NFMC TRI-NATION TOUR , DAY # 5&6:: 29 & 30 AUG 2018
Day#4 turned out to be the most rewarding day for us veterans with participation of Meena Dutta in the 60 sec challenge and Mrs Nina Sethi bagging the Bingo House Prize at daytime and Cdr Vadhera and Surg Capt SC Patra winning the skill honours on the dance floor in the evening, on the eve of departure from the Dream Genting cruise.
Day#5 (29 Aug) was the day when Dream cruise ship came and anchored off Phuket at 1000 hrs and we checked out of the ship after Lunch in Lido and disembarked onto a speed motor boat that took an hour to come alongside at Phuket. The hour was entreatingly utilized when Cdr Vadhera struck a musical chord and initiated an Antakshari for our enthusiastic group, and a Chinese family too joined in soon. At the Phuket harbour, we were greeted and welcomed by Neena and Mac our tour guides, who briefed us on the history of the Island and its rulers, after making us comfortable in the Bus. The name Phuket is derived from the Malay word Bukit, meaning hill. The island was previously named Junk Ceylon, a corruption of the Malay Tanjung Salang meaning Cape Salang. Later it became known as Thalang, after the name of the main town on the island.
During the afternoon we visited the Gem Factory and took a ride in a train cart that took us through a dark cave bringing out the different stages in the diamond refining cycle by way of video projections enroute, which was quite informative. We were then taken to a huge Gems shop within the factory premises. A few ladies did purchase the Gem’s/ Pearl ’s ornaments. Our bus journey continued to the Sunset point even as our jovial and innocent tour guides continued with their live commentary. The Sunset visit turned out to be a futile one, due to the cloud obscured horizon. Nevertheless, our next stop was at the local Thai Restaurant for dinner enroute to our Hotel in Patong, Phuket, that was humorously titled ‘Sleep with me’, which sounded even funnier as pronounced sensuously by Neena and Mac. The Bazaar adjoining our Hotel is famous for massage parlours and Neena gave a rundown of different types of massages and how we are to avoid the naughty indecent masseurs of the Banga street. Some of us veterans did go for a night walk to the Bangla street. Three of the girls of our team who inquisitively went for a walk down the lane ran home when a man mistook them to be masseurs.
Day#6 (30 Aug) was dedicated for a visit to the Phi-Phi island, a tourist attraction of Phuket. The Bus ride from Hotel to the Marine harbour was soothing as Mrs Batra and Mrs Sethi sang the Gayatri Mantra and the Gurubani. The Island is famous for snorkelling amidst corals and colourful fishes. All of us were taken by a speedboat from Marine harbour to Phi-Phi (48 km SE) after our breakfast at ‘Sleep with me’. It took 45 mins by the speedboat that clipped at 32 kts. At the NW edge of the Island is a rock protrusion resembling a camel and is appropriately named camel Island. We were then taken to another nearby island called monkey Island whose inhabitants are small monkeys. The place where the boat beached is blessed with pure white sand and is neat and tidy. Mac issued snorkel masks to the 15 snorkelling enthusiasts of our group and gave them a brief on the use of the apparatus. After everyone tried out their apparatus in the area of the designated shallow waters, the team was taken to the deeper area for snorkelling by the speedboat. The boat was anchored for about 45 mins and the entire team was engaged in snorkelling, while Meena Dutta performed underwater photography with her advanced GoPro camera and captured most of the snorkelers among the colourful school of fishes. When all the members reboarded the boat, Cdr Joseph initiated the group into dancing and singing and the team returned to the beach in an upbeat mood. The Thai Lunch was organized at the Phi-Phi Island, by our tour operators, Shirley and Neves. During the return trip, the sea swell was even more pronounced and the ride was a lot bumpier and jerky on our spines. Cdr Vadhera briefed us on the evening gathering in the Hotel lawns at 8 O’clock for the Birthday Party for Mrs Kanaga Chermakani.
It was a grand celebration for Kanaga Ma’am, wherein before the cake cutting Raj, Meena and Sarita put up a musical Lazy Dance show that was liked by all. This was followed by a melodious song by Cdr BP Singh. During the cake-cutting, Cdr Joseph Sukumar sang the Birthday song. Cdr Vadhera congratulated Mrs Kanaga on behalf of all the Veterans. It was then the Compatibility Quiz time, conducted by Cdr Raj Dutta that went high in the couple’s favour. And why not ?, the lovely duo, is indeed ‘Made for Each other’.
Looking forward to Day#7, when we check out to fly down from Phuket to Bangkok, to spend a day in Pattaya and return the next day to Bangkok…. Reminded of these beautiful lines,
Sip your coffee, nice and slow,
No one ever knows when it’s time to go,
There’ll be no time to enjoy the glow,
So Sip your coffee nice and Slow