a peek inside the fishbowl

01 Dec, 2019

Beach day

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

The Thailand diaries continue! To read past posts in this series, click here.

I’m a little worried that if you’re reading this series of posts that you might think we’re not having a good time. Nothing could be further from the truth. The youngest daughter and I were getting along really well. Sharing this kind of experience with someone really brings you closer together (well, this was the case for us, at least from my perspective) and we were, despite appearances to the contrary, having fun. We spent a lot of time just hanging out together. For example, reading/writing/swimming/chilling by the pool. And just … being. I was really enjoying this aspect of our trip.

In a way, I am reminded of the time we booked a walk-in campsite and the youngest and I had to set it up together. It was horrible (for a short time) but it was, strangely, also super fun.

This might be a controversial statement to make but in a weird way, obstacles – as long as they’re not insurmountable of course – actually make for a good holiday because they make great memories. I feel proud that we did these things, and prevailed.

One part of me, the part that likes to be Efficient and Get Things Done was bummed that we weren’t jamming activities into every spare moment of the day, but the other part reminded me that holidays can be anything we want them to be. We can “waste” as much time by the pool as we want! We don’t HAVE to eat strange meats at food stands! We don’t have to go parasailing or scuba diving! It’s quite liberating, actually.

At this point during our trip, the youngest developed a weird rash on her skin. My stash of pharmaceuticals – many of which were primiarily intended to treat a broad assortment of intestinal issues – was insufficient. (But hey, I was covered for any gastro challenge Thailand could throw at us, ranging from mild bloat to raging runs that only a triple strength prescription from a doctor can treat!)

Fortunately, there are about as many pharmacies in Patong as there are 7-11s and we had no problem finding one with a friendly pharmacist to give us a tube of cream. (Sidebar: Imagine the trust required in this kind of transaction. You have a skin thing, you show it to someone behind a counter with a mention of cortisone cream, and they give you a tube of something that COULD be the right thing but you’re not sure. Ah well. This was all part of the adventure, right?)

Thai pharmacy

The day we picked up the “could be hydrocortisone” cream was also the day we declared it to be BEACH DAY. As we walked we heartily congratulated ourselves for getting so good at walking/navigating mopeds/crossing busy intersections, which can be hard to do, especially given all of the distractions:

Patong street view

tangle of cables!

Possibly the only cross walk in Patong

Caged bird, Patong

Patong signage

Patong street view

I cannot express how bloody hot it was. I felt like a wrung-out facecloth every moment I was outdoors.

When we got to the beach we made a beeline for the closest shade. It was simply impossible to lie in the direct sun and we noticed very few people doing this. The beach at Patong is lined with large trees, so we chose one and spread out our towels. We lolled around to our heart’s content. By this time we had learned that in order to survive the heat you had to do as little as possible.

Patong Beach

Patong Beach

Patong beach - swim flag

The sand at Patong Beach is very fine, and hot, if you dare go barefoot. The water is as warm as the air. When it’s breezy, the air is as hot as a hair dryer. As I bobbed around in the water I thought about our experiences with Ontario lakes. When we go camping we spend a lot of time at the nearest beach. If it’s VERY hot, we swim, but on most summer days we plunge into the water for a brisk and bracing cool-down and emerge with goosebumps and a shiver as we rush to our towels to dry off. Then, we heat up and again and repeat the process. But not here! :)

We did have fun just hanging around though…

Patong Beach swing

After our initial dip we walked to the far south end of the beach, collecting a few little shells along the way.

Tiny sea shells, Patong Beach

We walked back the way we came and eventually made our way to the infamous Bangla Road, which we’d return to later. It’s tame in the daytime, but at night it’s the epicentre of drunken debauchery. Every other storefront is a bar, restaurant, or club.

We walked to Jungceylon Shopping Mall for some browsing and A/C. I might be exposing myself as a total wimp but the A/C was sheer bliss. AND, you won’t believe this, but we had dinner at McDonald’s. I KNOW. It’s awful. We’re in a country with endless amazing and inexpensive dining options! But I couldn’t go to Thailand and not eat at McDonald’s. (I don’t generally eat beef but I made an exception.) I haven’t had a Big Mac in years but I ordered one in the name of research.

Suffice it to say I have never had a Coke that tasted so good. (In hindsight I suspect I was mildly dehydrated, despite all the water I was chugging.)

McDonald's in Patong

McDonald's in Patong

McDonald's in Patong

McDonald's in Patong

After dinner I had a bit of a sinking spell while walking around the mall – clearly I don’t recover from jet lag very quickly – and after a bit of a rest we slowly made our way back home.

When we got there we hit the pool, and it was The Absolute Best. I drifted in the water and watched the sky change colours. Bats fluttered and swallows swooped to catch their dinner. It was heavenly.

When we got back to our room we discovered there was no running water. Sigh.


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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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