Cherie’s Frolic in Phuket
0800, 8 Dec 10, Rock Climbing Wall
“Just a little bit more,” I urged myself breathlessly. “Don’t give up Cherie! You can do this!” Rivulets of perspiration were creating watery pathways down my arms even as other droplets were dripping down my face, getting into my eyes. I squinted even as my forearms were trembling under the stress. I felt that my palms were wet. Will I be able to maintain my grip? I shifted my weight to my lower limbs as I sought desperately to relieve the tension borne by my arms. I looked down, and almost immediately regretted my action. It was a long fall to the bottom.
I could not give up this close to the top. Staring up the rock face, I pictured my route up to the top. I was barely four holds away from the top, safety was close.
With a last burst of strength, utilizing my calf and thigh muscles to push me up the rock face whilst using my forearm strength mainly as stabilizers to ensure that I didn’t fall off, I struggled upwards. I gave a triumphant grunt as I reached the top and pumped my right arm victoriously into the air. It was a mistake, I felt myself falling as my left arm lost its hold.
Even as I screamed, fearing that the belaying system will fail to work, I woke up sitting on my bed, decidedly in a situation without peril.
“Arghh, it was just a dream!” I was slightly irritated with myself for being sick when the others were having a glorious time out there climbing the rock wall. I was feeling feverish and had not joined the others after breakfast, choosing instead to head straight for the comfort of my bed covers.
1030, 8 Dec 10, Explorer Academy Waltz Dance Class, Anchors Aweigh Lounge
Soft lilting tones of music played in the background. I was washed in a surreal sense of peacefulness as I gave in to the music and moved gracefully in tandem to Yee Leong. His arm was firm behind me, supporting my weight, and joining my rhythm to his even as my left hand joined with his right in a clasp.
The appearance of grace and sensuality of the Waltz was broken in the next instant when Yee Leong promptly stepped onto my foot and I broke off from his calamitous embrace and sought safety more than an arm’s length away.
“Ouch!” I was almost tearing even as I gripped my poor tiny toes. Yee Leong held back a throaty laugh even as he tried to attend to my poor toes, though I could still see the grin in his eyes. With a smile, I promptly recovered and got back into position.
The OMY group was enjoying a refreshing lesson of Waltz with the instructors at the Explorer Academy. This being the first attempt at classic ballroom dancing for most of us, minor injuries and hiccups interrupted the lesson somewhat, and such hiccups were always trailed by laughter as each of us realized we looked decidedly unglamorous as we suffered in learning the new art form of Waltz.
After the Waltz, we moved on to the more vigorous moves of line dance. Those vigorous moves were much easier to understand and definitely more suited to our talents! Not that I couldn’t move with the music, but my dancing background was definitely more hip hop in nature and took me a short while to get accustomed to other forms.
Picking up a new dance act in the middle of the ocean was a refreshing experience and allowed us to further bond as we mucked and played around, lending our own personality to new moves, created solely by us, on the Royal Caribbean.
1300, 8 Dec 10, Legend of The Seas Arrives in Phuket
We stood on the stern of the ferry and waved goodbye to the magnificent hulk that was the legend of the seas. The ship’s deep draft meant that it could go no further into the bay and we had to squirrel ourselves onto a smaller craft meant to bring us to the golden shores of Phuket. Not that we were engaged in anything illicit, but, it definitely felt a tad less glamorous than our cruise ship.
The OMY group was armed to the teeth with their cameras and many had already started shooting, capturing the ferry and the oncoming shorelines, as well as pictures of each other. Everyone was brimming with excitement, which I could easily tell from the merriment in their voices as they spoke. I myself was not unaffected by their mood. It was going to be a fantastic day.
Before long, we hit the white sandy shores of Phuket, where tourists were already thronging the beach to enjoy the sun, the sand and the sea.
The sight was majestic. I was struck breathless by the view as I stood at the top of Khao Rang Hill overlooking Phuket Town. I gazed at a jigsaw of contemporary buildings amidst the sea of green below, as both modern architecture and nature sprawled all the way from the base of the hill to blue expanse of the ocean far beyond.
1400, 8 Dec 10, Wat Chalong Temple
The sun beat down on us from its perch on the azure blue skies. Clouds were a scant few on this bright and sunny day.
