Mourning the loss of my Elph.
Phuket Travel Blog› entry 50 of 251 › view all entries
May 2nd, 2008 – by: cmgervais
So I got up with the sun and the birds, notoriously early risers, and commenced my on-line search for transportation. We need a reasonably priced rental car here on Phuket, plus we want to take side trips to Cambodia and Laos. I am beginning to think that maybe this isn’t such a good home base for these sorts of trips -- it’s harder than I thought it would be to get a direct flight anywhere. But we wanted some time in a beach locale, so here we are. Kind of stuck in Tourist Land.
After several hours I had a lead on a car through Hertz with a “special promotion” for a three week rental. But I was having extreme difficulties in communication, and wanted to just go there in person. (I later discovered that Skype isn’t working well at all here -- the person on the other end hears about every third word.) So Steve and I set off on foot to first check out a dive shop, then find a cab to Hertz.
After 45 seconds in the sun, I became concerned that I hadn’t been thorough enough with the sunscreen. I had applied it … but did I get it everywhere? The sun was intense! I tried to walk in the shade, but that was hard to come by, so I started a new search: for more sunscreen.
About half way to the dive shop, we decided to find a cab. The cabs were lined up on the street and the cabbies were hanging out together, talking and playing games. But they were not too interested in leaving their comfortable environment for anything under about $10, which is a crazy price to go just up the beach.
So Steve started talking about renting a scooter. I thought, Why is he talking about that again? It’s so expensive! Turns out I had misplaced a decimal again. I thought scooter rental was $80/day when it was really $8! Doh! After that got sorted out we found one for $6 per day including some inadequate helmets, and we were off.
A word about scooter or moto-bike rental: Phuket has a high accident rate, claiming between 10-20 lives per month. Some of them are tourists on scooters. Not everyone who rides a scooter is killed of course. Some are just maimed. Or scarred by asphalt burns. So this is what I was thinking as we drove off, with Steve driving and me on the back in my flimsy helmet, shorts, and tank top. Steve is experienced on motorcycles and scooters, and he drives very safely. I couldn’t be in better hands. But none of that set my mind at ease, because everyone else was driving like complete maniacs.
Well, no one was maimed, but the day was kind of a bust. Hertz didn’t have a car after all, and told me “maybe Monday.” On the way back to Kata beach we stopped at Karon beach where I got some great shots of a kite boarder battling the surf. Steve ordered mango-sticky rice (yum!) from a bicycle cart, and I got great shots of that too.
And that was the last time I saw my camera. I either left it on the table near the beach, or maybe it feel out of my bag on the scooter, but either way it is gone, as are those “award-winning” shots I got over the course of the day. Dang.
Not realizing I was missing an appendage at that point, we stopped at the Dive Shop near our place and booked a trip for tomorrow. (Turns out the guy there with the unidentifiable accent is from Zambia! Geez, can’t believe I didn’t get that one. :^)
Later, when I realized my camera was gone, I looked everywhere, frantically. We even retraced our entire route on the scooter. But, no luck. I still have my bulky SLR, but I now need to replace my dear little pocket-sized Elph. Opportunistic Phuket doesn’t seem like a great place to buy a camera, either. So... dang. Wish me luck.
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