21 January 2019
Ian and I woke up around 07:00 then just lazed in bed on our phones before getting up and showering around 08:30. Cornelia was still sound asleep, so at 09:00 we opened her curtains which was enough to wake her up. She was helpful and got dressed just in time for breakfast which finished at 09:30. I had been expecting a buffet breakfast, but we were handed a menu each and told we could choose either European or American. I went for the former, Ian the latter. Despite the dodgy photos warning us how breakfast would look, we were pleasantly surprised. A plate of fruit that Bugsy and I shared, a banana muffin each (Cornelia had one and a half of those!), muesli and yoghurt for me, eggs, sausage & bacon for Ian, and a mini croissant each. Although were only given tokens for two breakfasts, it was sufficient for the three of us. Cornelia had brought one of her activity books down with her, and she sat with Daddy completing different pages while I enjoyed a cup of tea.
Ian was still determined to shave off his beard, so armed with my nail scissors, I trimmed it down far enough for him to shave the rest off. He thought that keep the moustache would allow him to fit in to our environment a bit better, but he was banned from doing so! Twenty minutes later and he was clean-shaven for the first time in months and looked quite different! Cornelia caught the hairdressing bug, and set up a salon in her bedroom, where she washed, cut and styled our hair… I was a bit nervous that she’d actually use her scissors, but fortunately, she knew that she was just playing!
We had whiled away the morning, not really doing much, but it was time for us to head to the beach. We had missed the 12:00 shuttle (due to the grooming taking place), so decided to walk down. It wasn’t far, just hot, and Google Maps showed a short cut off the main road that we could take. Ian dropped off our two bags of laundry that we had been waiting to have done for a while (it was way too expensive in Vietnam (think £1.50 per pair of pants!) and we weren’t in Cambodia long enough for it to be washed and dried), and when Cornelia and I joined him just outside reception, he said that he’d been told it would take 48 hours to be returned. We were all down to our final pair of pants, so I went back to reception and said that we needed it back by tomorrow morning, or we would just take it to the same laundry facility ourselves where we would be charged half the price (the hotel has a 100% mark up!). The bags had already been taken down to the laundromat, but as the guy was getting on the moped to go and get it back for us, another member of staff who had been on the ‘phone (presumably to the laundromat) said not to worry, and that it would be back at 5pm today, for no extra charge. Brilliant, we said, and thank you, and went on our way.
We enjoyed the ten minute walk down the back streets to Karon Beach. It’s a 4km beach, and was packed with people! We had thought we were at the quiet end of the beach, so cannot imagine what the other end must be like! Anyway, we found a spot, unpacked our towels, and while I changed Bugsy into her swimsuit, Ian wandered off to the shops to buy a bucket and spade for her.
Cornelia and I went straight into the lovely warm sea and splashed around for half an hour, and I was just about to lie down on the towel to dry off when he returned, complete with bucket & spade, and other beach toys. He then decided that he wanted a cold drink, so set off again in search of the refreshments, while Bugsy started her construction work. A man passed us selling ice creams, and as Ian and I were about to have cold drinks, it seemed only fair that Cornelia should have something cooling! She was delighted to find out she was getting a chocolate Cornetto without having to do anything!
By this time, Ian was back, and while I relaxed in the sunshine, he was put to work building a sandcastle. I’m never sure who enjoys this more: Ian or Cornelia?! He was getting very annoyed every time she stepped over the bridge and clipped it with her foot, so I’m guessing he was probably taking more pride in it!
We stayed on the beach for a couple of hours, alternating between cooling swims and sweaty sunbathing! Both Cornelia and I felt as if we were being slightly stung in the water at one point, and we thought that maybe there were some tiny jellyfish in the water. That was enough to put her off wanting to go in again, but Ian thought that the stings were probably “water lice” which, frankly, sound worse than jellyfish to me! Back at the hotel, we rinsed off in the poolside shower, and spent another half an hour in the water there, playing catch with one of her Christmas presents (a “Vortex” rocket thing). Two little Russian boys joined in, and the three of them just threw the Vortex to each other in turn until Cornelia said she was getting a bit cold and decided to get out of the pool. We dried off, then headed back up to our apartment for a good old game of UNO! We have hardly played it since we’ve been on holiday, so we had a couple of refresher rounds, playing an open hand, before things got serious. And Ian and I got beaten TWICE by a four year old, who had no help whatsoever. Oh, the shame!!! ;o)
Once she’d established her position as Queen of UNO, she wanted to do some drawing, and as I found a whole pad of paper that I’d been carting around with me since New Zealand, she set to work. She drew two pictures of a happy Mummy in the woods, and two very funny pictures of Daddy – complete with grumpy face! Luckily he saw the funny side…I think!
Hoping to go out for dinner again tonight, we showered quickly and were on time to catch the 18:00 shuttle to Karon Beach. Just before we got on the shuttle, I asked if our laundry had come back. We were told it was ready and one of the men was just about to go get it for us, when I said not to bother, that we would collect it first thing in the morning. They said this was fine, and we were thrilled that they’d managed to get our laundry done in time for us.
We were dropped off at Island View Hotel, and we retraced our steps along the main road up to Golden Paradise Restaurant which scored highly on Trip Advisor (#25 out of 2,959 restaurants in Phuket) despite its appearance as a kebab shop! Ian did not look very sure at all, but in the absence of a better suggestion, we agreed to give it a go. Cornelia was very happy to have fish fingers and chips again; Ian tried the chicken & cashew nuts; and I had sweet & sour chicken (something that I haven’t had for years) and it was all delicious! Once again, we had a great spot right by the edge of the road (although the restaurant is higher up than the road, so you’re not close to the traffic and people walking past!), and had a fun evening people-watching again, and playing “eye spy”. For some crazy reason, I said Cornelia could have a chocolate ice cream for dessert, before I remembered that she’d already had one earlier. Obviously the sunshine had gone to my head! Once she’d eaten it, we had about ten minutes to stroll back down to the shuttle stop, where we waited patiently, looking at the beautiful big moon that was shining brightly behind the hotel. The photos don’t do it justice, of course, but it was quite magnificent.
We made it onto the 19:30 shuttle bus back up the hill, and Cornelia was in bed by 20:15. But the chocolate ice cream kicked in, and it was gone 21:00 by the time she actually fell asleep, having eventually stopped calling out for me and Daddy! I stayed up for a bit, blogging (of course!), and before we knew it, it was 23:00 – way past my bedtime!