Sunday, August 1, 2010

泰國? 能吃辣的!

It's been a while, but that tends to happen during times of transition.  Once again, I have made the yearly migration back to my ancestral home, Asia.  It is an arduously long journey, with pitfalls and dangers lurking on every hand, but the McKinley will admit no defeat as he makes his way home.  Just as the wild salmon valiantly hurls itself up the roaring flood, so does the McKinley battle every obstacle with fierce determination, until finally he rests.

So it wasn't quite that dramatic, but I got up at 3:30 in the morning to catch a 6 am flight (delayed to 7) to Chicago, followed by a five hour layover, a fourteen hour flight to Hong Kong, a four hour layover, and a three and a half hour flight to Phuket, where I arrived around midnight on the following day.  Blearrggh!  I'm back in Kuala Lumpur with the family right now, but this post will be strictly about Phuket.  The picture above is Hong Kong as we landed.

Phuket, Thailand's largest island, is an amazing place.  It's located in the Andaman Sea, off the west coast of Thailand, where the water is perpetually warm and azure.  We've been there as a family four or five times now, and I like it a lot better than Bali or Hawaii (the two other comparable places I've been).  The people are extremely nice, and the food is to die for.  Freshest seafood ever, huge prawns (gigantic shrimp, usually anywhere from five to eight inches long), etc etc.  It's similar to Chinese, but a lot fresher and less heavy.  And still very cheap!

My favorite day was coincidentally the one with the best weather.  Unlike last year, most of the days it rained a little, though there was always some sun, but on the day we booked a trip to the Phi Phi Islands the weather was gorgeous!  We took a speed boat for 45 minutes to the smaller island, swam around in a cool little inlet, then boated around the island and went snorkeling/swimming/monkey watching/sightseeing/frolicking.  Lunch was on the large island, then we stopped by another island on the way back for more swimming.  The water on the way there was full of thousands upon thousands of pink jellyfish!  But I only saw a couple of them while swimming.  The coolest fish I saw were the rainbow wrasse, all iridescent purple and blue and green and orange.  Rather than explain any more, here are some pictures:

From the top, this is the first island as we were about to arrive, my favorite picture of the little inlet where we swam first, one of the monkeys we threw fruit to (they were remarkably good at catching, even with the little baby monkeys hanging on their stomachs), and our boat while we were stopped for lunch.  I got a nasty sunburn on my back, but it was worth it!

Some other random pictures from Phuket:

After a week of swimming, surfing, eating great food, snorkeling, biking, and lazing by the pool, I can safely say that Phuket is one of my favorite places on earth!

English title: Thailand?  Can eat spicy!