Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heaven is a place on earth...

It must seem obvious that "indulgent relaxing holiday" and "wailing flailing children" are two mutually exclusive entities. They sound so strange together in the same sentence, that your brain may be tingling right now. But if you have children who at some point in your recent life, introduced you to new dimensions of wailing and flailing, you must read on, for you are hence a qualified member of the common humanoididal speciogenus 'in-dire-need-of-indulgent-relaxing-holiday-but-unable-to-leave-wailing-flailing-children-behind'. More brain-tingling? Trust me and read on...

Club Med Phuket. Maybe Club Med anything, but Phuket to begin with, is a three-letter word that promises a hoard of fun for everyone, ESPECIALLY tired parents who want a holiday from answering questions and explaining things to wide-eyed, cute, unpinchable short human beings. Well, thats my take anyway. For us, four days was not quite enough. There was sun, sea and sunblocked frolicking in the powdery white sand and frothy beach. The shoreline stretched far, white and smooth into the distance, reducing people from lanky topless saggy beachcombers into little black dots on the horizon. I cursed my throbby ankle for not being able to add some salty sweat to that shoreline. Ohwell. Didn't matter in the end because there were still insufficient hours in the day to spend squishing toes in the sand. Not just mine, but twenty other small fleshy ones, turning wailing and flailing into an expression of joy. Amidst sandcastling and swimming, I hydrated the kids with milkshakes and fruit juices, while I sipped pina coladas and mai tais beside my draftbeer husband.

I loved the food; I could live forever on their freshly baked bread, and don't ask which was my favorite, I can't decide at all. Wholemeal, country, french, poppyseed, sesame, dontaskme. There was food for everyone; porridge and grilled fish for Rohan, hash browns and all sorts of pasta for Charu. Chocolate krispies, miso soup, Hong Kong coffee barbecue ribs, kuih lapis, lemon meringue pie. Slabs of ham, shards of bacon. Slivers of coconut, chunks of pomelo.

The most uncomfortable thing was the 1+ hour travel from Phuket airport to Club Med. But in a comfy plush van with ample water supply and interesting things to see all along the way, it doesn't qualify as a complaint, even with Rohan constantly demanding to "see stateeyues!!", thanks to the numerous sculptured statues standing at a roundabout, outside stores and atop scupltured temples zipping past.

I admit though, that going there right after the situation in Bangkok was unplanned good timing. At such a post-incident calm time, there is a quiet careful air all around, with additional security checks and law enforcement. Visitors cancel and stay away to obviously minimize risks to their well-being and travel schedules. So anyway, because of that, we had a clear passage to and from Phuket Airport, and Club Med itself had many cancellations, granting easier access to facilities -- shorter queues at the trapeze (darn I didn't get a shot of Tony climbing and swinging), better attention from the friendly G.O.s (I think G.O. is short for Guest Officer). All friendly, helpful and multinational. Show you to the bar? Get your kids some food? Help you carry stuff to the beach? Great concept, it encouraged all the guests to be friendly with each other too. Interestingly, I confirm, yet again, that my looks are innately Japanese, even to the Japanese themselves :-) I got a lot of "Japanese?" to which I'd say, "No.. Malaysian". But having two cute kids quickly smooths such quirky situations because everyone just shifts attention to their smooth little cheeks and coos, and nobody is for the worse...

I didn't get many still photos because we used our new videocam, from which I have not extracted them videos. So with my trusty Motorola U9, I only managed a few shots of the kids on the beach near sunset, as they hopped about trying to get the attention of a baby elephant transported there to help merrify a wedding-on-the-beach. It was the cuuuutest thing there besides Charu and Rohan. You be the judge:

Celebrity spottings on Kata Beach, Phuket:

Matt Damon hides behind Mickey sunnies and a huge grin (bloodied lip from filming fourth Bourne movie... no actually from slipping while shimmying off the bed..!)

.. and a brunette Gwen Stefani performs Hollaback girl in pink Barbie sunnies

Post-performance press conference

Baby elephant - flappy-eared, swishy-tailed, well-behaved, covered in fine fuzzy baby hair, and with cuteness that is inversely proportional to distance from it.

As sunset nears, cuteness is in abundance...

Charu with some Japanese tourist :-D

Rohan squishing toes in sand..

Charu savouring powdery texture of sand..

Rohan realizing that some basic needs must be attended to soon..

Charu: "Can I pelt the bride with this... ?" .. no actually she said, "This is a sand ball!!"