Friday, March 28, 2014

MARCH 20, 2014: DIVING WITH BIG BLUE AND A WHALE SHARK, POOL, ARRIVAL IN PHUKET-TROPICAL GARDEN RESORT


March 20, 2014

     Our last breakfast.  My last sugar donut.  I take more pictures because I've never had such a great breakfast spread.  It's one of the things I'll most remember about this resort along with the beautiful beach and lovely pools.  What I won't miss is the damp room.  About half of our time here our room has been damp.  It's a shame because everything else was so nice.  However, I think I should have said something to the staff the first time we noticed the damp.  I did mention it in my comment card that I left when we checked out this morning.

This is what our breakfast plates look like almost every morning.  Mine has 1 egg over easy, 1 slice crispy bacon and a few potatoes (if available), toast, juice, coffee, fruit.  Here I add the sugar donut and 1 other sweet-this time a tiny brownie.

     It is Richard's last dive.  BIG BLUE-RICHELIEU ROCK.  Up north of the Similans, close to the Surin Islands.  Supposed to be one of the best dive sites.  Richard isn't expecting much as so far the diving has not been at the top of his list of great places to dive.


     After he leaves, I finish packing and take our bags to be stored for later.  The guy asks me if I have everything and I decide to check our room one last time.  It's a good thing I did as I forgot to take the stuff out of the drawer under the safe!  I check out and pay any balance with a credit card.  Now I will spend the day at the pool until Richard returns.  At the pool I've met an older British couple who have been coming here to this resort for years.  It has been nice talking to them, especially the days when Richard has been diving.  I should have taken their picture and as I'm writing my blog I can't remember their names either!!   I need to write these things down as my short term memory stinks but my long term memory shines.  I can remember details from our very first out of the country vacation-Barbados-which was 25+ years ago.



























Goodbye damp room!

     Richard returns at 4:30 pm and I ask him how his dive was.  He said it was ok and then mentioned the WHALE SHARK that he swam with 60' under.  Spotting a whale shark is like winning the Oscar, or some other longed for prize among divers.  It's rare to spot one, let alone have it stay with you for several minutes.  Luckily he got some pictures before the battery died in his camera.  Others had problems with their cameras and it appears that he may have been the only one to get a picture.  The dive center and some other divers give him e-mail addresses to send pictures if they turn out.  I say to him-"aren't you glad I convinced you to do this dive?"  He agrees this dive was the best so I'm happy that finally he's happy with the diving.  We get our bags, load up the car, and away we go to PHUKET.  It turns out to be a very long drive, in the dark, lots of traffic, and road construction too.  It took us 3 hrs. to get to PHUKET.




Barracuda

More barracuda

Fan  coral

Golden damsel


Parrotfish 
Nudibranch

Magnificent anemone

Whale shark appears-he's big at 30+ feet long









He's pretty close!



Rabbitfish


Moorish idol


Blue sea star



Rabbitfish






Magnificent anemone








Sergeant majorfish


Lobby/reception area 
Leaving the Le Meridien
The guard has to lift the barrier gate every time you enter or leave the Le Meridien property.
Scenery on the way to Phuket






     We finally find TROPICAL GARDEN RESORT.  I booked this property on May 30, 2013 through Sawadee.com.  The cost for our stay of 9 nights was 33750 baht but then I got a 2000 baht discount so I paid a total of 31750 baht for a deluxe sea view double/twin room.  That was about $1081.78 for the 9 nights which isn't bad.  There is a parking area for our car.  This hotel is right on the main road and from what we can see, there are lots of shops and restaurants close by.  We check in and are given a welcome passport which contains a card for breakfast dated from our check in to check out.   The staff here do not speak much English to our dismay.  I'm trying to let reception staff know that my daughter is arriving tomorrow and we'd like rooms close to each other.  I had also requested this when I did the booking with sawadee.com  This should prove to be interesting.  All the travel and tour books in the lobby are in Thai and Russian.  (Later we will discover that Phuket is a holiday destination for a lot of Russians)  So far what conclusion I've made is that PHUKET is much busier than KHAO LAK.  We're looking forward to spending time with our daughter and grandson but I think I prefer the quiet and slower pace of KHAO LAK and I've just arrived here!!  We will be here from March 20-29, 2014.  We are given Room 6307.  Unfortunately the lift/elevator only goes to the 4th floor!!!  That means Richard and I and the guy leading us to our room have to trudge up all these stairs with all our luggage.  I am not happy about this at all.  Why have 7 floors of rooms but the elevator only goes as far as the 4th??  Our room is ok, a bit shabby.  There's a bathtub, hair dryer, nice balcony.  Beds are a good size.  I try to e-mail my daughter but no internet connection.  I finally get the connection but now there's a problem as for some reason I'm unable to send or receive any e-mail at all.  I'll have to talk to someone tomorrow if I can find a person who can understand me!












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