“Traveling is a fool’s paradise.
Our first journeys discover to us
the indifference of places.”
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
In the dim light, the minibus showed no hint of caution as it sped down the steep, zigzagging valleyside into the beach town of Patong Beach.
We had gotten out of the ATI class early on a Friday, and, with advance knowledge of that fact from the instructor, Whitney, booked plane tickets to Phuket. Less Sarah, who had spent most of November in the southern islands, the 7 of us touched down around 23:00 on what is generally thought of as Thailand’s beach paradise island.
As the city came into view in the dark, it was certainly something different from most of the places I had seen in Thailand so far. Not necessarily a paradise, but something.
Our driver had no idea where the guest house we were staying at was and tried to drop us off a couple other places before that. Once checked in right next to the beach, shoes were shed and everyone got their first taste of night on the Indian Ocean.
Unlike what most might imagine about Thailand’s island paradise, Patong Beach is not a sleepy town, and the main strip was already in full swing when we got there. Everything around screams out its western influence, and indeed it’s a top retirement spot for westerners in Thailand. All along the road is bar after bar with adult shows stuffed in between. It seemed reminiscent of Patpong, though with a lot more happening and many more bars.
After a walk up an down the strip and a couple streets over, Christy found a dunking booth in which she unsuccessfully tried to knock in a Thai ladyboy. After a few drinks at a second floor neo-industrial themed club, most decided to call it a night, leaving Craig, Megan, and I out in the night.