by, 02-07-2010 at 08:57 AM (413 Views)
14 Nov. 2009
phuket is one glorious mash of a city, right by the sea. it is a tourist town and seems to have picked up some of the worst from the west - old men who are looking for prostitution, and a desperation for money that has taught the locals to pinpoint a tourist from miles away (iíve literally had to wrench myself free from market sellers who pull at your heartstrings for cash). the city reminds me (strangely) of an aging, decaying princess, who cannot make up her mind about which standard of beauty to follow, so she is flung eastwards and westwards. this has resulted in a strange mix of architecture ó rows and rows of modern buildings, randomly encrusted with gold and marble, small huts here and there. it is an intricate city - even the oldest of these buildings manage to slip in some fancy iron lace.
my favourite part though, is that when you look at the city as a whole, you are sort of awestruck with the realization that nature refuses to die here. phuket is surrounded by mountains, these odd, monolithic reminders that there are some things that will never be fully conquered. the streets are lush with nature, and when you go to the more rural areas, it is the houses that look out of place ó little huts with rusted iron roofs like mushrooms springing out of the jungle. when you see all the nature, it is the manmade architecture that looks out of place. i can only imagine what phuket used to look like, centuries ago.
there are these little family marts everywhere, small stores with random things. everyone rides a motorbike, nobody knows how to drive. the streets smell like sewerage, but not all the time. they have what they call ďtaxisĒ, open vans with two rows of seats that face each other. the phuket people are small and dark, but they look wiry and tough ó you probably donít want to mess with them. they stare unabashedly. the westerners here stand out, they kind of make me wince. 98% are orange and try to wear traditional thai beach wear, or are overweight and walk around topless. i wonder what the thai people really think of them. in greeting, they put their hands together like a prayer, and they bow to you. they smile a lot. itís a slower city, but busy, and is full of heat and colour.