Monday, October 29, 2012

A street procession in Phuket Town

My boss decided to stay a little longer this week because he wanted to go on the John Gray Sea Canoe Trip – which meant I could go with Tim and some of the guests to view the Vegetarian Festival Street Procession in Phuket Town - thanks!

Horrifying, fascinating and strange is how I describe it – spirit-possessed people referred to as "Mah Song" walking through Phuket Town with any number of things pierced through their bodies. They were followed by other Mah Song who were hitting themselves with sharp instruments. Then there were the spirit-possessed ladies who were skipping through the town giving out gifts to all the young children. More people followed but I could not continue to watch.

This morning was all too much for me (and some of the guests) so I took refuge in a lovely coffee shop on the Clocktower Circle.

Note to Editor: Well I am not doing that again! Secretly it was fascinating, but don’t tell Tim because he will only tell me he was right and sometimes men enjoy that too much.

(Ed – agreed! – whoops!)


Friday, October 26, 2012

Phuket Weekend Market

I always enjoy it when the company sends me to Bangkok on work that spans over the weekend.

This is because I get the opportunity to visit JJ Market, known the world over as Bangkok Weekend Market at Jatujak. If I get to stay at Cape House it is even better because than I all I need to do to reach the market is hop on the Skytrain or BTS at the top of the road (a leisurely five minute stroll from Cape House).

I dropped by Phuket’s own Weekend Market when I was staying at the Kantary Bay Hotel recently, after first visiting it a couple of years ago.

The market had doubled in size and so had the amount of shoppers – thought it was clearly a tourist attraction but this has not stopped the locals from flocking.

As it sells practically everything under the sun this blog is not is not long enough to list them all, but off the top of my head I recall: snakes, coloured contact lenses, "big eye" lenses, dog clothes, 

insects, perfumes and a great deal more...

But my personal favourite was the crocheted bikinis – or are they hats?

What do you think?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Broken seashells and broken coral

A question that I am asked frequently by a lot of our guests is why are they not allowed to keep shells or bits of broken coral from the Cape Panwa Hotel Beach as souvenirs or mementos of their trip?

I can only say that the shells you find scattered on Phuket's beaches are actually the homes of a number of marine creatures.

It is thus illegal to sell seashells from the waters of Thailand. In the picture above our beach staff, Sandy and Kasem are returning picked seas shells and coral to our hotel beach. 

If you are asked to purchase items made from seashells or coral please do not purchase them for the reasons above and I would imagine that they would break in your luggage?


Saturday, October 20, 2012

What’s that very strong smelling fruit?

You are most probably referring to the famous "Durian" – known in Asia as the "king of fruit" though its very odiferous nature, has made it a banned item in public places like hospitals, shopping centres and hotels. In Thailand, drivers of taxis and air-conditioned public transport won't allow you to bring the cut fruit on board. 

For provincial un-airconditioned transport it is usually up to the vehicle driver - you'll usually be in luck if he is a Durian lover. When it comes to Durian that is how society is divided - those who can't get past the smell to even try it and those who can't stop eating it because it tastes so wonderful. (In Thailand the latter group seems larger than the former, which is okay as the non-fans are thankfully protected by the ban!)

Every so often on my trips to Chantaburi  province (where my friend lives) I am asked to bring some Durian back with me – it is at Chantaburi that the World Durian Festival in May is held.

Native to Southeast Asia, the Durian is a formidable looking fruit, (maybe a natural warning?), and the fruit is housed inside a skin of hardened spikes – which is certainly dangerous if it falls of its tree and you happen to be standing underneath.

To eat the Durian, the housing is carefully split and the fruit emerges with a very distinctive smell (and taste), both of which I find unappealing. So the Durian always reaches my friends untouched and I never want any.

But I suggest that you try it because you might like it?


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The start of Phuket's famed Vegetarian Festival

The beginning of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival (or “Jia Chai” in the local Hokkien Chinese dialect) was yesterday.

Even though I reside in Phuket, you will never find me at the scary body piercing and fire rituals that my colleague Tim attends religiously. However, I did agree to go to the very start of the Vegetarian Festival - we took some of our guests who were interested or held a Cape Privilege Card.

It commences with the raising of the ‘Go Teng’ pole – this is an enormous and highly polished wooden pole that is raised up at each Chinese Temple.

This enormous pole is actually for the Gods to descend – at midnight the pole is strung with nine lanterns and this signalizes the beginning of the Festival.

I know that Tim is organising another hotel trip on the 20th of October. If you really need to see a street procession of possessed men piercing knives, fans and all manner of pointy objects through their cheeks please contact him at the Front Lobby.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Butterflies at Cape Panwa Hotel

You  have probably all heard about the heavy rainfall in Phuket recently? Well, we are now experiencing the beautiful aftermath of all this rain.

The grass is green and lush and the flowers in the well-tended lawns are rapidly taking advantage of the sun after the abundance of water.

With this the butterflies are out in numbers – making the walk from Top of the Reef (our fine dining restaurant) to our palm-fringed sandy beach a pleasure for us all.

At the moment we do not need to visit the Butterfly Garden in Phuket Town 
Cape Panwa Hotel has its own Butterfly Garden