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April 2001: Our Month In Phuket.

Laetitia flew back from her brother's wedding in South Africa to meet me in Thailand to spend the whole of April on the beach on the island of Phuket (our 5th visit)...

THAT HOLIDAY FEELING - IN A TUK-TUK!

NEWS AT NINE. Our first full day on the island was April 2 - our ninth wedding anniversary, which we celebrated with a lovely dinner at 'The Boathouse' on the beach. This was the beginning of our tenth year together - superb news! We've changed a tad, so you'll see if you check out our 1992 Rome wedding pics.

 

OUR 9TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY 2001

 HANNAN'S TOPLESS SHOCKER! We hired a motorbike and did some tooling around to the south of the island, seeing Cape Promthep, Nai Han Beach, and other things. Like the Southern Viewpoint, which is a pagoda thing on top of the highest spot in the southern part of the island. We ambled up to the top and got some pics taken by a bloke who was doing some wandering of his own, complete with Thai 'girlfriend for the week' perched on his rented scooter. Most people out here on holiday are NOT from English countries - they're mostly Europeans - so you can't just assume that everyone will understand you when you ask them to take your picture. So I asked him "Do you speak English"? and he said "Kind of. Is American okay"? and we all had a good chuckle. Anyhow - he took this picture of us overlooking the bays where we always stay here in Phuket. US AT KATA VIEWPOINT
IN THE SWIM. Just one of those 'look at me having a nice dip in the crystal clear, tropical waters of an exotic island'-type pictures designed to irritate others who still have to wait months before they get leave. Hee hee hee.

HAPPY NEW YEAR! Our third New Year in four months - first was the Western new year on January 1st. Then came Chinese New Year in February. Now it's Song Kran. Yup - Friday 13th April was Thailand's New Year's day and the beginning of their year 2544. The first day of every new year here is marked by a ritual 'cleansing' of everyone and everything. How? Everyone gets into groups and drives around in pick-ups or trucks, or rides around on scooters and motorbikes, and throws water everywhere! It's wall-to-wall water pistols, water buckets on every street corner, and cups of water in every hand.

 

TAKING A POWDER. The new year's cleansing is helped along by giving everybody something to actually CLEAN. What do they clean? Look at my neck in this pic. It's scented, white powder smeared on anyone who gets too close to any group of 'cleansers' - in this case, it was ME. Once you've got this white powder on you, then you're fair game for anyone with a hosepipe! I was almost washed away in deluges of well-meant water. Quite fun, especially on a steaming, hot day. Nice way to spend another new year. Did miss the popping of champagne corks, though...

UNITED (TOURING) NATIONS . We made some new international friends too since we met them at our bungalow's private pool. Harry is a senior civil administrator for the U.N in the Balkans, and Jelena is his Croatian-Canadian partner. They've been together for about seven years, first in Sarajevo during the Bosnian war, then Angola, then on to East Timor during the civil wars there, and now they're in Macedonia. Interesting, nice, and full of things to talk about. Harry returned to Macedonia on the day that Laetitia and I celebrated our 15th anniversary as a couple (April 11) while Jelena would stay in Thailand for at least another month before going back to the Balkans to look for the right job - obviously one which involves lots of time to tan, swim and keep fit (those are the things she really seems to enjoy). L IN POOL WITH JELENA
RECKLESS NECKLACE. Here's a nice pic of L looking manically happy and luffly in the back of a tuk-tuk (local taxis) halfway between Karon and Kata Beach around midnight. She's very proud of the necklace, bought for a song next to the Wimpy restaurant on the East London beachfront a few weeks before (she'd just returned from a month in South Africa where she attended her brother Phil's wedding.

After Thailand, we returned to Taiwan again for a while before leaving once and for all.  But this stay was to be less brief that we'd been expecting... 

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