I almost forgot about the heat when I stepped off the coach and was met by the resplendent white and gold façade of Wat Chalong Temple. This imperious structure stood about 3 stories tall. The exterior of the first and second level was rimmed by golden statuettes of Buddha ensconced in windows carved out of the white walls. Higher up, there rooftop balcony gave way to the tip of the pagoda which reached up towards the sky with a pointy gold tip. This structure was further accentuated by an ornate fence, with 4 mini pagodas for its guards on the edges of a square and 4 gateway entries between each mini pagoda.
The other buildings of Wat Chalong were just as impressive. Each building consisted of white washed walls adorned with gold paint, capped by lofty layered red bricked roofs decorated by golden, blue and green filigree and adorned by figurines of gods, demons and beasts from ancient Thai myths. Inside the temple, were even more statuettes of various Buddha carved in gold and white marble.
Wat Chalong was indeed a treasure and true beauty. I left with deep respect for the artisans who carved and created this work of art which is a true testament to Thai culture and architecture.
1500, 8 Dec 10, Sri Burapha Orchid, Cashew Nut Factory
Sri Burapha Orchid is not an orchid in its traditional sense nor is it an orchard. It actually is a name for a factory which prides itself on producing cashew nuts and related products.
The fragrant aroma of cashew hung in the air as we took a tour of the factory and were shown the process of achieving ready-to-eat nuts from the parent fruit.
1600, 8 Dec 10, Metropole
I was in a beautifully adorned room. The lady serving me gave me a warm smile and greeted me in accented English. Her voice was light and lilting, typical of Thais, but her command of simple English was good. She placed a towel and bathrobe and some more private paraphernalia on the bed before retreating outside to give me some privacy.
I shrugged off my red sundress and changed into their items before calling the lady in. With a smile, she set herself to work. She started first on my lower limbs. I closed my eyes and relaxed, letting her do her work.
I felt her hands, small, yet with a firm grip, kneading my muscles, targeting various pressure points that I guess only Thai masseuses like her knew. At times, it was a luxurious experience, at other moments, pressure was applied in ludicrous positions which left me laughing uncontrollably and at other times, I was contorted and bent and cracked as the masseuse utilized her unique prowess at releasing the knots and stresses in my muscles. It was excellent. After the dedicated one hour, I changed back into my dress again and left feeling thoroughly relaxed.
“คุณขอบคุณ” (thank you in Thai)
It was time to go and we piled into the bus, which angled its way back to the ferry along quiet streets under the cover of a grey-tainted sky. It looked as if it might rain tonight.
2200, 8 Dec 10, Poolside
We returned to the Legend of The Seas tired, hungry and wished that dinner was not yet over. Apparently, it was not.
We were notified that a poolside party, anchored by an excellent spread, will be specially put up for everyone! Wow! This was great news. Everyone took some time to refresh themselves from their adventures in Phuket before congregating back at the poolside.
I was heartily laying into a piece of grilled chicken and talking to Calvin when the sky decided to grace our poolside dinner event by sending its compatriot rain drops from the sky. The staff nimbly moved the buffet spread to sheltered corners on the deck even as the party dissolved from the poolside and people clustered in smaller numbers under various shelters.
Interestingly, I found myself face to face to David Dimuzio!
“That’s another lovely dress you have on, Cherie” David quipped before I even said hi. I grinned stupidly at him as half my mind took in the praise (which promptly resulted in a rosy warm feeling on my cheeks) and the other half worked doubly hard to make conversation with the talented David.
“Thanks,” was all I could manage to reply in the interim.
“How was your day?”
To my amazement, I managed to contain my excitement sufficiently for conversation. We took a seat, and I continued devouring my chicken as I shared with David my activities with Calvin for the day.
The night drew long and I found out that David was actually fluent in Tagalog, having spent a few years co-producing music with artistes such as Nyoy Volante in Philippines and that he actually likes sleeping in his car due to the sense of freedom and liberation he achieves from the act.
“Wow, that’s new. Maybe one day, when I have a car, I will give that a try as well!”
We chatted a while longer before I bade him good night and returned to my room with Mui Yee. It was time to rest for another exciting day ahead.
Sleep tight Cherie.
Read all about my Royal Caribbean Experience