I’ve been to Phuket at least three times, the last about five years ago for a short stopover while on a cruise. My sister who was there last year complained about the rude Bangladeshis who had taken over the shops at Patong. She would much rather to be served by the gentler Thais. For this trip, we had the previlege of being hosted by a Thai family, who showered us with hospitality so warm we felt we were snuggled in her cacoon.
Bar is a friend Mike ‘met’ on his Flickr website. They met for the first time when she came over to Singapore in April to join the local Flickr group for a trip to Mount Kinabalu. When she learned that we’ll be going to Phuket, she volunteered to host us and promised Mike lots of great sunset/sunrise photo shoots.
We met her family at the airport. Bar’s husband, Tree, a quiet man (because he couldn’t speak English), their pretty fourteen year old daughter Prim and ten year old son, Prum were also there. Bar and Tree have a small business doing advertising (designing menus, signboards etc). I found out that she was the same age as me and we got along very well. Their small terrace house was smaller than a 3-room HDB, but has hosted numerous overseas guests, including an Aussie from Flickr who stayed overnight.
They were great hosts, often travelling one hour after work from Phuket town to our resort at Mai Kao Beach to drive us to the various places for sunset shoots, followed by delicious seafood meals next to the beach while watching glorious sunsets. We were driven around the whole of Phuket island, even all the way to Phang nga located on the mainland. Their invitation to view sunrise was declined by us. I knew how tiring it was for Bar, having to rise early to get the kids ready for school, go to work, settle the kids’dinner and then drive over to our resort. We tried telling them not to come and that we’ll be fine on our own, but they were adament, even taking the day off on the day before we left to meet us for lunch, before going back to work.
Needless to say, it was hard to say goodbye without tearing after spending so much time together in such short time. I was touched by the friendship shown to us, practically strangers before the trip.
Kap kun ka, Bar and Tree. Till we meet again.