Phuket and Halloween

What a busy few days - the pumpkin cutting came first and I do wonder whether the writers of all of these pumpkin cutting books or Apps realise that not all pumpkins are perfectly circular!

That did not bother Jemma and I  as we prepared two and found two shiny laces so that they could be carried.

A wooden broom was found and a discarded cuddly toy cat was sprayed black.

This was followed by making fondant icing and making tiny cupcakes and then making 'ghost' cupcakes - a lot of fun.

The morning was busy with forgetting to get up with the alarm!!!!

Jemma left to go to school with her bits and I went to work with mine!

My guests were fun at Cape Panwa Hotel and some chose to be face painted.

I received some little toys from another

and Rochidee is making a sweet pumpkin pie...

Tonight Jemma wants to go to The Beach Bar dressed as a witch - watch this space.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2013 - Monday 15th - Closing Ceremony

The previous night of pandemonium was long forgotten by the time that I reached here. The crowds were no longer there and the tension was absent.

I chose to wander into the Bang Neow Shrine whilst I was waiting for the Chief Mah-Song to arrive. Throughout the Shrine there were people cleaning the Chinese figurines - and some of them were extremely dirty!

As they cleaned the Chief Mah-Song arrived - smiling and shaking hands with the observers.

He disrobed and sat quietly in front of the offerings - meanwhile a drum was banged slowly and methodically. The Mah-Song began to sway head and then his body from side to side meeting the rhythm of the drum. He suddenly leapt up and went to the Shrines offering table.

He was possessed!

He was dressed in a robe and given knives. He then walked to each corner of the Shrine Land (similar to the opening ceremony 2012). 

At each corner in turn he was joined by someone from the shrine and together they proceeded to perform a circular dance and say some words. 

Once this was complete they would move to another corner - returning to the Shrine when this was complete.

Here another two different ceremonies took place. 

Grain was placed on bamboo leaf and paper with Chinese Writing on - the same as the paper that was under the roadside shrines. Food was then added and the set alight?

The Mah-Song then performed another dance and several words were spoken. The Mah-Song then filled his mouth with a drink which he then sprayed all over the items that were in the Festival - 

Snake Ropes, Headed Pins and food.

During this period more dances too place between the Mah-Song and his 'team'. It was as the ceremony closed that I noticed people with scars clearly on their cheeks?

At this point the focus was then turned to the lowering of the Lantern Pole - I attended the raising last year but the lowering this year. As they carefully brought the Lantern Pole down I was amused to see the amount of people which were trying to get a piece on the branch that formed part of the lantern Pole.

I did join in and get a piece for me though.

We then went for dinner at Ichi Sushi.

See you all next year!

Birds Nests

Sorry but I do not believe in giving gifts to tourists which are the result of destroying an animals habitat - sorry I just don't like it.

Bird’s nest – blood, sweat and toil – a delicacy?

Imagine my shock this morning – as I sat sipping my coffee at Phuket Airport I watched a guide distribute gifts to his clientele.

Okay I may be bias towards big noisy groups of Tourists but it is an Industry and does need to make money. BUT the gifts are what attracted me attention – they were giving Bird’s Nests to everyone!

Now it is the belief of a number of Cultures in Asia that the bird’s nest will improve health, heighten longevity and libido! This is disregarding the scientific evidence that the nest has a nutritional value to that of an egg.

BUT a kilo of nests can fetch prices of 50,000 – 100,000 Baht!

If you choose eat a nest slavishly made by a bird for it’s young I do not understand AND then to pay more because it is stained red (because of an excessive discharge of blood in the saliva).

I am happy that Kasemkij Hotels do not serve this at any of their properties.

Today it is Bird's Nest and the more I read about the Fins it will be Fins next week.

Sorry NO.

What are they doing at Rang Hill?

We chose to go to Rang Hill for lunch - Tunka Cafe, it was Jemma's holiday and it was my day off - we did not think that we would see this!

Looking carefully I have just realised that is was one month ago today when we went - I have been on holiday and have clearly not kept up with writing these posts.

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2013 - Sunday 14th - Final Parade

The Final Night of the Vegetarian Festival involves the possessed and the Portable Shrines  running through the streets of Phuket Town to Sapan Hin where there are there are people waiting for the Gods to be 'dispatched' into the Sea.

So what does this involve? - pandemonium and more chaos!

People all dressed in white (still) line the streets and throw lit fireworks, firecrackers and bangers at those who are brave enough (or protected) to walk in the middle of the roads.  

