Thursday, October 1, 2009
Day 6-Banyan Tree
Caution: If you have vacation envy, do not read this post. Right now, we're in an "as good as it gets" situation.
It's Thursday afternoon and I'm sitting in our one bedroom villa at The Banyan Tree in Phuket, Thailand. While we don't exactly have the glass enclosed bedroom shown in the pictures (I've tried to post some pictures but Blogger seems to be having a problem. Stay tuned as they say.), our private compound does have an eight foot wall around it. The wall gives us privacy in our infinity lap pool which becomes a reflection pool at night from the sliding glass doors in our bedroom. There is a raised sitting area at the other end of the pool in a separate deck with a little Thai house around it. So we have multiple areas to lounge around. The private pool is great though. Gotta have one at home!
This morning, I woke early (jet lag is putting us to sleep mid evening which is fine) and answered some email and checked the news online. When Karen woke, we walked over to the beach and saw some tremendous waves (red flags were up). The storm that hit the Phillipines and Vietnam, combined with storms over India headed our way results in lots of clouds being sucked off of the Bay of Bengal right over us. (See Phuket weather). Still, it's a balmy 86 degrees this afternoon.
After our walk to the beach, we took our morning swim in the pool, followed by another great buffet breakfast. As mentioned a few days ago, I hate buffets, except at fine Asian hotels and resorts at breakfast. The variety trying to please tourists from all over the world is incredible. And, you can add a bunch of different Thai spices and sauces to anything.
Today was spa day, but before our massages, we took a boat through the lagoons and did a little shopping. Found a Jim Thompson outlet store. For those of you who have been to Thailand, you know that Jim Thompson is the gold standard for Thai silk and Thai fashion. Great stuff in the outlet store although we are looking forward to going into downtown Phuket tomorrow for the big store. And several others. More on that in the next couple of days.
We did not realize that the Banyan Tree in Phuket is on a larger resort complex called Laguna Phuket which has something for everyone. The complex is on the site of an old tin mine and they have done a truly wonderful job of taking the wiped out lagoon and making it something. There is a Sheraton Grande, Dusit Thani and several other hotels and time shares here, all on a wonderful lagoon bordering a great beach. At any rate, there are small ferry boats that transport people from place to place along the several lagoons and canals here. Yeah, it's faster to take the bus along the road, but the boat is cool. We'll use it tonight to go to another place for dinner, as among the 1/2 dozen fine hotels there are probably 30 places to eat. And even the Thai food is different from place to place, even in the same resort. Yesterday at lunch at the Banyan Tree Cafe, the Tod Man was very different from the Thod Mun at the Saffron where we had dinner (same dish in theory). One of the great things about Thai food here these days is that pan Asian and international influences have caused a lot of chefs to modify how they cook. For instance, last night with one of our dishes, we had asparagus and you would have never seen that in Thailand 20 years ago.
Anyway, after shopping, we took the boat back and were almost late for our massage (oh, the pressures of the life of leisure) we had a 90 minute Thai massage in an incredible out door, Lanai type of setting. Very peaceful and satisfying. Set up for couples. A choice of incense, oils, type of massage (why would you get anything but Thai here?) just wonderful.
Holy shit (as my grandma used to say, pardon my French), but the rains just hit. They have been threatening all day. Really a downpour. They say it does not often last long so hopefully it will lighten up before we head to dinner, otherwise, we are taking the road, not the boat.
Had a nice drink at the bar (shown behind the glass wall in one of the promo photos) (good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Smith, it's Tanquerey and tonic, right?) after our massage and then a nice lunch, after which we came back to the villa to chill out. Brought our portable Bose speakers and are listening to a nice mix of jazz, world music, Brazilian tunes from the last 50 years and Steely Dan.
I'll try to fill in on the days we have not posted and get some more pictures up real soon.