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                              PHUKET CHRISTMAS & NEW YEAR 2007 and more....

We returned form Langkawi just in time to join our fellow yachties for pre-Christmas activities in Nai Harn Beach. Unfortunately the anchorage was rolly and uncomfortable but we endured it long enough to attend the annual Christmas Party at the Jungle Bar.

 

Christmas Party

The Jungle Bar really outdid themselves in 2007 as the dinner was fabulous & lots of food.

The band was the same excellent one that had played at the Reggae Bar in Kos Samui called "Job 2 Do". Somehow everyone managed to squeeze onto the crowded dance space in the sand.

December 25

Christmas Day was pretty usual. We rented a car from a Thai friend and caught up on grocery shopping. When that involves going to 4 different stores to get what you need, then packing it all down 2 sets of stairs and across the beach to the dinghy, getting thoroughly drenched pushing the dinghy out thru the surf, then unloading all the groceries onto the boat, rocking and rolling in the swell, then trying to find a place to store everything.......it took all day!! We finished the evening on Gone With the Wind visiting with friends and eating ham and chicken. All in all, it was a good, albeit low keyed, day.

December 27

You Can Never Know for Sure!

Gord's Birthday and we enjoyed a delicious Thai dinner at Tony's new apartment. Afterward, we were wandering down Nai Harn Beach and came across a Beauty Pagent. We assumed it must be for Miss Thailand. Gord and Tony commented on how beautiful the girls were in their elaborate gowns, hair and makeup perfect. We watched the contest for about half an hour, each having picked our favorite to win. Then along came one of our Thai friends who informed us that all the 12 contestants were, yes...you guessed it....Ladyboys!!! They had us so fooled but then again, their gowns hid their shoe size!!

December 29

Our new watermaker membrane arrived via another boat from Langkawi and we spent the day installing it. Unfortunately the high pressure hose blew up (flooding the boat) so we have to start all over again ordering a new one from the US and having it sent Fed Ex to Thailand. The hoses they sell here are just not strong enough for the amount of pressure required to make our water. And always if it doesn't rain, it pours! All in the course of 2 days, the freezer quit, the alternator started to smoke and then the ignition wouldn't work, the water heater permanently stuck open so the water is too scalding hot to use and the radio stopped working. And people think we get bored sitting around doing nothing out here!

There are still 78 boats in the anchorage at Nai Harn, although some have departed for the Andaman Islands and points beyond.
 

New Years Eve 2007 Patong Beach

We anchored at Patong Beach, the place to be on New Year's Eve, amidst I'm sure every other boat that was in Phuket! Of course, the yachts were used as a slalom course for the annoying noisy, ever present jet skiers that left the boats bouncing and rolling in their wake. Ashore, we met up with Billabong and Stardust and headed to the closed off main drag where the festivities are centered. Tiger Bar is a large complex with multiple small bars and we headed to the back, where scantily clad dancers strutted on the table tops. It is always a problem in Thailand to ascertain if these "girls" are really  "boys" (called Catoys or Lady Boys) and after an evening of trying to guess, we decided that you really couldn't always tell, no matter how long you've been in Thailand! The dead giveaway was by looking at the size of the feet. It was hugely entertaining to watch the clueless tourists ogle the girls that you did know were Lady Boys!

As midnight approached we made our way to the beach, fighting through the throngs of people. The sky was already filled with traditional lit lanterns floating overhead, as awesome a sight as last year and one that I could never tire of.

But the pandemonium on the beach was a definite threat as hundreds of people were trying to release their flimsy paper lanterns, producing floating torches that soared inched above the heads of the crowd. Sometimes the lanterns just catch fire and cascade down, the flaming ball bumping from person to person. One bounced off my shoulder and I smelt my hair singe.

Chris and KT were not so successful with their lanterns. After two attempts, both lanterns fell into the surf!

Our Plea for Good Luck!

Gord and I purchased a lantern so that we could wish for smooth and safe sailing in the year to come. We had a little trouble launching it at first, but with the help of our lady vendor, it eventually ascended into the heavens to join the multitude of other lanterns that looked like magical moving twinkling stars in the sky.

All around us fireworks were exploding. The displays put on by the various hotels were mind boggling but there were also random and chaotic fireworks being set off by anyone and everyone who wanted to play with the pyrotechnics as there are no laws regulating anything. And the startle effect seemed to be a priority as drunkards would light long lines of "poppers" in the center of a crowd to watch everyone run for cover! Despite the bedlam, the fireworks and energy were again the most awesome I have ever experienced!

We ended our evening eating chocolate crepes from a street vendor. Back onboard we could hear fireworks being set off until sunrise.


January 2 Thai Cooking Class

Back at Nai Harn we enjoyed visiting with other yachties, fabulous BBQ's at Tony's new condo (right), dinners out at Thai restaurants, our favorite being the Mexican Restaurant, run by a wonderful warm Thai lady, Lyn. 

Lyn agreed to giving us all a cooking class at Tony's house. With a glass of wine in hand and much laughter, we conjured up the most delicious authentic recipes - Panang Chicken, Rice and chicken ball soup, Green and Red curry sauces, just to name a few. Then everyone got to sample the dishes....exquisite!!!!!

 

Gord with Lyn and Ann

Lyn and KT add the magic ingredients to the Rice Soup.

"The Cooks"

The final product!

 

Since you can never have too many Thai Cooking classes we attended one put on by Dee, who did the cooking at our favorite lunch spot "Rosies" in Yacht Haven. Her Cashew Nut Chicken was unbeatable and we all wanted to know how to make it.

January 8

We spent the day with last minute preparations and checking out. Unfortunately, customs fined Stardust 5200 baht ($180) because their boat had been in Thailand too long. It was for that reason that we had previously made the run to Langkawi in Malaysia and rechecked the boat back into Thailand to reset our clock.

Goodbyes

That evening, we had a wonderful good bye dinner (Tamarind prawns) at the local Jungle Bar in Nai Harn. There were 16 of us including Stardust, Gone with the Wind, Tactical Directions and Billabong.
We had teary-eyed goodbyes with our long time Aussie friends but since they are both now Thai property owners...who knows? We may see them again in Thailand some day. Gone with the Wind and Billabong plan to meet up with us in the Maldives but since they will be several weeks behind us, we may have been forced to push ahead to Oman by then

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