fun to splash the guy. You absolutely HAVE to watch this video (mind you, he WANTED me to record him doing this)!!!
In case you couldn't appreciate it in the video, Derren completely ATE IT when he was running away from the guy. It was SO FUNNY. Luckily, he is totally fine, and broke his fall with no injuries. Otherwise I wouldn't still be laughing....
After all that fun, we headed back to the room to get cleaned up, and then headed to the "SandBox" bar (the floor is all sand, and it's right near the pool/beach area) for Happy Hour. We both had a drink (about $10 for two drinks) and played a game of phase 10 (I won! Woot woot!):
Then we headed upstairs above the Sandbox for our first (and probably only) meal at one of the hotel restaurants. This was a fancy Thai restaurant. It was actually like completely empty the whole time we ate because most of the guests were going to the Songkran buffet dinner (but it cost >$40 per person, so we weren't up to that). For dinner we both had curry, but were given this complimentary appetizer - Derren said it was basically like an open-faced egg roll:
And here was our main course - beef Massaman curry for Derren and green vegetable curry for me. It was actually really yummy and decent portion size considering how fancy it was. And the total was 750 baht ($25) which is expensive compared to what we're used to, but we wanted to have at least one nice meal in a real restaurant! And considering how much this nice meal would have cost in Sacramento, we got off pretty cheap!
And that meal was pretty much the end of our last day in Mai Khao beach at the Renaissance Marriott. We just headed back to our villa to enjoy our nice room for the remainder of the evening. As mentioned above, tomorrow we are headed to Patong beach for MUCH CHEAPER food and treats and shopping, etc. And LOTS more water throwing! Our next hotel will be quite a downgrade compared to what we're used to, but at least they have free wi-fi! :) Until tomorrow!!!
Ashley & Derren