Day 9 – Decompress

One of the things I learned in my SCUBA training is that you’re not supposed to fly for anywhere from 12-24 hours after you dive, depending on how long you were underwater. Apparently, the nitrogen that is dissolved into your bloodstream takes a bit of time to get exhaled, and the last thing you want to do is enter a lower-pressure atmosphere with too much dissolved gas in your blood. So, as though the universe had twisted my arm to make me do something I already wanted to do, I spent one more full day in Karon.

The day began, as such days often do, at the breakfast buffet. I then decided it was vital that my mattress and I become better acquainted. (i.e., I went back to sleep for an additional five hours.)

Eventually, I forced myself out of my bed, threw back the curtains in my room, and decided I would do the one thing that is mandatory on vacations such as these, but yet, I still had not done. It was something I would deeply regret not doing if I missed it. So, I went to the beach.

You’d think that, with all the ocean swimming I had done over the last few days, I would have spent at least a little time on the beach. But no. This was going to be my last chance, as I would be landlocked for the remainder of my vacation. So I donned my beachwear and flip-flopped my way across the street from the resort to the beach.

I’m not normally much of a beach person. As a former redhead, I generally avoid direct sunlight as though it were a deadly carcinogen. Which, you know, it kind of is. But I slathered on the SPF 70, donned my prescription shades, and went and played in the surf. I do enjoy just floating there, washed to and fro by the waves. I did get pummeled by one particularly large wave, which tumbled me and knocked my sunglasses off my face. Fortunately, they were quickly found, and I enjoyed the remainder of my time at the beach.

After an hour or so, ravenous and rapidly turning from pink to magenta, I decided it was time for food. I walked a couple of blocks down from the resort and found a place serving the most authentic Thai food I could have imagined: pizza.

After lunch, walked more of the city. I had some ice cream and went to one of those fish spas where the little fish eat your dead skin. (It was deeply unsettling and very uncomfortable. I have had the experience, and never need to so again.)

Then I returned to the tailor’s shop and picked up my order. I was extremely pleased with the quality of the work they had done in such a short time. For someone who enjoys clothing as much as I do, it’s almost worth it to make the trip just to have clothing made.

Toward the end of the day, the weather started to get a bit Seattle-y. I lingered by one of the other pools at the resort and enjoyed a drink or two, then headed back to the room. Another nap ensued, followed by another trip to the luxury Thai restaurant at the resort. This time, I had an absolutely stunning grilled beef salad followed by a crispy, spicy sea bass. Both were perfectly prepared and unbelieveably delicious…the perfect balance of sweet, tart, spicy, and salty.

I was tempted to spend the evening at the lounge once again, but realized that I would have to leave at an ungodly hour the next morning. So I had the front desk book a car for me, and I returned to my room to bathe, pack, and go to bed.

In the end, I loved my time in Phuket. I’m sure a lot of my enjoyment had to do with the fact that I got to spend most of it in the ocean, diving. And Karon, at least, isn’t exactly what I’d call an “authentic” Thai experience. Most of Phuket is clearly aimed toward the tourist crowd. Nevertheless, it’s the most relaxed and at peace that I felt the entire trip. I’m all for experiencing the new and uncomfortable…and had more of that coming up on the trip. But taking these five days to marinate in tropical relaxation was deeply enjoyable.

I have no doubt that I’ll be back to Phuket some day. Probably someday soon. There are far more places to dive and more things to do than I had time to fit in.

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