I just got back from Phuket. I arrived back in Singapore at about 11 this morning. Bought two bottles of icewine at the duty free shop.
Sigh, I am already missing the sun, sea and sand. Gotta go back to work tomorrow.
Thursday, 26 October 2006
As you may know, I was there in Phuket for the Straits Games (I know it's ironic to call a gay inter-country game as Straits Games, but it started off just between Malaysia and Singapore, hence the name).
We arrived at the largest island in Thailand at 1 p.m. I didn't know about this fact, as I thought the island was like, well, maybe the size of Penang island or smaller. Which was why it took us close to an hour to get to the hotel using the trunk roads.
First thing that struck me was that the island looks very much like a kampung. Wooden houses and all. The town has more of the modern shops and eateries that cater for visitors. We stayed at the Patong Beach area, which is a popular ang moh area.
Due to this, quite a lot of prices are on the higher side. The souvenirs and even the road side food stalls. I am sure there are bargains, but they were harder to find.
By the way, Patong was also the most badly hit area during the tsunami two years ago.
Another thing about the island is that is very hilly.
When we arrived at the hotel, one of the staff came out to greet us and he was wearing a tee with these big bold words "Nobody knows that I am gay".
Yup, we stayed at a gay hotel. The reception has gay magazines for reading, paintings of naked men and shelves displaying lubricants.
This was my room.
After freshening up a little, we were taken to the usual tourists spots. As it is, because of the TSG 2006 event, our rooms rates are already cheaper than the usual rate. It costs 1600 baht a night during peak season, but I only paid 1000 baht.
But first, we were taken to meet the Hong Kong contingent and they were really yummy. ;P
We were in separate buses; the Hong Kongers in one and the Malaysians were in another. There were about 30 of the former and two dozens of the latter.
The first stop we were brought to was a gem factory. Yeah, I know it's weird. I don't think any of us bought anything, even though there was a souvenir store selling Thai handicrafts and products.
I was pretty bored looking at the gems. The women might have liked it, or rather, those woman-at-heart among us.
After that, we were brought to visit a temple. I don't remember it's name though; it's in Thai (duh!).
But it looks like this.
View from the top of the temple.
I was told there are seh ling zi stored in this temple. They are the remains of monks after cremation and they look like tiny beads.
After that, we were taken to watch the sun set. Nothing spectacular about this though.
Then we were taken to the bowling alley at this shopping center called the Big C. Malaysia only sent one team while the other countries (Thailand, Singapore and Hong Kong) made up 14 teams.
We were treated to some performances for the opening ceremony. The Thais even have a theme song called Amazing Thailand, consistent with their tourism marketing tagline. The Thais really know how to market tourism, unlike Malaysia.
The Singaporeans were sporting enough to put up a ragtag team, as they were actually volleyball players and bowling is not their forte. They ended up as the worst team and was given the title of, no surprise, The Worse Team.
But one of them is really cute. Heh. And it's not just me who found him to be cute.
The Malaysian team missed a medal placing by 23 points. The first place went to the Thais, second to a Hong Kong team and the third was another Thai team.
After the bowling competition ended, we were brought to paradise. A place called Paradise actually, where all the gay bars, go-go boys and cabaret shows are. The organisers were amazing, as they had a street party for us.
Everyone was dressed in red and carried placards welcoming partipants from each country. We were dancing on the streets and just mixing around.
This is my first time attending a drag show ala cabaret. There is one type of performance which is particular to the Thais, I think, as I see it performed almost everywhere. It's some guy dressed up as an old lady, with his face painted like a cat, with whiskers and brown nose and lip synching to a song with intermittent tongue sticking out.
It's supposed to be funny, but I find it more annoying than amusing.
Also, the boys are unfortunately, not as pretty as the drag queens. The bar owners should really find cuter boys ;P
Anyway, there is this particular bar which I feel is a bit of hustler type. To be precise, the owner is.
You see, the drag queens and boys would perform on stage and if someone in the audience likes a particular performer, he can give tips of 100 baht.
Towards the end of the show, the owner, who came from the Philippines, came on stage and tried to create rapport with the crowd. It went something like this:
Owner: Where you come from Mister?
Owner: You like pussy or cock?
Owner: You like show, the Thai boys?
Owner: You like show just now? Give 100 baht.
We were like, huh? Just making some lame jokes and crude questions and she wants 100 baht? Unless she can dance or sing or twirl on her fat butt, isn't it more like hustling?
After about five performance, I was bored. After a while, they all seemed the same. So I left Paradise and get my beauty sleep for tomorrow.
Overall, it was a good first day. Didn't get to mix around much with the other delegates yet, but I did the day after.