I have spent the past few days at work in Phuket, following our trip. Now, the really good thing about working in Thailand and living in Singapore is that Phuket is under an hour and a half’s plane journey from Singapore, and thus work trips are easy peasy lemon squeezy so I can squidge them in as often as I possibly can. I have to say – my slightly rubbish flat-based office pales in comparison to working at The Village.
View from ‘office’ in Singapore:
View from ‘office’ at The Village:
Infinitely better, don’t you think?
When we are on the Island, we usually stay in Alex’s Daddy’s villa. However, it had guests in it so the staff put me in Villa One. I was on my own in there because Alex had flown back to Singapore.
Villa One is very beautiful. It has an especially large bath in the master bedroom: many thanks to my beautiful models, Nick and The German!
Villa One is, however, absolutely huge and right at the far end of the beach…by the GRAVEYARD! Gargh! (please note: it’s not actually a graveyard – it’s a memorial garden and very nice) but being an utter wimp with a hugely overactive imagination, I spent two horrendously sleep-deprived nights there jumping at every little thing and trying to sleep with every light blazing, before I conceded defeat and ran away to invade Kat’s bed in her parents’ villa. What a fool. The next day I heard certain members of staff (who shall remain nameless at this point) constructing a dastardly plot to dress up in sheets and roam the villa at night to freak me out.
Needless to say, I was severely unimpressed.
Anyway, after a long week at work and some very sleepless nights I was feeling a bit stressed, so when the lovely Kat Brown invited me elephant trekking with her, I couldn’t in all good conscience say no.
The elephant trekking is located in Chalong, an area of Phuket about 40 minutes from Coconut Island. It is run by a company called Siam Safari, who I really rate because they rescue elephants who have spent their whole lives logging, and give them a safe and loving home, whilst also conserving their natural habitat.
We arrived at the Safari HQ and, after registering, we were taken by jeep slowly up a winding hill into the jungle! I felt like GI Jane, it was awesome.
We pulled into our destination, a safari camp about halfway up the hill, and the first thing we saw was a little wooden platform on the hillside with three beautiful baby elephants sitting alongside!
Here they are:
They were just ridiculously gorgeous! They were so sweet and obliging, and happily showed off their skills, which included painting pictures with their trunks, playing the mouth organ and even kicking a football! We then bought a couple of baskets of fruit and Kat fed them, to their immense delight.
Once the baby elephants were fed, we walked further up the hill to a cleared area with wooden huts and platforms where the adult elephants were kept. Each elephant has his or her own ‘mahout’ – a driver and carer – from the Hindi ‘mahaut’ or ‘mahavat’. The Mahout is traditionally paired with an elephant as a small boy, and they will go on to spend their lives together. Our Mahout was named Samlang, and our elephant was named Nam Sai, or น้ำใส (n̂ả s̄ı), which means ‘Clear Water’ in Thai. What a lovely name! She was 47 years old, and just gorgeous – really steady, solid and calm, which was good because she had to put up with both me and Kat Brown on her back, the poor thing!
Here we are enjoying the view:
It was a really fantastic experience and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone who wants to do something a bit different from the usual touristy thing in Phuket, and support the local environment as well. Kat, being very clever and technologically-friendly, has put some videos of us feeding the elephants up on You Tube; if you want to have a look, here is the link:
We spent the evening in Patong, but way up above the noise and ladyboy bars; at a new rooftop bar called Famous, with our friend Mini Frenchman (his Father, The Frenchman, is a good friend of Alex’s Daddy). It was really cool – a big, expansive terrace with great views over Patong, and lots of big squashy daybeds draped in canopies clustered round a glass-bottomed swimming pool with views through the bottom to a dancefloor on the floor below! Ridiculously Euro-trashy but really good fun.
We sat at a table and had some lovely cocktails, and the boys enjoyed some very nice cigars courtesy of The Serbian Tennis Player, an incredible character who owns one of the Villas on Coconut Island.
Here they are (not sure why this came out a funny colour, think I might accidentally have done something funny with the camera settings!):
We had a gorgeous evening, and spent the next day on the beach at Koh Rang, a beautiful island just over the bay from Coconut Island. It’s a lovely island, with a pearl farm too!
Here’s the view:
Sadly, yesterday morning we had to fly back to Singapore for work. Valentine’s night was rather a wash-out, I’m afraid – I desperately tried to stay awake, but a very early start to catch our plane in Phuket and a long day meant that by the time Alex got back from work at 2.30am this morning, I was passed out snoring on the sofa, ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ playing in the background on the iPlayer. Not the best romantic welcome home.
What has made coming back to Singapore rather fun is the arrival of some more birthday presents from England! I got the most gorgeous box of treats from my sister Abs (who is amazingly clever and spends her time doing brilliant and cunning things at Cambridge University) so thank you Abs! After making the mistake of opening Abs’ box publicly, in Starbucks no less, and immediately bursting into tears upon reading her letter, I opened Mummy and Daddy’s box at home. This was wise because I cried again – moving to Asia clearly erodes the British stiff upper lip. In amongst the goodies was a big bar of Dairy Milk (which I am polishing off now, FYI) and a DVD of the brilliant first series of ‘Miranda’ – amazing!
My wonderful Mummy also knitted me a replica of Jessica Rabbit! I think it is extremely like the real Jessica, don’t you?
Real Jessica Rabbit:
Knitted Jessica Rabbit:
Basically one and the same.
Anyhoo, I am rambling again, and do not wish to waste your time further, so I will depart to eat the rest of the Dairy Milk. Lots of love – hope everyone is well, and I shall leave you with this amazing titbit I saw in the supermarket today.
Can of sweat, anyone? As my darling Kitty put it – “what is a Pocari, and why on earth would anyone want to drink its sweat?!”
Asia: where even supermarket shopping is a revelatory experience.