Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Karon, Phuket, Thailand
I hopped on a songthaew and headed west across Phuket island to spend the afternoon down at Karon, a few miles South of Patong. I actually wanted to go to Krata, which is just South of Karon, but I missed it because I didn't know where to get off. So, Karon it was. I took a nice, lengthy stroll down the wide, powdery tan shoreline because, you know, I enjoy long walks on the beach. A fine band of miniscule plastic litter in the form of lighters, bottlecaps and the like marred the waterline; and the broad expanse of sand between that and the road was filled with larger bits of trash like plastic bottles, cans, sandals, etc. You might think that the city or at least all of the resorts around the area would keep the beach clean to impress tourists for good word-of-mouth, but no. (Even if the tourists were the culprits.) If you look closely, the beach looks like a garbage dump. Come on, Karon, get organized and clean up your beach! Despite the litter problem, the place still looked beautiful enough to compel me to take off my hiking boots, pull up my pants and wade in the warm sea. The water and the sand right by it were gorgeous. I wanted to go swimming so bad, but there was no place to put my valuables.
I walked back North on the coastal road past a bunch of resorts toward town. Karon is pretty much a smaller, slightly mellower version of Patong. I arrived there around 4:00 p.m. so I wouldn't miss the last songthaew. After about a half hour, one finally showed up, but I almost missed it because I was faced away from the street, throwing away some trash--in a garbage can, mind you. I had to yell at the driver twice before he stopped. After a couple of miles, we pulled into Krata, which made me suspicious, so I asked if he was going to Phuket Town. He said he wasn't, and pointed toward a songthaew that was. At 4:30 p.m., a driver fired that one up and cruised through Krata super slow, constantly beeping the horn and looking for more fares, which got pretty annoying. I know these guys have to make a living, but damn. It also sucks that they stop running so early, and those bench seats get really uncomfortable after a half hour or so. Getting constantly jostled from side-to-side whenever the driver stops or starts is also exhausting. But, at least songthaews serve as an economical form of transport around the island during the daytime.
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