I started at Jui Tui Shrine where they were preparing themselves and then walked to the Clock Tower Roundabout. It was here that the chaos began.

Ever since I have been attending this event there have been a group outside The Metropole Hotel with what seems to be like an unlimited supply of fireworks and unlimited enthusiasm and of course unlimited protection.

The Shrines arrived and the noise escalated and it was at this choice that I made a decision to do what I had done last year - I was going to run with the shrines - well to get the best video of course - and it was an incredible buzz.

We went passed Bang Neow where the Parade seemed to take a break (me too) but the Shrines were quickly started again - it was as we approached Sapan Hin that I recalled the accident that I had last year...

Then level of the noise escalated further as we approached the roundabout and I quickly found myself winded and on the floor - I was picked up by some people and air was fanned over me - thank you.

I swiftly joined the parade and we entered into Sapan Hin park. Here there were a lot of people sitting in what looked like 'families' with lit candles in front of them - beautiful.

Did find that the iPhone shut down because of the heat - 

took some video on the phone though (above)

It was at this time that the Head Mah Song and others walked into the water to three small boats (never quite understood this bit) and at this time there was an enormous pile of Chinese paper lit - rockets were lit and more crackers lit.

The Sapan Hin Chinese Shrine was crowded with people so I chose to walk home - and found myself walking straight into some more of the parade which had not reached Sapan Hin yet!

I had had enough - I bought a fresh orange juice, said my thanks to the Chinese Gods for keeping me safe and began to walk home - tired, exhilarated and happy.

Portable battery charger 4 phones and iPad

I blog about things that you can do whilst you are in Phuket and I blog about places you can go to eat whilst you are in Phuket and I hope that they have been of assistance to you.

But after working in a hotel for ten years (and going on holiday myself - Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and Japan) everybody should come to Phuket with a Battery Charger in it's own bag with all of the necessary cables.

A great idea and we have never not used it whilst we have been on holiday!
Even with all those Apps the battery will still run out when you want it!

We have one each - we are bound to forget to charge one!

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2013 - Saturday 12th

The day started very early for me - I arrived at Kathu Shrine at approximately 5:30 a.m.

Arriving at Kathu Shrine was a wonderful experience and it was very busy when I arrived.

The grounds were packed with the shrine carriers preparing themselves with a smile, smoking and chatting to each other.  There were the possessed on chairs being pierced and I am always surprised that there are no accidents whilst this is being done.

A recognised some of the possessed from last year but this year he was pierced with a plethora of swords over his highly tattooed body - in fact this was the the same person on the front page of the Bangkok Post this year.

Then there were the tourists, farangs and the photographers - I would note here that I really think that people who observe so closely in the Shrine that the should wear white.

Inside the Shrine were the people awaiting possession in front of the shrines. At this time I met Jamie who was waiting for the parade to begin and then run into the village.

I thank the gentleman who pulled me away from the front just as the man next to me erupted into dancing and screaming before advancing to the front of the shrine where they were dressed.

The Chief Mah Song arrived at the Front of the Shrine and shared with us some incantations and swords were drawn from his belt and the ground was 'blessed'. He returned to the shrine.

After this the pierced and the possessed began to stream through - amazingly a car tried to drive into the Shrine and the police were their to say he could not - it was a 'promoter' pick up?!

Then the Chief returned standing on a shrine being carried by a number of people - fabulous. It was at this time that the firecrackers began to be lit - the atmosphere was exciting.

I ran with the shrines through the village and hope that I would be able to capture the excitement which was clearly there.

As we continued to walk through the Village there were people waiting for the shrines so they were able to light their firecrackers, others had tables / shrines set up outside their homes and businesses and they were inviting some of the possessed to bless them and there were others kneeling on the floor awaiting a blessing for themselves. Hundreds of people there and they were there for different reasons.

As we approached Central Festival the roads began to get  a little cramped and the larger vehicles were pulled to one side to the let the parade continue. We then entered into Phuket Town which is a place always a favourite for me.

We continued to walk  and there was sometimes so many things to look at I simply stopped  and watched.

At Bang Neow Shrine I chose to stop for some refreshment from Clinic Kong and it was here that I chose to stop and return to work - I had my Bubble Tea from Mellow Yellow and my Cappuccino from Circle Coffee and returned exhilarated to work - ready for the next day - the last night

Thank you

Photographs of the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2013

What can I write to capture the exhilaration that I could feel whilst attending this?

Nothing there is much more than the photographs show you.